Communication is Key
  By Debbie Cline

Our clients know that we are a small boutique firm. It’s one of the reasons that they choose us – because we do the work ourselves. This is also often the same case in startups. With limited resources, and often working in a fast paced agile environment, communication is key. Here are some communication tips that work for us:

  • Listen to understand – it’s not just necessary, but a competitive advantage
  • Share early and often – don’t make your client ask for an update
  • Don’t make promises that you can’t keep
  • Immediately let your client know if you fall behind
  • Be honest – don’t hide mistakes
  • Don’t overdo it with meetings – if you don’t need one, don’t have one
  • Always respond to negative communication
  • Purpose – communication should be relevant, not noise
  • Internal communication is as important as external

We also use some great communication tools, both internally and with our clients and partners. Here are a few that we use on a daily basis:

Slack

Slack uses multiple channels to discuss different projects and topics, or you can have a private conversation through one-one chat. You can also search as well as add files and images. 

Monday

Monday is a visual project management tool that enables a team to quickly add members, assign tasks, customize workflow, and track the progress of their work to completion. It enables organizations to work with transparency, accountability and teamwork. 

Zoom

By now most people are aware of if not already using Zoom, the easy to use online video conferencing and meeting software. Always remember to use one tap dialing and know that (with permission) you can record Zoom sessions.

Email

It may seem obvious, but email can create huge efficiencies as well as encourage accountability. We are a huge fan of using a well thought out and organized email instead of a meeting when you need to share information versus ask live questions and have collaborative discussions. Additionally, having a record of client requests, requirements and approvals never hurts. There are great email tools out there like MailChimp and Constant Contact.

SMS Messaging

With an average open rate of 98% and response rate of 90 seconds text messages are a great way to communicate with clients. The immediate deliverability and convenient availability are a big win for both sides. Remember that not all clients are happy about receiving text messages, so always allow for opt-in and opt-out options. There are great SMS tools out there like Twilio and Tatango.

Don’t forget the people on the other side of your communication and don’t trust the tools to do the relationship work for you. Communication tools are great, but technology overload is not. Too many tools and channels and too little human interaction can create confusion, dilute the communication and weaken the overall relationship. Remember to pick up the phone, send a handwritten note, and if it is safe in your environment go ahead and meet for a socially distanced coffee or a craft beer. 

Your clients want you to succeed so they can succeed. Effective communication and good listening leads to a team win.

Debbie is co-founder, chief of customer success at Buzzy Rocket and yellow lab lover. From LA to London, she is well known as an expert in creating that certain elusive magic that drives explosive growth at the intersection of companies, customers and mobile. She has proven strategic vision, and isn’t afraid to get in the trenches. In fact, she’s been doing this at companies big and small for 25+ years. Her background includes executive level positions at both public companies and startups where she has proven over and over again that her passion, drive and results oriented perspective get it done. She is tenacious, loves the game changer and loves to win.


Debbie is co-founder, chief of customer success at Buzzy Rocket and yellow lab lover. From LA to London, she is well known as an expert in creating that certain elusive magic that drives explosive growth at the intersection of companies, customers and mobile. She has proven strategic vision, and isn’t afraid to get in the trenches. In fact, she’s been doing this at companies big and small for 25+ years. Her background includes executive level positions at both public companies and startups where she has proven over and over again that her passion, drive and results oriented perspective get it done. She is tenacious, loves the game changer and loves to win.

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