4 Tips for Strengthening Client Relationships with Video Conferencing
At Boomer Consulting, we’re on a mission. Our consultants have been encouraging CPA firms to incorporate video conferencing into their communication strategy internally and with clients for quite a while, and we practice what we preach. Since we’re a fully remote company, we use video conferencing every day to connect with accounting firm leaders, solution providers and each other. Our team is used to it, but we know it takes some practice to really get comfortable in front of the camera.
There are several reasons people might be hesitant to jump on a video call. Technology can be tricky, or people might worry they’ll look silly. But video conferencing has an advantage over phone calls and even face-to-face meetings. Today I’m sharing some advice to help you create a personal touch on video calls that just might encourage you (and your clients) to use them more often.
Advantages of video conferencing
By now, you’re probably aware of the benefits of video conferencing over a phone call. With video conferencing, you can pick up on the nonverbal cues that make up as much as 70% of communication, according to some studies. But have you thought about how video is superior even to face-to-face meetings? Consider the following benefits:
Recording a video meeting is easy. You can refer back to the video for questions or share it with others who may have missed the meeting.
It’s easier to show reports, screenshots and software demonstrations during a web meeting than in person on a shared laptop or blurry projector.
You can fit many more meetings in a day when you eliminate the travel time required by in-person meetings.
So how do you get your clients to pull the trigger and connect via video?
How to encourage video conferencing adoption
Getting your client to use video conferencing can be a challenge if they’re new to the technology. Here are some tips to help you help them.
Offer it as an option
When we schedule meetings, we use a scheduling solution that helps us avoid the back-and-forth of checking calendars, scheduling and rescheduling appointments. The solution we use integrates with Zoom, so when we send a client a link to schedule an appointment, they have the option of choosing a phone call or a Zoom meeting. We let them know that either will work, but our preference is video. I’ll admit, they choose a Zoom meeting only about 20% of the time. But remember, we’re aiming for progress, not perfection. Eventually, we’ll see that number get larger.
Bring your A-game
Typically, the biggest challenge to using video conferencing is getting over the initial discomfort people feel. It’s your job to help your clients overcome that discomfort.
Make sure the background visible behind you is professional
Connect a couple minutes early to ensure your technology is working and your internet connection is strong
Dress to impress just as you would for an in-person meeting
Start with some small talk. Meeting someone for the first time on video can be awkward, so start with some small talk to develop rapport.
Avoid multitasking. Even typing notes about the conversation can create a distracting notice and imply that you are not fully engaged or paying attention.
I’ve found that the longer I’ve been working with a client, the more comfortable they are with hopping on a conference call. If you’re just getting started with video conferencing yourself, start with your long-term clients and those with whom you already have a strong connection.
Give the gift of video
It seems as though every computer monitor, or laptop comes with a built-in webcam today, but many people decline video conferencing invites because they don’t have the technology. So consider giving it to them.
You can purchase a basic webcam for under $25. It’s a small investment that can pay dividends in the long run as you build a stronger relationship with your client over video.
As with any new technology, the more you use video conferencing, the more comfortable it will be, and you’ll quickly realize just how much value video can bring when you need to have tough conversations or want to give clients an extra touch throughout the year.
The next time you need to schedule a meeting, offer to make it a video meeting. The tips above won’t guarantee that every client will be willing and able to hop on a video call at a moment’s notice, but they will increase the likelihood that your video conferencing investments will provide value to your client relationships.
As a Solutions Advisor for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Megan works to provide the highest level of client service to existing and new clients through building and maintaining relationships. Her primary focus is on Vendor/Sponsor relationships and she is the Boomer Technology Circle, the Boomer Advisor Circle, and the Boomer Lean Circle sponsor program lead. Megan is passionate about helping clients excel through Boomer Consulting Services.