IN MY DAY-TO-DAY LIFE THE TELEPHONE, EMAIL, DIGITAL CONNECTIONS AND GOTOMEETINGS REIGN SUPREME.
And while I value and appreciate the digital communication methods that allow me to, day in and day out, successfully communicate with my clients, a seemingly crucial component of any successful client relationship has become a rarity on the spectrum these days: the face-to-face meeting.
I get it – clients are often time scattered across the country, and with limited budgets, distance and busy schedules acting as barriers, it is challenging to prioritize in-person client visits. Our fallback is to utilize all of the great digital tools at our disposal to communicate with clients, keep projects on track and connect. Though, on a recent trip to visit one of my clients I was reminded of the importance and unmatched value prioritizing face-to-face client interaction brings to a client/agency relationship.
I carefully created a good working relationship with my client, communicating on a daily basis for several months, countless emails were exchanged, and many gotomeetings were had throughout the course of the project.
Before my in-person client visit, I felt that I had successfully fostered and maintained a growing client relationship—which to some extent, I had. My client and I had hit our stride, our communication back and forth was efficient and easy. But undoubtedly, like any relationship confined to the digital space, the depth of my relationship with the client was limited and, to some extent limited in depth. It was largely based around action items, deliverables, and project timeline.
Most simply stated— the issue with relationships limited to the digital realm, is the absence of key relationship strengtheners: trust, humanization and familiarity.
My in-person client visit changed the entire dynamic of our working relationship. Taking us beyond task-oriented emails and small talk about the weather, and allowing us to connect on a human level through shared experiences, common goals and even a few laughs along the way. The client was able to put a face with my name, obtain insight into my character and personality, and, most importantly—establish a deeper level of trust with me.
Without dismissing the cost of traveling, its importance and value must not be overlooked or fall by the wayside in our digital age. It’s important. Continue to rely on and utilize all of the digital communication methods at our fingertips, but not lose site of the fact that at the end of the day face-to-face interactions still seem to be the ultimate relationship solidifiers.