What are the best ways to engage with clients in the remote work era?
Although the mention of Covid is finally starting to lessen, a few effects of the pandemic are still very much a part of our lives – namely, remote working. Tess Luke, senior content manager at The Good Marketer, considers what changes have occurred.
The Good Marketer considers how brands can work more efficiently with remote clients / Chris Montgomery via Unsplash
Gone are the days of 9-5 in the office (praise the Lord), and what remains are virtual calls, WFH and “Karen, you’re on mute.”
In many ways, this shift in work culture has changed companies for the better. However, one major challenge for any client-facing business is how to effectively engage with clients in the remote work era.
Whether you’re a law firm, an HR consultancy or a digital marketing agency, you’re probably reading this article because clients are at the heart of what you do, and you’re wondering how you can connect with them with a keyboard, screen and possibly a good few miles between you.
Here are our five top tips:
1. Turn your damn camera on
Don’t get us wrong, we love a work-from-home-in-your-PJs vibe more than anyone, but when it comes to engaging with your clients it pays to be (virtually) face-to-face.
Keep your sweats on the bottom, but run a comb through your hair and switch on that camera. It’ll do wonders for the connection you have with your clients and make remote meetings feel a little more IRL.
Who knows? You might even spark up a conversation about the houseplants you can see in the background, an interior you love or someone’s pet.
This brings us nicely to our second tip...
2. Talk about more than just work
We know, we know. Pandemic small talk is a dud. Well, the good news is that these days there’s way more to talk about than anti-vaxxers and the stress of forgetting your mask when you pop to the post office.
If you were meeting face to face, you’d probably talk about your journeys. OK, so when things are virtual, you’ve probably not left your house, but there are so many other classic small-talk tactics to lean on – the weather, your weekend plans, even politics (if you’re feeling brave).
Seriously, it’ll help break down that screen-like barrier between you and establish a connection.
3. Use visual aids
Similar to having your camera on, there’s nothing more boring than someone simply reading out the agenda and expecting a standing ovation.
If you’re presenting to your client, get those visual aids. This isn’t your typical boardroom presentation – there isn’t tea, coffee or croissants to keep people from throwing themselves out of the window when you point out the ninth KPI for Q4.
Images, interactive slides and even a meme or two are great options to help keep people engaged when you have to get down to virtual business.
4. Take breaks
A virtual meeting is just like an in-person one. Well, pretty much.
The temptation to act a way you wouldn’t in person is high because it feels different. You might be reluctant to say you need a drink or a bit of fresh air, but if you’re two hours into a four-hour strategy session (dear God) take a break.
Go outside or suggest a tea break – everyone loves a tea break, even the scariest-looking CEO.
5. Remember – your client is a person too
Our fifth and final tip stands whether you’re working remotely or not – remember your client is a person too.
If you’re communicating via email or Zoom, take a step back from the ‘circle backs’ and ‘spearheads,’ and actually talk like a human being. Did you blend your smoothie without the lid on this morning? Tell your client – they’re probably as in need of a giggle as you are, especially after you lost your smoothie. Is your dog suffering from separation anxiety now that you’re back to hybrid working? Maybe their pets are too.
They’re a human too, after all, so speak to them like one – whether you’ve got a screen between you or not.
So there you have it – our top five tips for how to engage with your client in the remote working era. To the joy of some and the dismay of others, it doesn’t look like remote working is going anywhere any time soon, so connecting with your clients through the screen is something you’re going to need to master.
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