7. Working with clients
When working with clients you need to build the most transparent relationships and establish trust. After all, they may not go into the principles of remote work, and therefore may doubt the reliability of a distributed team. But if you are transparent and professional in your work, your workflow is open to the customer, and communication is well established, customers will give you preference regardless of distance.
The first thing that is important for the customer to understand is that you physically exist and your work is real, although it is built on virtual processes. Tell about it on your website, publish photos of employees, share cases and reviews, and create a blog with expert columns. An informative and high-quality site already lends the first bit of confidence in a company’s professionalism.
With further acquaintance, it makes sense not to limit the client to contact with only one manager. It’s good to introduce him to the entire project team by making a call, thereby demonstrating the involvement and accessibility of each specialist.
When working remotely, the level of service is especially important to customers. Therefore, it is no surprise that you need to work well. Plan tasks and deadlines, update statuses, and provide reports. If plans require adjustments, they also require an explanation of the causes and consequences of this. Give the client the opportunity to see the work at each stage, ask questions, and comment on what has been done. The remote format is not a reason to sow discord and confusion.
If the client has doubts, speak in detail of the legal aspect and provide the necessary documentation. Just follow maximum clarity and transparency, both in processes and documents.
Show that tasks are easy to observe. If you provide access to the chat and any tools with which the project is controlled, the client will not be nervous. Often the accesses themselves are enough to extinguish the anxiety and allow the customer to relax, so no one will bother your team.
It is comfortable for any customer to understand how and with whom he can connect to resolve his issue. It’s significant whether the team is distributed or sitting together in the office on the next street. Therefore, it is important to think over and provide the client with convenient communication methods and ensure regular contact.
We usually call up once a week and chat about emerging issues. With good work, this is enough to make everyone understand the state of affairs and the next steps. It is important not to limit communication only by chat or email, because some topics still require lively conversation. It’s better to use a video so the call is as close as possible to a personal meeting.
It is worth paying attention to the speed of your response. Obviously, the faster the client receives feedback, the calmer the collaboration will be. Even if at the moment there is no way to quickly and fully respond, make it clear that the request has been accepted and the answer will follow a bit later.
It happens sometimes that the client begins to demand daily calls or reports. If you just started working remotely, you might think that this should be so. But in fact, this is not at all necessary and is to some extent strange. Often this is a sign of distrust of the team and the fear that the situation is getting out of control. In such circumstances, do not refuse to submit frequent reporting. But you do not need to leave the case without attention. Identify the problem and solve it. Everyone will be much more comfortable.
Sometimes, customers start to get nervous before starting a project in the last couple of weeks, and therefore they ask for constant contact without visible problems. Then, of course, it makes sense to make calls until the situation becomes calmer.
Do not forget about pleasant gestures. For example, congratulate clients on holidays and present gifts, exchange useful information, and just be in touch.