Skype communication is an art that every freelancer should master. As a freelancer, you will almost always be working with clients who are miles and miles away. Calling is not usually the most convenient option, so you are basically left with email and chat. But you know how email conversations go – the back and forth, hours in between responses. It’s a nightmare. Clients are busy and need to keep things running smoothly. You are busy and have other deadlines that will get pushed and mess up your calendar.
On the FreeeUp marketplace, Skype communication is a standard. This is because it is the most efficient way to make sure that both you and your clients are on the same page at all times, and the ball keeps rolling. Skype is a very common tool, available everywhere in the world, so everyone has easy access to it. It’s also free for VoIP chat and calls, making it the best option. Moreover, Skype is easy to install and use, so there should be no problem at all getting it set up, whether for you or a client.
Here are five areas of Skype communication that you should maintain to reduce confusion and errors with work and build confidence and trust with clients.
(1) Initial Introduction Meeting
Skype is a great tool to use when you’re meeting clients for the first time. Interviews entail a lot of questions and answers, so being able to exchange responses quickly is a must. Whether a client prefers chat or voice or even a video call, Skype can do it all. You can even switch from chat to call and back again smoothly. Sometimes, a client may want you to take a short test or look at a snapshot of the project they are considering you for. They can send a wide range of files and images through Skype instantly.
(2) Screen Share for Onboarding
When you first start working with a client, there will always be an adjustment period. No matter how many times you’ve done this work before, it’s always a little different depending on who you’re working with. Each business is unique, and each business owner has particular preferences. Onboarding is a chance to get to know each other so that you understand each other better. Onboarding is also an important time of sharing company-specific information that you need to know to do your work as expected.
Skype communication is a very efficient way to conduct onboarding activities. This is also true for when you are given a new project to work on or encounter a glitch. Apart from chat, calls and file sharing, you can also do screen sharing through Skype. Sometimes, it’s just faster and easier for clients to show you by example what you need done. You can also ease a client’s burden – not to mention making it easier for you to grasp their meaning – by suggesting a screen share when there’s a communication gap. Screen sharing is also really useful when you need to explain a website error or some other issue that is difficult to put into words.
(3) Quick Daily Check-ins
Based in a different corner of the world than you are, clients won’t know what you are doing from day to day. This can make them feel unnecessarily nervous, wondering if you’re really keeping your nose to the grindstone. You need to give them daily updates so they can feel more comfortable. This helps you to avoid stress that can quickly sour a new business relationship.
Skype communication is perfect for sending daily updates. As a freelancer, you won’t always be working at specific times every day. Skype allows you to very easily give clients a head’s up on what time you start working on their project, what specific area you are focusing on for that day, and when you stop working. Skype communication is an open channel, so you can also quickly send a message if you run into a snag or have a quick question about a task.
(4) Weekly Meetings for Project Discussions and Feedback
On top of quick daily check-ins, you should make it a habit to get a weekly meeting with each client on your calendar. Daily check-ins take care of the minutiae that you go through every day, while weekly meetings can be more about the bigger picture. These meetings give you a chance to discuss the project as a whole and to give your suggestions about how it can be done better.
It’s not uncommon to come across problem areas from time to time, no matter what kind of project you’re working on. Clients may not have time to dive into it with you at a moment’s notice, so weekly meetings are a great time to go over these issues in detail. You can share experiences, discuss suggestions, and work together to find the best solution.
Feedback is a very important component of any work relationship. Skype communication is a great way to get feedback about your performance and also give feedback to clients that will help make things run more smoothly. Developing the habit of openly sharing feedback also fosters trust in a relationship, which will go a long way to making work more productive and enjoyable for both parties.
(5) Video Calls to Create Personal Relationship
Your client may not be interested in doing a video call for your interview. As Skype communication facilitates your daily check-ins and weekly brainstorming sessions, however, you will learn more and more about each other. After working together for some time, it’s nice to put a face to a name. Your profile picture is flat and cannot accurately express who you are in total. A voice call is better, but it’s still distant, impersonal.
A video call can help you establish a more personal connection with a client. Work relationships should remain professional, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a personal touch. We aren’t robots, after all, and are all just people who want to love what we do and put ourselves into every task. Video calls can solidify a professional relationship, making work a true joy and give deeper meaning to serving a client.
Sometimes, clients will have a task that they need completed immediately. Skype communication facilitates easy task pass-offs so instructions can be sent and the work can get done fast.
Skype communication is made even better with over ten third-party apps that you can use with Skype to record calls. This makes it much easier to have these types of meetings with clients. You can focus on what they’re saying so you can understand everything without worrying about taking notes. Just record the meeting and go over it later as needed for anything you may have missed or to make sure you don’t forget any instructions. They won’t have time to repeat themselves – which is actually something that most clients hate – and you can accept a rush task with confidence even if you’re still half asleep.
Call recording is also useful for keeping track of progress meetings, during which a lot of different things can be discussed. You want to stay focused on what’s happening moment by moment. Having a record of all the suggestions, feedback and sometimes new things to implement is a great way to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Skype can make your life as a career freelancer so much easier if you know how to use it to your advantage. Interested in more tips for better Skype communication? Check out FreeeUp CEO Nathan Hirsch’s video, Seriously Skilled Skyping for Remote Freelancer Management.
What communication difficulties do you encounter with clients? What areas of communication would you like to learn cool tips for? Let us know in the comments!
Julia Valdez is a professional teacher and decades-long lover of the art of words on paper, the stage and the big screen. She spends most of her time doing freelance content and project management, community volunteer work with the Philippine Advocates for Resilient Communities, adventuring with the Greenhouse Christian Fellowship, and sharing lots of laughs over little crazy things.