Working from home and remotely from the office has been trending for a few years now. Enter the coronavirus pandemic. The need for remote work is now not a trend, but a safety issue for many people and businesses today. The traditional workplace has now shifted, almost overnight, to an overwhelming trend of working remotely as a precaution and stay safe. Most people, who can, are now working from home. It is time to consider a few practices which may help build strong client relationships during such critical times.
Establish Trust from the Outset
Ethical behaviour in face-to-face sales and marketing begins with establishing trust and this is no different in a remote working environment. Without meeting in person, both the client and the marketing firm are at a disadvantage. So how can trust be developed? The key here is to ensure that your client feels part of the communication process and kept informed and updated as and when needed. Therefore, a solid and sincere approach towards the client from the start will enable two-way communication, on the one hand, allowing you to introduce and manage expectations and, on the other, allow the client to get involved in key discussions. Where you are demonstrating honesty, expertise and competency, you are in effect validating a foundation for a secure relationship.
A Communication Plan with Clients is Essential
The inability to meet clients in person makes it necessary to organise regular communication. This is where project management comes in. Both parties will have to mutually agree on a plan in which you can communicate with your client. It is this communication which is vital in developing trust and strength in this relationship. Your client will be content in the knowledge that they can keep in contact with you.
A plan can be devised which details when you intend to communicate via a schedule plus how you intend to communicate, e.g. email, telephone or video call or online chat tools. Whichever communication channel is used, it should be one that your client is happy in using to avoid any potential complications or frustration. It is important for you as a business to listen to your clients and learn about their expectations so that you then be responsive and create value for them.
Boundaries and Deadlines Must be Clarified
You can only guarantee that you are on the right path by ensuring from the outset that clear expectations in terms of communication, requirements and responsibilities, and time frames have been set. Both you and your client can have a better understanding of how you can work together without going above and beyond set limits. Setting and enforcing deadlines serves to motivate clients and helps keep your project going forward.
Whether you wish to build a formal or informal relationship or treat each client individually, how you set boundaries and deadlines while working remotely is your decision. But it is good business to be respectful and mindful of your clients as time is not always on their side. Sticking to schedules where possible and staying focused helps both you and your client.
Facilitate Communication Utilising Technology
Real time communication in a remote working relationship is not possible without technology. Being equipped with the right digital tools and software enables two-way communication between yourself and your client, especially long-distance clients. Tools can comprise accessible cloud-based document storage solutions and virtual meeting software, allowing both parties to keep up to date with developments. Collaborative tools help simplify the sharing of information and scheduling of meetings.
The provision of multiple contact methods and communication channels will enable constructive project management for a strong and successful business relationship. You should not underestimate the power of communication when working remotely. Although remote work presents many challenges, these can be overcome by ensuring you have a plan in place and strategies in line for regular communication. You are then all set to develop a successful long-term relationship with your client.
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