Virtual Etiquette: Communicating with your client

Virtual Etiquette: Communicating with your client

5 best practices for communicating with your clients virtually.

As we approach the anniversary of this pandemic, the reality of doing business virtually is far from over. In fact, some of these innovations are likely to never fully go away. Businesses have found useful and efficient virtual platforms that add to the success of their companies–promoting more interaction and easier communication with their clients and internal operations.

Similar to when email came on scene (anyone still use AOL?), a virtual etiquette has been established among professionals as companies are forced to go virtual. This article will include some tips and tricks we’ve learned as a company over the past year as well as some industry standards.

Here are five ways to increase your virtual etiquette when communicating with your clients:

 

Test drive EVERYTHING first

If there is one thing we can all agree upon, it’s that technology never does what we want when we need it to. In order to give your clients a smooth and glitch free virtual experience, make sure you try out the system you’ll be using beforehand. That way, if there are any glitches or technological mishaps, you’ll be ready. For example:

 

  • Try Zoom practice runs with your team before an event.
  • Make sure to schedule a test run with any speakers you plan on having  in a virtual conference or meeting so they know what they need to do. This way you can troubleshoot any problems that may occur before the event.
  • Lastly, testing out an application before introducing it to a client allows you to see how user friendly its interface is. If it’s something you find confusing or unorganized, odds are they will too.

Provide clients with clear instructions

This goes hand-in-hand with the first tip, but still deserves its own spot. When setting up a meeting, event or network with your clients, make sure they know what they need to do. Provide them with details on any set up tools they might need (headphones, computer speakers), what platform you will be using, and how they will get on. Is there a dial-in number they could use if they get caught up or their computer stops working? How long will the meeting last? Is there a place where they can watch the event if they missed it? These are some questions to consider. 

If you want to know how you can be better prepared as a remote worker, check out our other article on Top 5 Tips for Working from Home.

Record virtual events

Bringing it back to technology not always working, your client may have problems on their side of the screen too. Mic issues, video quality, and wifi are all reasons why they might miss important information being discussed. Recording relevant events like training, conferences or specific meetings will give your clients a place to go back to later. It also provides a unique opportunity for those who couldn’t attend to watch it at a later time. An added benefit to virtual events.

Create your own virtual etiquette

It’s easier when everyone is on the same page. Before starting your event, establish any etiquettes you want to be utilized. Encourage your clients to use functions like the chat box to communicate with the host or show their agreement/disagreement with what is being said. This eliminates any interference with the speaker but still allows them to express their thoughts. 

Also, if an event has multiple speakers to get through, encourage the use of emojis like the clapping hands to keep audio interference down while still generating a reaction. All in all, it comes down to experimenting beforehand to see what you like and what works best for your company. Coming up with clear rules of engagement will make for a smoother virtual experience for the both of you.

Setting up chat channels

Chat channels like Slack or Microsoft Teams offer your clients a place to communicate with you easily and effectively without having to hop on zoom or pick up the phone. It can help them and you get quick answers to any questions that may come up as well as streamline any project communication between the two.

Check out our other article Surviving the Pandemic – What Technology Our Team Has Been Utitlizing for more helpful applications!

Virtual etiquette is still evolving as we continue to navigate this pandemic, but these tips should help point you in the right direction for better client communication. With the coronavirus continuing to be a daily influencer for businesses, even as vaccines roll out, it doesnt have to inhibit your companies ability to effectively communicate with your clients.
Help Your Networks With Housing and Utility Challenges

Help Your Networks With Housing and Utility Challenges

If you work in the field of economic development, and more specifically if you have an economic interest in the real estate industry, then you know the value of stability in the marketplace. Significant events with adverse economic impacts, such as COVID-19 and a derecho, can have a cascading effect on jobs, families, and the economy generally. That is why it has been important for government, non-profit organizations, and businesses to support activities that collectively create a safety net – to provide some measure of economic stability. It’s one of the reasons the State of Iowa, local governments and community organizations created their own economic recovery grant programs. Other nationwide support systems, such as unemployment benefits, the Paycheck Protection Program and various forms of natural disaster assistance, have also been important.

To be sure, these are imperfect systems, and one can debate the effectiveness of various policy alternatives or the extent to which we can borrow from the future to pay for them. But there is no question that they have provided an important lifeline to many during these challenging times. While some programs have ended or are winding down, there are some that will continue for a few months longer. Two of them are designed to help people stay in their homes and businesses by assisting with rent and utility expenses.

Iowa COVID-19 Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention (EFP) Program

The Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) reported last week that rental assistance has been provided to just over 2000 applicants equaling approximately $4.8 million. On the foreclosure side, the EFP Program has awarded nearly $135,000 to 61 applicants. Approximately $15 million in funds remain in the program, which will remain open until funds are exhausted or until December, 2020, whichever comes first.

IFA reports that the program has seen a significant increase in the number of applications being submitted since August 1. On Tuesday, August 4, it was announced that Iowans who have been receiving $600 a week in federal unemployment stimulus benefits may now apply for the rent and mortgage assistance. For more information, visit https://www.iowafinance.com/covid-19-iowa-eviction-and-foreclosure-prevention-program/.

Iowa Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) recently announced that more Iowa small business owners and nonprofits are now eligible to receive financial assistance with electric and natural gas utility bills. Eligibility criteria for the Iowa Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program has been expanded to include utility assistance for eligible small businesses and nonprofits for electric or natural gas service provided between March 17, 2020 and October 15, 2020.

To be eligible, small businesses and nonprofits must have experienced a COVID-19 loss of income. Financial assistance of up to $7,500 is available. Payment’s would be made directly to an applicant’s utility service provider. The program will accept applications through October 31, 2020 or until all funds have been exhausted. The state allocated approximately $14.5 million of federal CARES Act funds for the program when launched in early July.

For more information, visit https://www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/Business/energy-recovery or call 515.348.8914 (toll free: 855.300.2342).

The Enterprise Iowa team encourages our clients and affiliated organizations to share this information with everyone in their various networks. Let’s do what we can to ensure that the individuals and businesses in need of this assistance get connected with these resources. It is the type of help that can increase economic stability for the benefit of all.