You’re good at your job, and you know what you’re doing. In an ideal world, you'd work with clients who are comfortable with a “hands-off” approach, leaving all the decisions up to you. But in reality, you won't find many clients or customers who don’t want to be involved in a project.
There’s any number of obstacles or hurdles you could face, so it’s wise to keep all parties involved. Excellent client communication and customer service are paramount to keeping loyal customers and attracting new ones. Not to mention, good communication can keep professional liability lawsuits at bay and your Professional Liability Insurance rates low.
How Client Communication Reduces Professional Liability Lawsuits
Experts say the key to a successful marriage is communication. Think of your business dealings with customers in the same way – as a marriage. Two parties are making a mutually beneficial agreement, with you offering products or services in exchange for your customer's payment.
But the transaction alone isn't where your duties end. Part of the reason clients come to you is for guidance, expertise, or excellent service. And that means you have to be ready to field questions and help clients understand what they've purchased. The fewer misunderstandings a customer has about their purchase, the happier they will be with the experience. And a happy client (or a client who feels you're looking out for them) is less likely to sue.
With that in mind, here are four ways you can improve client communication and prevent professional liability claims against your small business:
- Rapidly reply and respond. If a client contacts you with a question or concern, don’t ignore them. The quickest way to make a customer feel slighted is to disregard their communication attempts. Think of a time when a business gave you the cold shoulder and wouldn’t return your calls. Frustrating, right? Don't let your clients have a similar experience. Respond to their emails and phone calls promptly.
- Check in and check out. Proactively check in with your client throughout the project to make sure all is well. Ask for approval on any changes or moved deadlines. Clients appreciate updates on your progress so they know what to expect.
- Acknowledge, address, and appease. No one is perfect. Mistakes and unforeseen dilemmas pop up. Address problems as soon as they happen, and let clients know what you’re doing to make things right. Ensure there’s a record of all your actions (e.g., documented decisions and client interactions).
- Use clear, concise contracts. Before starting any project, draw up a contract for your clients that succinctly defines obligations, work deadlines, compensation, and expectations. A written record of your dealings can help you resolve issues down the road.
Professional Liability Pro Tip: Transparency Builds Trust
If you’re unsure about how to deal with a client, just imagine yourself in their shoes. How would you like to be treated as a customer? Chances are, you don't want any surprises and you want to know how this thing you've invested in is coming along.
So give your client the experience you would want. Be organized, plan thoroughly, and be transparent. That way, you know what’s expected of you and your client knows exactly what they’re entitled to.
Still, there's always the off chance that your best-made plans won't soothe a particularly difficult client. That's why it’s best to prepare for every scenario. Talk to an Insureon agent to find out how a Professional Liability Insurance policy can protect your small business.