It could be argued that staying in contact with clients is the most important factor in maintaining a business. The American Marketing Association has said that customers can handle up to 200 contacts a year. So how and how often do you commit to contacting current clients? Unsurprisingly, in today’s tech-infested business model, sometimes it can get complicated when deciding whether to contact clients by phone, email, video conferencing, or in-person?
The Benefits of Face-to-Face
Are you trying to establish a relationship? Are you trying to get a client to make a decision right now? Are you trying to gather sensitive information? Because clients tend to prefer working with businesses that share their values and experiences, and because the simplest way to communicate shared values is through body language and back-and-forth conversation, it is always better to schedule an in-person meeting. The cost of scheduling face-to-face meetings for every meetings is, of course, uneconomical, so it is best to determine which meetings outweigh others and, therefore, should be scheduled in-person.
When to Call Instead
Is this client not in the same city as you? Is the cost of the face-to-face meeting too costly for the given account? Think of when your goal is to make the same personal connection of a face-to-face conversation, but the given circumstances do not allow for a face-to-face meeting. Those are the conversations that can be taken care of with a phone call. The other main benefit of phone calls is the reduced expense as opposed to a (sometimes costly) face-to-face meeting.
What About Video Conferencing?
As mentioned, the increase in business-related technology conveniences has made it easier for businesses to stay in contact with clients regardless of where they’re located. For instance, when a face-to-face meeting is simply not an option, but the conversation topic is intimate enough to need a personal connection, video conferencing may be a perfect substitute.
Go Ahead and Email
Emails provide no visual or oral communication; instead, there are only words on a page that can be interpreted in a number of ways. Despite the apparent disadvantages of email, there are several advantages to the usage of email for client communication. Giving clients the ability to review the information and avoid scheduling conflicts can be useful when your message is complex or when you want to remind clients that you’re still thinking of them.
There are absolutely exceptions to this rule; some clients just generally prefer email as opposed to face-to-face meetings or phone calls, and it is up to you to get to know your clients and their preferences. Regardless of client’s desires, keep in mind the purpose of your message, the complexity, and the intimacy in order to gauge what’s most appropriate. If you’re ever in doubt, pick up the phone and dial the digits.