How Going ‘Old School’ Can Improve Client Relations

Over the past two years, we’ve all been relying heavily on technology to connect — both professionally and personally. But digital communication leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Words on a screen can’t convey tone. Important information gets lost in a sea of emails, texts, and Slack messages. We’ve all seen the Facebook post gone awry because someone forgot there was a real person on the other end. Similarly, technology can make us forget our clients are real people with real concerns. Miscommunication leads to client frustration. The good news is digital miscommunications can be prevented or corrected. Here are three easy-to-implement analog tips for dealing with clients in a digital world.

Pick up the phone

Spoiler alert: Your phone can do more than send texts and emails. A good rule of thumb is that if three or more emails have been exchanged on a subject, a phone call is in order. If someone seems to be missing the point over email, chances are that the misunderstanding can be cleared up over the phone in less time and with a lot less frustration. Instead of going through the difficulty and delay of scheduling an appointment, picking up the phone for an impromptu call in the moment will often yield better — and quicker — results.

Schedule regular one-on-ones

Along the same lines, don’t save your phone calls for when something has gone wrong. Setting a standing meeting with your clients will allow you to regularly check on the status of current projects, develop new ideas, and engage in friendly banter. A 30-minute weekly, biweekly, or monthly one-on-one can become a safe space to talk about any shortcomings or successes.

Turn off the camera

Once a week, institute a “no camera” day. Zoom fatigue is real. Not only is there pressure to make constant eye contact, but there is also the awkwardness of being able to see yourself in the same window with others. Both of these are huge distractions that don’t happen in normal face-to-face conversations. Telling everyone to turn off their cameras will help people let down their guards faster and also allow them to move about at their own leisure — yoga pants and all.

The takeaway

By taking simple steps to improve your client relations, you’ll create an environment that will attract and keep top clients — and top talent. Your clients and your team will appreciate the opportunity to take a break from the digital world.

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