Poor communication can have serious financial and professional consequences when it comes to your business consulting work. It is in your best interest to prevent a misunderstanding from turning into a lost client or a bad online review. There are steps well worth implementing in the way you operate with your clients.
Before beginning any work, learn what a client hopes to gain from your services and clearly outline what you offer so there are no surprises on either end.
Clients come with a different expectation of time and workload so be responsible for establishing a reasonable time estimate in the beginning and leave plenty of room for flexibility.
Also, miscommunication often occurs when clients aren’t open about what they don’t know. Encourage your clients to use honesty about their knowledge level and show empathy to the vulnerable act of saying “I need help”. Be considerate of your client’s pride.
Use Contracts with Everyone
With work partnerships, verbal agreements are not sufficient. Always use contracts for every project, no matter who the client is. It may seem like a little too much by putting a legal barrier between you and a client instead of real trust, but it helps communication issues before they start. A contract is a two-way agreement so there should always be flexibility to adjust it as needed. Consider consulting with an attorney to ensure client contracts meet industry standards and correlate to your project.
Be sure to document every conversation. Client communication methods will include emails, phone calls, and in-person discussions.
If you had a phone call or spoke over coffee with a client, take notes and follow up with an email detailing everything that was discussed. It is in your best interest to keep hard copies and digital ones for backup, as they can serve as a paper trail for your work if there are any disagreements later on. Emails are a great way to keep records, as they have a timestamp and are searchable.
Admit to Mistakes and Learn from Them
Everybody makes mistakes, so approach your consulting services with humility and transparency to establish trust. You will not always get everything perfect and people will appreciate honesty. Whether it be about polishing delivery, how to market your services, or how to handle rejection, take it all as a lesson. Utilize friends, partners, or current clients to hone in on your skills and never be too proud to ask for help or feedback. Consider taking seminars or webinars about your craft to increase your depth of knowledge.
Insurance for consultants is truly a valuable investment in case miscommunications become lawsuit claims. Sometimes mistakes cost more than you would expect. It is well worth doing whatever you can to protect your assets. Professional liability insurance for consultants can help safeguard against the risk of lawsuits. Claims of professional negligence, incomplete, or incorrect work, and mistakes or oversights are not uncommon.
About Bozzuto & Co. Insurance Services, Inc.
Bozzuto & Company Insurance Services has provided business and personal insurance solutions to clients throughout California since its founding in 1981. Our experienced staff understands the unique needs that each person has when insuring their lives and their businesses, and we pride ourselves on our deeply personal customer service. We are happy to help you through every step of the insurance selection process. Contact us today at (800) 400-6394 to learn more about what we can do for you.