In this day and age, our clients rely on us more than ever before and have much larger demands. After all, we’re the IT people, the experts. We must provide a one-stop shop for all of our clients. If clients had the technical know-how, we wouldn’t be needed. We must not only possess the technical skills, but the skills to effectively communicate with our clients, both internal and external. Why must we have great communication skills in our arsenal? We didn’t go into IT to deal with customer service concerns. The reality of today’s IT market is that we’re not only expected to be on top of the latest technological advances, but we must also be able to clearly convey the 5 “W’s” for our customers to perceive that we’ve not only addressed their concerns; but to make them feel as if they’ve received some value-added benefit. Let’s face it, while we all have different skill sets and talents, at the end of the day the result is tantamount to any developer.
What sets one IT company apart from another is in the how we present the information to the client, and if they feel that the benefit they’re receiving is worth writing our paycheck. Delivering results is no longer what impresses a client, anyone can do that, it’s the expectation, not a luxury.
This article will reveal several tips that are incredibly easy to implement and will not only earn a client’s business but retain it throughout the years. With little to no expense, you can wow your clients and cut down on unnecessary time spent making corrections.
We hope you enjoy these tips and will consider implementing them into your daily routine to make a positive impact.
How does this affect me?
If you’re not getting great reviews from your clients and repeat business, something’s getting lost in translation.
A Harris Poll of hiring managers shows that 77 percent of employers consider soft skills to be as important as technical skills.
Now that we’ve properly identified the issues it’s time to find a solution. What skills exactly are we needing to work on?
It’s no secret that IT professionals embrace jargon. After all speaking in “code” keeps us relevant and makes us sound intelligent. The problem is that we sometimes forget that we need to put away the jargon. Translate the information into “plain” language. If this seems to be quite a challenge, consider re-evaluating the information as if you were going to teach it to a high school or junior college class. Check for understanding. Ask your client if he or she is following what you’re saying. Another great way to check for understanding is to ask the client what he or she thinks or how it sounds so far. This tip will go a long way. If they don’t understand, they’ll most likely tell you, after all, they’re paying you a generous fee for your services, not to hear the alphabet in incorrect order. “The people who will thrive are the strong technologists who are capable of translating their expertise into terms that nontechnical people can understand.” -Ben Gaucherin, Harvard University
Role play meetings and presentations with co-workers
You wouldn’t state that a project was complete without testing it, right? It’s a great idea to do a “dry run” with co-workers or even your family if permitted. Have them ask questions you may anticipate, or if they have any questions. Choose the most brutally honest co-worker to throw you some questions or concerns, also ask them what they liked about the presentation.
Take a public speaking class and join a meetup group
Chances are you’re not the only person that is interested in personal and professional growth. Classes and groups provide a great opportunity to brainstorm with other professionals groups will often provide you with a wealth of networking opportunities and are localized and even specialized, so you can discuss any matters relevant to the area you work in.
Keep your skills sharp
We’ve established that communication can be a problem in the IT world. Communicating outdated information ineffectively can only lead to impending doom. Be certain to stay ahead of the curve to avoid the pitfall(s) of being (or becoming) irreverent.