Online communication can occasionally result in awkward situations, and sometimes explaining key elements of a project in an email may not translate as well as it does in person, leading to misunderstandings. What’s more, it can often be more difficult to build a rapport with someone when you’re both working in a remote capacity.
Nowadays, it also isn’t uncommon for businesses to operate fully remotely. E-commerce is, however, a thriving global industry, which has proven that establishing trust and maintaining client relationships is possible when you are working exclusively within the digital realm. The majority of modern businesses have successfully adapted to the demands of fully remote work, overcoming many challenges in the process such as learning how to communicate effectively, monitor employees performance, and even track when clients receive and open invoices.
Continue reading to learn how you can manage your business relationships successfully when working in a remote capacity.
Establish Which Methods of Communication You Both Prefer
When it comes to which channels are most convenient and effective to use, everyone has their own preferences. If you’re transitioning to remote work, be sure to reach out to your clients and coworkers and ask how they would prefer to communicate with you moving forward. Clients who usually meet with you in person might want to schedule video calls instead. Taking the time to accommodate individual preferences can help to mitigate a lot of the naturally challenging aspects of remote communication.
During your client onboarding process, you may want to ask new clients for their preferred method of communication to make sure everything goes smoothly from the outset. You can make this easier by providing customers with a list of options based on the tools you already offer, such as email, video conferencing and instant messaging platforms, each of which has its pros and cons.
Work Out A Plan for Communication
Despite some obvious challenges, there are a lot of upsides to working remotely. Being able to stay in touch with clients from halfway across the world, and keeping your entire team in the loop regardless of where they’re located is easier than you might think, especially when you use the right communication tools and platforms.
However, when it comes to keeping in touch with clients, remote communication methods can sometimes create an atmosphere of no boundaries. When you’re off the clock, you might find that your clients expect you to respond to emails immediately, that they call you at all times, or otherwise make efforts to reach you. The best way to avoid this is to set clear expectations with clients at the outset as to when you can be contacted and what the best way for you to stay in touch will be.
Set Clear Deadlines for Deliverables
One of the most important things you have to do in order to earn and keep your client’s 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. You must learn how to manage client expectations if you want to stay in business.
One of the best ways to achieve this goal is to tell customers precisely what you’ll deliver and when they can expect to hear from you. When you are working with clients for the first time, you can break down the project into milestones and layout exactly when they can expect various deliverables. Keep your clients informed of your progress by setting clear due dates from the outset so there are no surprises down the line.
Put the Right Systems In Place to Manage Remote Relationships Effectively
Putting the right tools and a few best practices in place, you can deliver quality work and maintain good relationships with your clients when you are working remotely. Follow the tips outlined above to manage your relationships successfully moving forward and to set yourself to achieve your goals moving forward.