Aside from the logistics, working from home requires adapting methods in which we communicate with clients.
Changes to Client Communication When Working Remotely – For many, virtual communication is an unfamiliar approach. Yet, with a few adaptations, we can ease clients’ uncertainty and smooth the transition to embrace change. We not only need to modify how we communicate, but also acknowledge changes in attention to detail, and recognize their unique professional concerns.
While some could simply expand their use of blogs, podcasts, and telecommunication, others scramble to pivot their approach to virtual methods. Working with clients within your preferred style is important, yet understanding that each client responds differently to various forms of communication may mean expanding your virtual repertoire.
It’s also likely that our clients’ online focus is limited. Absorbing detail-driven, line by line explanations is difficult in face-to-face settings and even more challenging remotely. Some clients require bullet point details to maintain focus, others may need to hear- or see- the information in various formats. Follow-up guidance in the form of blogs, checklists, podcasts, or videos allows clients the opportunity to devote their attention at less distracted times.
Keep in mind, a client’s mindset is often reflective of their industry concerns, and the approach to each will vary. While some industries are thriving, others are struggling. The size of the company, and their role within the company, is also indicative of how information is processed.
Is the information you’re providing for their own consideration, or do they need to fully understand the concepts to share with other management?
Working with a client who is worried about keeping their doors open or employees on the payroll is very different than an industry positively affected by economic changes. In addition to standard business concerns, many now need to add mandated protective equipment, customer restrictions, or sanitation to their growing list of concerns and expenditures.
More than ever, people need a plan and they need your leadership.
Don’t be afraid to provide your expert opinion and recommendations. You are often the most trusted adviser to your clients – they aren’t expecting you to have all of the answers, but that you have their concerns and needs in mind. And remember, these unprecedented times don’t simply affect our clients on a business level, but also on a human emotional level.
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive. And to do so with some passions and compassion, some humor and some style.” – Maya Angelou
Changes to Client Communication When Working Remotely – I truly believe that amidst all of this craziness, it can also be a time to thrive.
As accounting professionals, we have the opportunity to expand our expertise into virtual formats, delivering new levels of communication, and embracing change in our clients and within our own firms.