Remote Working Relationships 101: Communication is Key

Remote Working Relationships 101: Communication is Key

No matter how far technology takes us, there is something to say about the impact of a face-to-face customer-representative relationship. The ability to converse, look each other in the eye and explore options – for sales or to solve problems – has a charm of its own. However, with remote working on the rise (and dramatically so right now because of the pandemic), there is a need to ensure that communication remains seamless and clear.

Here are some practices that can make remote relationships easier to manage:

Start with a Base of Trust

The whole idea with client communication is that it provides a platform to establish ethical practices. There is no reason this cannot be the case with remote working situations as well. With a known client, you already have a base from which to begin. If this is a new client, then you are on equal footing. The key is establishing trust by keeping the client in a clear and simple loop of communication. This will help build a two-way connection – helping the client connect with questions and opening the doors for you to introduce important elements for discussion. Every communication has to be a show of honesty as well as expertise. It is the simplest way to establish your competency.

Work out a mutually agreeable plan for communication with your client. This could be a schedule for emails, phone or video calls, or even online chats. This is where you need to choose the right kind of technology to best suit your needs. Virtual meeting software, Cloud-based storage solutions, collaborative tools, etc., all help keep those modes of communication open and clear.

Set Expectations and Boundaries, Meet Deadlines

It is important for any customer relationship to maintain a clear set of expectations, boundaries, and milestones. Every meeting should have responsibilities clearly spelled out, and deadlines assigned. In the case of remote working, you will need to mindful of time zones and make adjustments as necessary for the convenience of your clients. This may require working outside of regular hours for you, but it goes a long way toward ensuring a happy client.

Make Use of Technology

When in a remote relationship, a video call – whether one-on-one or a conference - can make a world of difference. Being able to see the client’s face provides visual clues of their perception of the meeting and information being discussed which, in turn, allows you to better gauge the client’s interest. This is a more direct and open form of communication compared to emails, where you are sometimes left guessing what the client is really thinking or feeling. It also cuts down on long email trails.

Text-based chat programs are also a good option for some communications. There is typically a faster response time and quicker connect. It is a convenient option too, particularly if the work you are doing with the client does not require you to talk in real time continuously. Periodic chatting to communicate updates can help put the client’s mind at ease.

Email is still the best way to send clients long, detailed reports, share contracts, and document important communications. All other short communications can be done with other technology-based communication methods.

The Future of Real Live Meetings

If the opportunity arises, do try and meet face-to-face with clients once in a while. In the current pandemic, this is not a viable option – but once the crisis has passed and it is deemed safe, try to connect in person with clients if you are in their local area or city

Client meetings over coffee or lunch can firm up relationships that have been nurtured online. Good communication online will help you pick up the conversation seamlessly when you meet in person and this can make a great impression. Putting a face to the voice or video image takes the relationship to its next level.

Always Ask for Feedback

When you make submissions to the client, it is always important to solicit feedback. Doing this on a video call would be ideal since you can gauge your client’s facial expressions. Any issues can be resolved instantly or can be filed away for application in future projects. It is also a great way to see what the client has in mind next and if you can be a part of it. Being open to feedback is the key to improving your game.

Remote working is something that needs a bit of practice and people skills. It may take a little while to get into the habit, but with a little planning, clear communication paths, and an open mind, you can keep all your working relationships in good order.

Read More:How to Make Your Business AI Ready

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