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Online or in-person? How do you connect with clients?

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By Jody Padar
November 26, 2012

A meeting with your client isn’t what it used to be—at least in terms of how you meet. Back in the day, it was mostly onsite or maybe over the phone from time to time. With so many convenient technologies available today, we have far more options to connect with our clients; a choice for everyone. This means that we can stay in constant contact with clients without putting in a great deal of time. And we all know that time is a premium. So, what’s your option?

My dad still prefers the in-person client touch. I will most often opt for a video meeting using the ever-popular Skype (which my dad refers to as having “TV meetings,” by the way). It’s all about how you were “raised” in regard to building client relationships. I’ve grown up with exciting technologies, so I use them. My dad built his business on face-to-face time. The fact is that no one way is better than the other as long as you are meeting the clients’ needs.

I’ll be honest, I’ve gotten so used to meeting online, that I have forgotten when I’ve set up an in-office visit. Just the other day I had an appointment on my calendar and I couldn’t remember how we planned to meet. I searched for a GotoMeeting invite, and then suddenly, the client walked through the door. I had forgotten that he was traveling and said he would stop by in-person. My M.O. is online. It comes naturally to me.

Is this good or bad? Neither. It’s just different. While I believe that Skype is the way to go, it can drive my dad a bit nuts. He likes the client to come into the office, and to shake their hand. It’s how he was “raised.” The bottom line is that whether you communicate via video, phone, email, or in person…you ARE communicating. It’s that frequency of touches with clients, not so much how you connect with them.

I love that new technologies are always coming out. It offers us options…and the client, too! Don’t forget that many of our clients would rather meet conveniently online. Pick your option…or maybe two, and just keep building your client relationships.

Jody L. Padar, CPA, MST, is a Certified Public Accountant experienced with Complex Federal & State Income Tax Compliance for Business & Individuals. Jody is an adjunct professor at Oakton Community College, where she teaches Taxation and QuickBooks Courses. She is part of Intuit Trainer Writer Network and speaks nationally on various Technologies and Taxation. She can be reached at www.newvisioncpagroup.com.

 

1 Comments

I'm all for different kinds of communication, and the frequency is clearly important, however a face-to-face meeting from time-to-time is absolutely crucial. Displacing yourself to meet in person with a client speaks volumes as to your level of caring, especially if impromptu. Now again, the other forms of online communication are great and are both efficient and effective, and we/I use them all the time. I feel it just needs to be complemented with in person visits/meetings. Bottom line: what does the client prefer? But even then, a face-to-face cannot hurt but in fact strengthen a relationship.

Posted by: jmiller@flmontreal.com | November 27, 2012 7:51 AM

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