When you schedule sessions with clients, you develop a plan as their coach. You aim to make the most of your time and guide the conversation toward the discoveries you want the client to make.
A customer communication management plan helps you set expectations and boundaries to improve your workflow. Learn how to create a communication plan template and some tips and tricks to set yourself up for success.
How can an effective communication plan help?
We’ve said that a clear communication strategy can improve your workflow, but what does that look like in practice? Here are a few key reasons you should consider making this type of plan:
- It saves you time: To be your best self for your clients, you must take time away from your work to recharge. Setting communication boundaries with your clients helps ensure they don’t expect a response from you in the middle of the night or on a Sunday morning. Outline a schedule for communication with your client to avoid feeling like you need to be available 24/7.
- It streamlines how clients contact you: A good communication plan outlines the channels by which your clients can contact you. Just like this plan protects your time, it can also protect your space. When you set boundaries with your clients about how they can contact you, you avoid getting unwanted texts, direct messages on social media channels, or emails to your personal address.
- It boosts your brand: Brands have a coherent look and feel, and this phenomenon is the result of more than just a consistent color palette and a great logo. A company’s interaction with its clients also helps establish this sense of coherence. A dedicated communication platform, such as Practice’s, can boost your business’ image and provide a unique experience to your clients.
How to build a strategic communication plan
Follow these five simple steps to build your coaching business’ communication plan:
1. Identify your target audience: Consider both prospective and current clients when defining your communication style and plan. If your business is already up and running, use metrics to determine whether your current communications are successful. However, if you think you could improve, shift as needed. To streamline processes, you could also segment your audience based on demographics, psychographics, or behavioral patterns.
2. Establish the kind of information your audience needs: Create a detailed outline of the information you want your clients and prospective customers to receive and when. Establish a cadence that includes the following aspects:
- Initial outreach
- Welcome information, including agreements clients have to sign and your practice’s rules about booking, communication, and payment. You can also review this information in person with clients.
- Session follow-up
- Appointment reminders
- Marketing campaigns targeting potential clients (e.g., discounts, packages, and perks)
- Calls for feedback (i.e., surveys)
3. Define your communication channels: Decide how you’ll send messages to your clients. Use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to automate email responses and schedule email marketing campaigns or press releases. For direct communication, choose email or a platform like Practice that allows you to send notes and documents in a centralized, user-friendly app.
Tip: If you work in a group, set internal communication rules for team members. In addition to establishing channels and operation hours, outline what information you and your team members need to save for team meetings and what’s best in an email.
4. Share your communications plan outline with your clients: You don’t have to tell them when to expect a marketing email, but you should share relevant information about when they can expect communication, such as follow-ups and appointment confirmations. If you assign homework, let them know when these deliverables are due. Be sure to reiterate your “office hours” and when clients can expect to hear from you.
Client communication tips and tricks
Here are a few tips that can come in handy no matter what communication methods you use with your clients:
- Respect your boundaries: We know it can be tough to turn off your devices or say “no” to a client. You love your job and want to help others. But making a habit of taking off-hours calls and responding to messages will catch up with you quickly. Don’t underestimate the burnout potential when you push past healthy work-life balance boundaries.
- Respond to queries well: If a client asks questions or has feedback, craft a thoughtful answer. Be direct and to the point, but respond as thoroughly as possible to minimize back and forth. If a client writes to you with several questions, try breaking them out into a numbered or bulleted list.
- Use measurable metrics: Based on the performance of your emails or marketing campaigns, morph your communication plan into an even more effective one. Check out how many people are opening follow-up emails or answering surveys. Make notes about the types of questions new and existing clients usually ask so you have responses on hand. You could even add these to an FAQ section in your onboarding materials to ensure reduced questions at later stages.
- Keep it professional: Check your messages (especially the ones you write on your phone because autocorrect can be tricky) for spelling, grammar, and formatting mistakes. Use a professional sign-off and signature, and include the link to your business site. Maintain small talk with clients to an extent, as getting overly chummy in messages might lead to decreased focus and unanswered questions.
- Check your spam: If you use email to communicate with clients, regularly check your spam. You could miss questions about your services from potential clients or important logistics information, like rescheduling requests, because your email service misfiled these messages.
Meet your communication goals
Now that you know the importance of planning your client communications, give it a try. Document all client details and other important information in one place.
You can choose to create your own template to have frictionless coaching sessions or turn to Practice’s all-in-one platform that lets you schedule meetings, manage client information, and store files and other documents. Try us today.