Guiding Clients Through COVID-19 Challenges

Times of drastically scaled back face-to-face client meetings are likely to pop up over the course of your career. Even if you’ve been lucky enough so to have no local COVID-19 concerns, you’ve got to start answering the question: In an age of fewer in-person meetings, how do you adjust your client service strategy?

The move toward more remote work has been advancing for years, but COVID-19 is forcing an acceleration at breakneck speeds. Scheduling a video meeting while folks work from on Fridays is one thing, but moving your big industry events to virtual-only is something no one was truly ready for. But we should consider this the new normal.

Times of drastically scaled back face-to-face client meetings are likely to pop up several more times over the course of your career. Even if you’ve been lucky enough so far to have no local COVID-19 concerns, you have got to start answering the question: In an age of fewer in-person meetings, how do you adjust your client service strategy and help your clients?

Don’t Panic! You’re Already Pretty Good At This

Less face-to-face time can feel like a huge blow to your client service strategy, but it doesn’t have to be. The number of remote workers and companies with remote work policies increases all the time. Chances are, you already know how to work successfully without routine in-person meetings. Just consider COVID-19 your glimpse into the future.

Inventory your client relationships and determine who’s going to need a new approach when lunch meetings aren’t happening. Whose business is likely to suffer most from periods of widespread quarantine, and how can you expand your scope of work to help them plan a response?

The guiding principles for you and your clients are the same as ever: creativity and communication.

Shake Up Your Client Service Strategy!

When it comes to marketing, you’re going to have to take a whole new approach to your client service strategy. Professional conferences in every sector are being cancelled, postponed, or rolled into online-only events. That means big news about data, clinical trials, product launches, trends, and more aren’t going to be communicated the way anyone planned.

Talk to your clients about what they’ll do if in-person events are off the table. Social media and paid media will have to take a much larger role in pushing out the major announcements usually reserved for the year’s biggest in-person events. Many companies have been dragging their feet on developing robust strategies for virtual events, which is where you come in. Whether it’s a live tweet event, Facebook Live, Instagram stories, or something else, get creative about turning the content you wanted to share “in real life” into great web content such as animation, recorded presentations, infographics, etc.

Embrace the Chance to Plan

Getting clients to commit time and resources to planning for contingencies is never easy, but with this new virus on everyone’s mind, seize the moment and have those big conversations. If your clients aren’t worried yet, push them to imagine what they would do if their field’s biggest meeting got canceled.

Ultimately, planning for something like this makes you and your clients more nimble. You can draw on the lessons learned and shelved plans to adapt to other issues that come up.

If you never have to draw on those plans, that’s great, and you’ll have pushed yourself and your clients to find new and compelling ways to share the information that’s most important to them.

Remote work is only becoming more popular, and there’s no telling when the next global health crisis will have us all stuck at home. Start planning now.

 

 

What’s the Secret to Managing Digital Nomads and Remote Teams?

For businesses that want access to the best marketing talent, it’s nearly impossible to look past freelancers and digital nomads. But learning how to manage them efficiently can prove to be a significant challenge.

For businesses that want access to the best marketing talent, it’s nearly impossible to look past freelancers and digital nomads. But learning how to manage them efficiently can prove to be a significant challenge.

Who Are the Digital Nomads?

If you’re a business owner or CEO, you better get used to working with digital nomads and remote workers. Studies suggest that more than half of the workforce will work in a freelance capacity by 2020. And if you’re operating in a digital industry like marketing, that percentage will likely be much higher.

But before you can manage these remote workers, you need to understand who they are, how they think, and what sort of management styles and structures they respond well to.

According to HubSpot, “Digital nomads are remote workers who usually travel to different locations. They often work in coffee shops, co-working spaces, or public libraries, relying on devices with wireless internet capabilities like smart phones and mobile hotspots to do their work wherever they want.”

The average digital nomad is a Millennial between the ages of 22-35 who is tech-savvy and in hot pursuit of optimal work-life balance. In fact, scheduling flexibility is often more important than salary. They want the ability to live life on their terms, rather than being chained to a desk for 40 or 50-plus hours a week.

4 Management Tips

Some of the most talented people in today’s workforce are freelancers and digital nomads. And if you want to reach these people, you must be able to manage them well. So, without further ado, here are some techniques and strategies you may find helpful:

1. Hire the Right People

You’ll do yourself a huge favor by adopting a meticulous approach to hiring. In fact, you’ll make or break your ability to successfully manage digital nomads by how and whom you hire.

In the search process, look for candidates who possess high levels of self-discipline and motivation. Speak with past employers and clients to see how well a candidate adheres to deadlines. You’ll also want to consider how responsive a candidate is.

2. Set Clear Priorities

There shouldn’t be any question about what’s expected of your team. Whether an individual spends part of the time in the office or operates remotely on a full-time basis, they should understand exactly what your priorities are for their time, effort, and responsibilities.

For example, do you expect team members to be available during certain hours? Are there mandatory meetings that require attendance? Is there a certain approval process for requesting time off or extending the deadline on a project? These aren’t questions you want to answer on the fly. It’s best to have them established ahead of time.

3. Stay in Touch

When managing remote employees, communication is supremely important. Stay in touch with your team and don’t let distance create separation in how you work. There are lots of free and/or cost-effective tools to make remote communication seamless. Learn what works for your team and utilize them!

“Instant messaging tools can be more efficient than email for quick questions. However, if there is a complex problem, it is worth bringing relevant freelancers into the office to talk through the challenge together,” entrepreneur Peter Johnston writes. “If they are based abroad, this would be the time for a phone call or video conference.”

4. Be Transparent

One of the more challenging aspects of managing a remote team is helping them feel connected to the business. There’s no office or water cooler to gather around, which means employees and contractors can feel isolated.

One of the top ways to enhance the corporate culture and identity within the company is to be transparent with your leadership. Let your team know what’s happening and allow them to suffer through challenging times and celebrate big wins. Keeping everyone in the loop will strengthen the trust your team has in you as a leader.

Don’t Lose Control

If you’re going to work with digital nomads, freelancers, and remote employees, you have to be cognizant of how you’re managing them. You don’t want to micro-manage, but there’s danger in not keeping a close enough eye on what they’re doing. It’s imperative that you establish some structures and parameters so you don’t lose control.