Siyan Wang ’17 Discusses Modes of Client Communication
Two years ago, the students of the Haverford Microfinance Consulting club (HMFC) pivoted toward a focus on financial access issues here in the US and began considering the possibility of providing financial services to the local Philadelphia community. The development of this strategic direction has been facilitated by their engagement with Lend For America, an organization devoted to support campus microfinance organizations.
In November 2014, MI3 supported 5 students from HMFC to travel to San Fransisco for the annual Lend for America Summit to help the group in its efforts to provide funding for local entrepreneurs as a Trustee with Kiva Zip.
Summit participants included student microfinance groups from campuses across the US. The 5 students attending were Exec Dir Kayoung Lee (’16), Com Dir Jenna Kowalski (’17), Xizi (Daisy) Yuan (’17), Sitao Guo (’18) and Siyan Wang (’17).
Below Xizi (Daisy) Yuan ’17 discusses how to improve the effectiveness of communications with clients.
Good client communication is a big issue in the loan application process. In the session on this topic, speakers mentioned several points that require attention in our interactions with the client.
First, it is critical to build the trust with the client to start a long-lasting and effective relationship. To facilitate this, we need to show our passion, patience, honesty and care at the very beginning of our contact with the client. And, of course, it is important to maintain contact with the client, checking back on how they and the business are doing on a regular basis as a “professional friend.”
Second, know your client by paying attention to details. For example, in the case we considered in the session, we were able to learn how often the client attends church, how many kids she has, her consuming habits, etc. In other words, we know almost everything related to her life. However, we need to keep in mind that all details are received based on the trust with the client.
In order to keep this trust, we need to build a relationship with the client over time and need to consider what we should say in different steps. In the initial interactions, it is impolite and inappropriate to ask some overly personal questions. Hence, every time we talk with our client, we need to ask ourselves how far has our relationship progressed? Then, we can choose appropriate questions to ask.
Another thing we need to keep in mind is that when we are seeking information, we can approach it multi-dimensionally. We can use both logical analysis and emotional persuasion at the same time. Sometimes the responses may not be direct and it is important to listen to what he or she says carefully. When we continue to have difficulty in getting information, we should try to approach the client in another way. It may also be important to express the need for the information thoroughly.
The last point is to stay flexible. Change the mode of talk to be consistent with the talk of the client. And be natural, it is ineffective and inefficient to simply read the outline you have written. We should learn how to modify our talk with the client appropriately and immediately to increase the efficiency of communications.
– Siyan Wang ’17