Due to COVID-19, we have seen many things in our lives change - particularly our work practices and etiquette with clients. We at Clinked have been discussing these changes with our clients and are here to share our best practices of meeting clients "new normal”.
Many have been able to shift to working from home. Whilst it is important to remain as professional as is possible, we are inevitably sharing a different side of ourselves that would not be revealed in an office environment. Due to video calls that may feature pets, family members and housemates the corporate barriers of professional etiquette have been broken down. So, how can you continue to work successfully with clients from home when the familiar way of working has changed so much? We're here to explore top tips shared by and with our clients over the past months. Hope they help you meet clients "new normal" as we move forward together.
What is the best way to work with clients when working remote?
When working remotely with clients, communication is key. It is necessary to schedule regular meetings to catch up (even if they are often cancelled last minute, it is good to have regular meetings in your calendar that can always be re-scheduled). Be sure to schedule deadlines in advance so you can forward plan and meet client deliverables. Having a plan agreed in advance that can be easily adapted, will help you manage client expectations, and work with them more consistently. Try to be available for client enquiries as much as possible, whether this be via email, video call or telephone.
Be mindful that your clients working in different geographical locations may have different time zones to you. For instance, if you would like to organise a video meeting for 11am where you are, time zone differences mean that it could still only be 6am for your client elsewhere. Tools such as The Time Zone Converter may help you manage time zone differences. Due to personal reasons, working hours may be altered slightly for some clients in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, hence it is always best to discuss appropriate times for meetings and project collaboration in advance.
Use technology to “meet” these new expectations
Digital tools can help you collaborate and communicate with clients when working remotely. For many organisations, video meeting tools such as ‘Zoom’ have become a standard part of many organisations’ “new normal”. For many clients, what no longer is possible to take place in the traditional way - i.e. face to face meetings - is expected to be adapted using modern technology rather than cancelled. Many adaptations have been seen during the pandemic, including client webinars, virtual shareholder meetings and online AGMs (Annual General Meetings).
Other digital tools can help you stay organised. For instance, Clinked has a task management feature to help you visualise and keep on track of deadlines with clients and your team. Generally, employees like to have a variety of options to communicate with each client. However, having a single platform that can be used for communication with both clients and internal team members to “meet” will streamline processes and confirms clarity for those managing drive. Clinked offers such a platform and offers features such as private chat to communicate 1-1 with clients in a professional manner along with two-factor authentication and SSL encryption to ensure secure content access.
Build and retain client trust during times of uncertainty
Last week, our teammate Sarah Broderick was the guest speaker of a webinar hosted by Cambridge Network. She shared how to build and retain client trust, especially during times of uncertainty, through exploring practices we’ve been taking at Clinked these past months as well as practices shared to us by our clients.
Trust is a cornerstone of any relationship and a dominant reason many of our clients have given to how they’ve retained clients recently. In order to lead with trust, Sarah referenced the “Begin with Trust” article by Frances Frei and Anne Morris recently shared by the Harvard Business - the article identified authenticity, empathy and logic to be the key components of to build trust.
Participants were polled as to what they felt were most important for a company to consider when maintaining client relationships in the current climate. The top three were:
- Understanding the client experience
- Giving referrals
For a strong client relationship to be built, it is important to establish a relationship built with trust from the start. For this to be successful, each new client will need to be properly onboarded. In the past this could be done face to face, however you may be unable to this now. At Clinked, we’ve adjusted our practices to hold a video onboarding session with each new client as they join to start understanding how they will use Clinked and what they need from us to get started working with their clients.
What can an organisation do to retain clients when the pandemic occurred?
Sarah suggested there are 4 Practical Steps of Focus for any organisation to take in order during uncertain times with clients - whether caused by a pandemic or other crisis:
- Acknowledge & Give Thanks
- Listen, Learn & Support
- Knowledge Sharing
- Celebrate Others
At Clinked, we had an initial team initiative to reach out to all of our clients from a point of empathy to acknowledge and give thanks to them. We genuinely wanted to make sure they were coping okay and offered anything our team could do to help them at this time. Alongside a CEO letter, personal calls to every client were undertaken and video emails were sent out to those unavailable to speak to on the phone. That level of transparency and outreach we believe helped the genuine loyalty of clients.
Through our conversations, we listened to their feedback and learned from their needs. This resulted in our supporting them through offering knowledge shares around our product. Since April, we’ve started a webinar series to provide additional support to all our clients as they look to do more within Clinked with their clients.
We also uncovered wonderful stories of success across our client base. We’ve started a Clinked Client Stories series to celebrate our client’s actions and hopefully market their services or products to others - a bit of press always helps! Check out our latest about California Academy of Family Physicians
If you’d like to hear all the ideas Sarah shared, here is a link to the recorded webinar:
Hope you can put these practises into use with your clients and you can continue to lead with trust and empathy as we find our clients “new normal”!
Fancy exploring how with Clinked? Let’s schedule a call to discuss more using the link below: