Cloud migration allows IT departments the ability, adaptability, and flexibility to take their organizations to the next level. The number of organizations migrating to the cloud is increasing quickly as the technology evolves. The sooner end users become knowledgeable in the cloud, the smoother a migration experience becomes.
Finding the right partnership takes time and is essential to a successful transition. First and foremost, determine which communication strategy is best. Then, communicate what the important stages in migration are and how they will work: rehosting, replatforming, repurchasing, refactoring, and retiring.
Benefits of Customer Communication
If you are an IT professional or project manager, it is beneficial to communicate with the client on details of the migration early in the planning phase and ongoing throughout the effort. Benefits of early and constant customer communication include:
- Identify potential cloud migration problems before they impact the business.
- Establish and maintain trust between parties for a more successful transition.
- Ensure the client’s needs are met and nothing is left on the table.
- Retain customer retention for future work, updates, and improvements.
With communication comes the possibility of over-communicating and potentially drowning a client in repetitive details, including some they may not need or want to know. Think unsolicited sales pitches with follow-up email campaigns that increase in intensity and annoyance over a short period of time.
To avoid over-communicating with a client, tailor the communications to hit timely and with just enough detail and advance notice of things happening or action items needed by them, so they can plan and respond within an agreed upon timeframe. Keep the tone friendly, professional, and informative, stating exactly what is happening and when, what is needed, and what to expect next.
There is no need for bold text, repetitive questions, and begging or pleading. Following up a meeting or call with a summary email or note is sufficient, and even a quick reminder the week or day of a deadline or required action may be all that is necessary. A lack of response, while frustrating, may also require an additional ping or phone call to make sure your contact did get your message and is aware of the priority and consequences of delay.
Consequences of Not Communicating Clearly
Lack of effective communication tends to be rooted in inexperienced or overworked individuals who can inadvertently sabotage an important job or client relationship. The results of poor communication to clients and even across teams can be exponentially bad. Top of the list consequences to cloudy communication can mean:
A break in trust with a dedicated client
One bad experience can cut off a relationship instantly, and word-of-mouth and undocumented reviews can hurt an organization for years to come.
Being late or missing a deadline or milestone erodes trust, and the pain rolls downhill affecting other people and teams, pushing out the timeline and even the budget of big migration projects. Poor planning and lack of enough lead time for those involved in steps along the way can cause shockwaves throughout the duration of the rest of the workstream.
Lack of planning or of sharing details or knowledge transfer can leave a client in the dark and make them feel unsure of what is happening when and what the next steps are. If they don’t know what is occurring and when, it is impossible for them to plan and prepare on their side for what is to come. They won’t always ask the questions or even know what to ask, having put trust in the process and the partnership.
An exiting client relationship means a loss of projected money and abandoned services. A waste of time and effort for all is the result of a bad experience fueled by poor communication and execution of vital services a business relies upon.
Best Practices for Communicating With Customers
While each client will have their own communication preferences, it’s important to understand what those preferences are in order to effectively communicate with them and maintain their trust as a business partner. Consider these five best practices used by successful businesses when planning and executing your client communication strategy.
- Communicate proactively, providing the most relevant information up front and early to set the tone and experience off to a good start.
- Acknowledge and address problems as they arise, and don’t wait for them to fix themselves.
- Personalize communications and remain consistent in tone and voice. Make them feel like you are working with them specifically and avoid using templates that can feel impersonal and insincere or that have been used before.
- Be clear and concise in what you inform about or ask for; vague directions or updates will lead to confusion and delay.
- Collaborate on the best way to relay information and how often. Clients differ in their approach to work and their ability to respond and act. Take the time to learn their specific way of working, and culture and tailor it to the communication plan you are creating.
Covering all the bases of clear and relevant communication with a client early in the process of any project ensures the best outcome for all. When in doubt with a new client or customer contact, ask them. Come up with a custom communication plan together that keeps them in the know and keeps your IT team moving along to successfully deliver a highly anticipated service that results in receiving rave reviews as well as repeat business and stellar recommendation to others.