Let’s face it. Today’s headlines are a little scary. COVID-19 and the global pandemic has caused significant change across every citizens life. Whether people face the hard task of being self-quarantined at home to the average high school athlete’s spring sports season being entirely canceled, people have to deal with the “new normal” while health and government officials get us prepared to head back to normalcy.
That doesn’t mean that the world of business stops. And the lifeblood of every business, effective meetings, needs to continue. Whether that’s internal meetings to understand changes to strategic business plans, client meetings to understand banking and financial needs, to consumer needs to help guide them through their purchase needs safely without face to face contact.
TimeTrade helps businesses effectively book meetings every day across the spectrum of connections from consumers, to clients and colleagues and we’re here to offer some suggestions on how you and your organization can effectively move to virtual meetings.
Adopt a virtual policy.Customers and clients need to be assured that everything is working properly and that’s hard to do if your employees are pulling things together last minute based on whatever they individually find for solutions. Chances are your employees have thought about ways to connect with their key customers and clients. Gather information and quickly inform them of your organizations preferred method of communication, process and business rules. Policy highlights should include:
- A uniform way to schedule meetings and standardize virtual connection technologies.
- Be personally “camera-ready” for customer and client meetings.
- Professional presentation and appearance.
- Quiet space for meetings with appropriate background
- Avoid multi-tasking during virtual meetings
- Follow-up with internal notes and external thank yous
Test your solution.Identify the core capabilities that are needed to facilitate the connection between your customers and your staff and make sure those capabilities work at scale. Equally important, follow the 80/20 rule for needed features. No solution will cover 100% of all potential variables, but don’t wait for the perfect solution. Identify what you need and make it work. Virtual meeting technologies should include:
- One-click client/customer meeting scheduling capability at their convenience. Avoid the trap of attempting to agree on a date and time through multiple emails and calls at all costs.
- Combination of virtual meeting technology (e.g. Zoom) with scheduling technology (e.g. TimeTrade) to avoid needless multiple communication threads.
- Easy to use virtual meeting technology that does not require add-ins or installations and can be launched with a single click
- Have a single personal meeting room with “waiting room” functionality to allow staff to bring in customers and clients as needed.
- Effectively manage time-zone differences in meetings and virtual technology.
- Send reminders for meetings in advance to reduce no-shows and minimize cancellations.
Prepare for The Virtual Difference.Virtual meetings are more difficult than face to face since they lack the immediate human connection we all crave. Go into each virtual meeting prepared for the communication which includes:
- Send needed materials in advance via email including a brief agenda. This helps people remain on topic and reinforces the confidence in your staff.
- Leave no doubt on follow-up. Ensure that the client fully understands what you’re going to do next, what is expected of him/her and send a message with the details.
- Make sure that the customer understands how to connect with you or schedule an appointment for follow-up if there are any questions.
- Be human. Include an ice-breaker. Use some humor. It’s a difficult situation for many and people may need to be put at ease.
- Use and share displays, graphics, pictures, etc. People are inherently visual and virtual meetings need some opportunities to engage with your customers beyond the video of the speakers. Whether it’s a simple PowerPoint, financial charts, or images of product, be prepared to share them with customers and clients to keep them engaged.
Be Engaging.Virtual meetings are the opportunity to highlight your staff. There’s no traffic for the customer to deal with, no parking issues, no loud lobbies and no office distractions. It’s just your staff member and the customer. Make the interaction count. As employers, we all say that our employees are our most important asset. Give them the right tools to make that obvious to your customers and clients.
Get started giving your customers a high-touch experience at a time of social distancing. TimeTrade directly integrates with all major web conferencing providers, making it easy to connect with your customers and prospects. Start your free 30-day Business Edition trial today!