Many people are turning to remote working environments to comply with social distancing. Working remotely and switching to e-commerce channels allows companies to stay in business during these difficult times. Still, it can be a challenging adjustment to many who are used to an office environment and face time with customers and coworkers. One of the biggest challenges is addressing client needs and providing customers with the same level of attention and care while working remotely. This includes connecting through phone calls, emails, and video conferences. Staying organized and maintaining productivity makes it easier to address client needs while working from home.
Communicating Remotely with Clients
Maintaining and nurturing clients while working remotely is possible through tools like Zoom, Skype, and Slack. Communication is imperative when working from home to stay on top of client needs. Your clients should know when and where they can contact you. Scheduling and organizing become even more critical as working from home requires extra time management and organization to stay on top of client needs, whether answering questions or completing orders and service requests.
Tips for Staying Organized and Maintaining Productivity
Go to “Work” from Home
While you may have dreamed, during your busy in-office days, of waking up late, working in your bed, and wearing your pajamas all day long, many people find it’s easier to stay productive with structure. Set a time to start working and designate a spot to work at, whether you have the luxury of an at-home office or are working at your dinner table. It’s important to look presentable for video meetings and conferences, and getting dressed in the morning can help you get into “work mode.” If you’re talking with clients on the phone or using a video call, it’s helpful to have a stable internet connection, a quiet environment, and good audio quality. Try using headphones during meetings, and if your home environment is noisy, put yourself on mute until you need to talk to avoid background noise (especially in group calls). This will send a message of reliability to your clients, and they will feel reassured that you are doing your best for them.
Set a Schedule
Now is an essential time to check-in frequently with your clients to keep up with their needs and provide updates on your end. As businesses shift to e-commerce, some companies are seeing drops in sales, while others are spiking (depending on the industry). Schedule regular meetings with important clients to nurture the relationship during these difficult times and discuss any changes. Back-to-back meetings, especially video calls, tend to be draining, coining the new term “Zoom Fatigue.” Space meetings out throughout the day, giving yourself breaks in between to regroup.
Befriend the Calendar
When working from home for an extended period of time, especially during social distancing when we can’t adhere to our normal schedules, the time and day seem to blur. It’s easy to read an email, get distracted, and forget to place an order or check on an order’s status. Have a calendar, whether it’s a physical paper one or a digital calendar, and note when your meetings and deadlines are—setting alarms on your phone or computer if you need to. Note when you need to respond to different client requests, when you should check on an order, and when to follow up. Many people are feeling overwhelmed personally with the added anxiety and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic and may be more forgetful. Give yourself extra help with written reminders of daily to-dos. If you need extra motivation, create lists that you can check off as you’ve completed each task for an added sense of accomplishment.
Working from home can be lonely; video calls are a great way to feel connected outside of email and chats. It’s important to check-in with your clients as well as your team members to make sure everyone is on the same page, and no tasks slip under the radar. Video calls help to give you the face-to-face connections that you’d typically have in the office. Checking-in with your team is also important to see if any coworkers need extra support so that any client issues are resolved quickly, questions are answered, and orders are fulfilled and delivered on time.
When working from home, keeping on top of your work is critical. It’s a big adjustment for those used to working side by side with their coworkers in the office. It’s important to maintain your client relationships with frequent communication and address their needs to stay on top of orders, deadlines, and service requests. Regular check-ins during these difficult times with clients and coworkers are great for seeing if anyone needs extra help, so that client needs do not fall behind. You can give yourself a little extra help to reduce stress and keep organized by spacing out meetings, creating calendars, setting alarms for calls and deadlines, and writing daily checklists for your to-do list.