What started out as companies sending their employees home to work from there--known as working remotely--due to pandemic lockdown orders from the government, has evolved into what looks like a permanent situation for a lot of people. There are companies and their employees who have learned over these last few months that they actually prefer this remote working relationship. There are also a large number of small business owners who have no employees other than themselves who are now working strictly from home.
However, running your business from home and/or having employees work from home presents its own specific challenges. One of the biggest of these is how to maintain close relationships with clients. Remote workers are the face of your company brand and represent you, so it is imperative that customers see the remote worker as someone they can trust and rely on.
Today on the Rules of Thumb blog from MoneyThumb we have created a list below of the best tips for employees and business owners for maintaining close relationships with customers while working remotely:
- Establish Effective Forms of Communication--This is the cornerstone of building trust with clients and customers while working remotely. When transitioning to remote work, it’s best to reach out to your customers and ask them how they would prefer to communicate. For example, customers who normally have regular in-person meetings with you might want to schedule video calls in their place, while other customers prefer only email communication.
- Set Healthy Boundaries--One of the major downsides of remote communication methods is that they often lead to a lack of boundaries. Clients might expect you to answer emails instantly regardless of the time of day, try to call you in the middle of the night, or otherwise intrude when you’re off the clock. The best way to avoid running into those types of problems is to set clear expectations with customers from the beginning. You can easily do this when discussing their preferred communication channels with them.
- Make Sure To Meet Expectations--One of the most important things you have to do in order to earn and keep clients’ trust is to meet their expectations. If a project is taking longer than a client thinks it should, they may decide not to work with you again in the future. If you want to stay in business, you need to learn how to manage customer expectations. The best way to do that, in our experience, is to tell customers precisely what you’re going to deliver and when it will arrive.
- Take Advantage of All 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. Such 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.
By implementing the above tips we believe you can continue having success with your business in spite of the challenges of working remotely. Although lockdowns may no longer be in place in your area, and some companies have called workers back to their facility, you and your employees could discover that the advantages of working remotely outweigh ever returning to work in your former physical setting. Whatever works for you, we wish you the best of luck with your business during the rest of 2020 and into 2021. Hopefully, next year will provide us all with a little less madness.