How To Effectively Communicate With Clients

5 Ways for Caterers to Communicate Effectively with Clients

It requires a host of carefully honed skills in cookery, financial management, creativity and customer service to become a top rated caterer.

In addition to that, as a good caterer, you must understand the importance of communication skills and its profound effect on your business.

In the initial stages of the client-caterer relationship, you may find that the client may not be keen on frequent communication with you. It is up to you to find unobtrusive but efficient ways of initiating and building that relationship using a repertoire of communication methods. Of such methods and depending on your circumstances, you can use the following:

It is up to you to find unobtrusive but efficient ways of initiating and building that relationship using a repertoire of communication methods. Of such methods and depending on your circumstances, you can use the following:

Of such methods and depending on your circumstances, you can use the following:

  • Emails                                                        importance of communication
  • Phone calls
  • Social media platforms such as Skype, Facebook
  • Setting up face-to-face meetings or using video conferencing
  • Using newsletters

Whichever you choose among these methods and depending on which your client finds most convenient and comprehensible, consider the following soft skills that will enable you to keep things rolling to the completion of the catering project.

Organize All Communication

Putting together a successful event for a client comes after a lot of communication between the parties involved. With time, you notice an accumulation of notes and correspondence building from this continuous interaction with your client.

You will find that organizing, compiling and documenting all communications helps you to avoid overlooking relevant information and missing deadlines. Maintain separate folders for all communication with every client. As you progress in planning the catering activities for your customer, ensure you go through previous communication to remain updated on the project’s progress.

Maintain separate folders for all communication with every client. As you progress in planning the catering activities for your customer, ensure you go through previous communication to remain updated on the project’s progress.

importance of communication

Such documentation comes handy too when you need to seek clarification from your client on any matters arising in the planning process. Besides, depending on the complexity of the event, and whether your business has grown to the point that you have several clients who need your services at just around the same time, you could get things mixed up. Such a scenario would reflect negatively on your business.

Besides, depending on the complexity of the event, and whether your business has grown to the point that you have several clients who need your services at just around the same time, you could get things mixed up. Such a scenario would reflect negatively on your business.

Such a scenario would reflect negatively on your business.

The records also serve as evidence should a dispute arise by your client claiming you didn’t deliver as agreed, and you would well picture the outcome if your disgruntled client sued you. Keeping updated records on all meetings, phone calls and emails from the client will help you protect your business. The trend will set you apart as professional, committed and organized which will raise your client’s confidence in your ability.

Keeping updated records on all meetings, phone calls and emails from the client will help you protect your business. The trend will set you apart as professional, committed and organized which will raise your client’s confidence in your ability.

The trend will set you apart as professional, committed and organized which will raise your client’s confidence in your ability.

Honesty Pays

Often when you clinch that contract to set up the menu that will make the party rock, experience proves that the client assumes you hold the magic wand with which to achieve that. The client will seek you out with demands plucked out of a glam culinary TV show, some eclectic party, or magazine and want to know if you can pull it off. Some will hit you up with quirky combinations in the quest for a memorable and unique event.

The client will seek you out with demands plucked out of a glam culinary TV show, some eclectic party, or magazine and want to know if you can pull it off. Some will hit you up with quirky combinations in the quest for a memorable and unique event.

Some will hit you up with quirky combinations in the quest for a memorable and unique event.

Importance of communication

In as much as the client’s wishes rule your business, you should be sincere on your abilities. As a professional, you hold the responsibility of guiding your client to more rewarding choices. However, this does not mean that you should

shy away from challenges where the customer asks you to steer into waters you have not sailed in before.

As a professional, you hold the responsibility of guiding your client to more rewarding choices. However, this does not mean that you should shy away from challenges where the customer asks you to steer into waters you have not sailed in before.

However, this does not mean that you should shy away from challenges where the customer asks you to steer into waters you have not sailed in before.

Have candid discussions on various aspects of the contract, such as the budgetary allocation and what it can get for the client, desired timelines, and any other special requests. Are you able to give discounts and any other complimentary extras with the package? Is the budget sufficient? How many tastings do you offer?

Are you able to give discounts and any other complimentary extras with the package? Is the budget sufficient? How many tastings do you offer?

Never underestimate your role in being the medium by which your client’s message and vision reach the guests. Therefore, let your client know of any limitations you face in making that vision come true so that you can have an agreement without compromising quality and style. In your quest to build your business, always augment your electronic, written and face to face and communications skills as they can make or break your catering company.

Therefore, let your client know of any limitations you face in making that vision come true so that you can have an agreement without compromising quality and style. In your quest to build your business, always augment your electronic, written and face to face and communications skills as they can make or break your catering company.

In your quest to build your business, always augment your electronic, written and face to face and communications skills as they can make or break your catering company.

When you launch your business on the online platform, you will find that choosing from the available Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools is one way of effortlessly managing your communications with clients. You can also invest in catering software, most of which are user-friendly and affordable so that you can save time to give other aspects of your business and life the necessary attention.

You can also invest in catering software, most of which are user-friendly and affordable so that you can save time to give other aspects of your business and life the necessary attention.

Listen More and Interactively

It could be that your client is usually busy, or could be busy with other aspects of the event that he or she assumes that you know your thing well enough to accomplish the job without too much consultation. After all, that’s why clients hire caterers: to have a professional touch and to escape the hassles of hosting. That’s the market gap you need to fill.

After all, that’s why clients hire caterers: to have a professional touch and to escape the hassles of hosting. That’s the market gap you need to fill.

Be proactive in your interaction by asking as many questions as possible to ensure you understand all the client needs and doesn’t want. You should ask questions on particular requests that could arise such as unique dietary needs of the guests and any other catering preferences.

You should ask questions on particular requests that could arise such as unique dietary needs of the guests and any other catering preferences.

Encourage your clients to give you clear and adequate information that will help you do a good job for them. Listen attentively. As a professional, you may know of other options on what the client likes, or alternatives that could make the event even more remarkable than the client envisaged. However, do not change the customer’s wish list without adequate consultation and approval.

Listen attentively. As a professional, you may know of other options on what the client likes, or alternatives that could make the event even more remarkable than the client envisaged. However, do not change the customer’s wish list without adequate consultation and approval.

However, do not change the customer’s wish list without adequate consultation and approval.

Cut Back on the Jargon

Clients get frustrated when you talk to them in phrases and terms that they don’t comprehend. You may want to roll off some culinary jargon to wow with your finesse in the profession, but this could work against you. Remember some of your clients may not be at your level of catering expertise.

You may want to roll off some culinary jargon to wow with your finesse in the profession, but this could work against you. Remember some of your clients may not be at your level of catering expertise.

If you have to use the terms, ensure you explain what they mean. Expound the words on the menu, the ingredients, service, and any other aspects that comprise your catering contract. Do not assume your client understands what you mean.

If you have a website, you may refer your client to relevant sections to ensure the customer understands your point of reference. Likewise, you can organize a portfolio of pictures, newsletters, blogs, and any other relevant media to illustrate what you mean. Whichever medium you choose will depend on your timelines and your client’s keenness to detail.

Likewise, you can organize a portfolio of pictures, newsletters, blogs, and any other relevant media to illustrate what you mean. Whichever medium you choose will depend on your timelines and your client’s keenness to detail.

Consider that if a miscommunication occurs, it could lead to mistakes, which may require things to be redone, or be rejected by the client. That outcome would have adverse effects on your business and reputation. Therefore, do not overlook this aspect on the importance of communication skills for your catering business.

Be Professional

Although the level of interaction and the affable nature of your client could see you growing cordial relations, always ensure you stay professional regardless which communication method you choose to use.

Getting too familiar and cozy with clients could lead to you overstepping boundaries or coming off as unprofessional. Avoid situations, mannerisms, and conversations that could make your client see you differently. That does not necessarily mean that you are cold and impersonal but remember your communication can affect your relationship.

That does not necessarily mean that you are cold and impersonal but remember your communication can affect your relationship.

That does not necessarily mean that you are cold and impersonal but remember your communication can affect your relationship.

Another thing to consider on professionalism is how urgently you respond to your clients’ queries. It matters not the kind of client you have. Whether a high-end corporate, a wedding, a birthday party or a pickup order. You must respond to communication from a client promptly and in detail.

In that regard, you should avail and open communication channels such as cell phone numbers, your social media links and email address where your clients can reach you at any given time. If you worry about business interfering with your personal life on that, for the importance of communication skills you can outline your office hours within which your clients can reach you.

If you worry about business interfering with your personal life on that, for the importance of communication skills you can outline your office hours within which your clients can reach you.

Remember though that in the event of an ongoing contract, you can expect calls outside business hours as the client follows up on your progress on the job. If you clinch clients, you should add them to your database and send them monthly newsletters, seasonal cards, and entertaining but informative letters to sustain their interest in your business and consider you for future events. Ensure though that you don’t spam them.

If you clinch clients, you should add them to your database and send them monthly newsletters, seasonal cards, and entertaining but informative letters to sustain their interest in your business and consider you for future events. Ensure though that you don’t spam them.

Ensure though that you don’t spam them.

Observe etiquette during phone calls, online chats, and meetings, and utilize professional templates and language in written communication such as emails and letters. Seek to overcome factors like cultural and linguistic barriers, poor timing, technological pitfalls, too much information, substandard quality of information, anxiety and inadequate feedback, exaggerations, and lies, which all hamper effective communication between a caterer and clients.

Seek to overcome factors like cultural and linguistic barriers, poor timing, technological pitfalls, too much information, substandard quality of information, anxiety and inadequate feedback, exaggerations, and lies, which all hamper effective communication between a caterer and clients.

Seek to overcome factors like cultural and linguistic barriers, poor timing, technological pitfalls, too much information, substandard quality of information, anxiety and inadequate feedback, exaggerations, and lies, which all hamper effective communication between a caterer and clients.

No matter how technology-savvy and successful you get, always remember your clients will value humility and the human touch. Therefore, set up regular one on one meet ups and be consistent with your feedback. You need your customers so keep practicing these tips to impress them and build their confidence in your catering enterprise.

Therefore, set up regular one on one meetups and be consistent with your feedback. You need your customers so keep practicing these tips to impress them and build their confidence in your catering enterprise.

Therefore, set up regular one on one meetups and be consistent with your feedback. You need your customers so keep practicing these tips to impress them and build their confidence in your catering enterprise.

You need your customers so keep practicing these tips to impress them and build their confidence in your catering enterprise.

 

 

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