Positive Client Relationships — Near or Far
By: Julie Clark
Creating and maintaining client relationships is a must, not only for the success of your client but for your success as well. Client retention depends on connection. Your clients need to feel like they are your one and only, even if they aren’t. So, how exactly can you grow connections, benefit from brainstorming, and foster responsibility and commitment to a common goal from afar, especially in today’s post-pandemic workplace? Here are five tips for building positive client relationships, near or far.
- Get to know your clients. Just because you can’t sit down in their offices face-to-face does not mean you can’t make them feel special and important. Know their companies’ histories; study their products and services; dedicate time to learning their names, roles, and families. Only then will you be equipped to not only acknowledge but also help them celebrate business and personal milestones. Consider asking your clients and their teams to participate in a survey or team-building exercise or simply asking them questions when you have time.
- Schedule monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly video meetings. Instead of only using emails or phone calls, suggest your clients meet you face-to-face on Zoom, Google Meet, or FaceTime. Not only does this check the box for helping you forge a personal relationship, but it also feels more professional and shows your clients you are willing to carve out time, regularly, just for them.
Building Connections with Remote Clients
By: Meredith Flory
While a variety of factors have led businesses to be able to have both remote workers and remote clients, those relationships and teams still need to grow authentically and create connections that lead to long-term relationships. Whether you are providing a service or creating a product for your clients, there are some ways to use technology creatively and purposefully to make the miles separating you feel like much less.
Tailor communication to the client. Our ability to have remote clients is in part due to the amount of technology at our fingertips, but there are so many options, you need to play it smart in deciding which communication technologies work for you and your clients. If you use too many, it makes it easier for communication to be missed or misinterpreted. Find a video-calling, calendar, and shared document system that works for both you and your clients and stick to those resources. If you want to change what you are using, consider testing with a particular project or client who is open to new things before asking all your clients and employees to make the switch.
Be sure to maintain notes on your clients’ communication styles. Due to a myriad of factors such as age, type of project, comfort with technology, and needed accommodations, you may need to adjust. How you are handling internal communication channels matter as well. If multiple staff members are working with a client, they need to have a plan with each other so that they do not contradict one another or contact the client about the same issues simultaneously.
The shift to more remote work has necessitated a “tweaked” philosophy in how we approach our client relationships. It’s not always as easy as a face-to-face meeting these days to cultivate healthy professional relationships. While tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet have given us a semblance of the old in-person meetings, the challenges of building remote partnerships go beyond virtual meeting needs.
For five quick tips on how to successfully transition to remote client relationships, check out this article from Forbes. The tips might seem basic in the extreme, but building a solid foundation will serve you well as you navigate those remote waters.
By: Julie Kirchner
Talking about building connections is a love of Jonnah Buchanan’s. “Truly, all learning begins with connection,” she enlightens. Jonnah is the executive director of Launch Learning Preschool, an innovative new nonprofit in Merritt Island, Florida, offering a unique whole-family education framework designed to strengthen families in raising happy, healthy humans.
“We know from brain research that connections on the outside—like when we physically connect with someone face-to-face—literally build the connections in the wiring of our brains,” explains Jonnah.
Brain-based research is at the heart of Launch Learning’s program design, including their monthly Parent Connect education classes for parents. “That’s why, from the beginning of the day, we get down eye-to-eye with our kids, and we are intentionally doing fun hand games and greetings with them . . . it’s because that first immediate connection with them actually helps strengthen the neural connections within their brains,” Jonnah says. These kinds of connections form a strong foundation for early childhood brain development and help build cooperation, impulse control, and other social-emotional skills like empathy.
For Florida’s Space Coast (home to the Kennedy Space Center), it’s probably totally appropriate for a preschool to sound like rocket science. This preschool has some serious local roots, too. Launch Learning is a legacy program modeled after the Eastern Florida State College (EFSC) Lab School founded in 1967, a program that served more than 7,500 children and 14,000 parents over 55 years. During the pandemic, the EFSC Lab School program closed, and a new opportunity came to light.