Connecting with clients in a hybrid working world
It may be well into 2022, but the working world remains changed for many firms. Throughout lockdowns, we worked from home and many transitioned to a hybrid model as the world opened up again. But so many have stayed that way – and clients, too. So how do you keep connected in this new world of hybrid? This blog considers some key elements.
What is hybrid working?
As opposed to fully remote, hybrid is a model that sees staff come into the office on a specified number of days per week. Some firms choose one, some four, but many have settled on two to three. The other days are spent working elsewhere, or from home.
Hybrid has become such a popular working model that a recent survey says 48% of people would look for another job if their employer wasn’t flexible.
Pros and cons
Hybrid working gives the best of both worlds. If you’re flexible, you can please those who want to come in five days a week, as well as please those who want to come in the bare minimum of, for example, two days. This can suit different personality types and working styles as some people find working at home more productive and vice versa.
It has also meant the adoption of cloud-based technology and paperless offices for many. This can have benefits for clients, who may also be working remotely or on a hybrid model, or those who prefer the convenience of being able to work completely online.
It’s also great for your talent pool. For example, if you live in a small town and need a tax specialist, someone might be willing to travel to the office from further afield for the two to three days, but not for the full five.
The downside is that it requires some time, organisation – such as creating a flexible working policy and more – and investment in the right tech and software to work well.
Keeping connected with clients
Hybrid working shouldn’t interfere with your ability to keep connected with clients in your usual way. But technology does afford further opportunities to keep in touch – as does not being shackled to a desk. Here are a few ideas:
- Use your non-office days to spend time with a client on-site. Not being in the office doesn’t need to mean at home (unless your policy states so). Why not use this opportunity, workload allowing, to spend time with key clients?
- Schedule a remote catch up. The adoption of technology due to the pandemic means many are now used to software such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other video conferencing software, making it easier to catch up without leaving your house.
- With some clients still working remotely or hybrid too you can share reward, thank you, welcome and celebration gifts via a platform such as Huggg.
- This one is arguably the most important, but have a plan underpinning everything. Use a CRM if necessary. It might even be a good idea to plan who will be in the office when (if you are not being completely flexible) so clients coming to visit aren’t left without their usual member of staff. Make sure everything is co-ordinated.
Use the digital touchpoints you have available to you to keep in touch with your clients. Whether that’s updates through your cloud accounting package, sharing an interesting article on your firm’s social media, or inviting them to a digital event.
Hybrid working isn’t going anywhere fast and it can mean more flexibility both from a face-to-face front and taking advantage of the rapid adoption of technology that happened throughout the pandemic.