One of the biggest trends in today’s office landscape is flexible work options. This allows employees to maintain a schedule that meets their needs and to perform their job functions remotely, including working from home. One in five American professionals work from home, while 4.2 million Britons station themselves in their fortresses of solitude to get work done.
See Also: How to Stay in Contact with Your Clients
Working from home comes with a wide variety of rewards and benefits. However, it can be difficult to complete some of the assignments and responsibilities that are attached to your job title. Some of these tasks consist of having regular contact with clients, which would have to be done in your home.
Many work-from-home professionals can be apprehensive about speaking with customers due to various factors, like a loud household filled with children, a cluttered home or not wanting to communicate with a client that may be halfway around the world. Unfortunately, communication is necessary to keep clients happy.
If you’re unsure about how to communicate with clients when you’re working from home, then here are five of the best communication tools to speak with them when you’re doing your job in your living quarters.
1. Video Messaging Platforms
The Internet has developed many kinds of platforms to speak with others by video. This has been an exceptional development in the world of technology as it has allowed people to communicate in various ways. The services available today permit you to talk to one another by computer, smartphone, tablet, and laptop. Here are some of the best tools to communicate by video:
Here are a few tips to handling a video conversation with proper etiquette:
- Ensure you have a neutral background (don’t show the stove or kids playing in the background).
- Always look straight into the camera and not at the computer screen.
- Dress professionally, at least the top half of your body.
- Maintain a straight posture and do not distract yourself elsewhere.
2. Project Management Systems (PMS)
If you don’t wish to either see the person or speak with them verbally, then you could always utilize a project management system (PMS). If you’re a writer, publisher, editor or project manager, then it’s quite possible that you already relay vital pieces of information through this mode of communication. They also have messenger services, much like the old MSN Messenger we all used back in the day. Here are some of the best PMS platforms:
Or you can just utilize a century-old device to talk to somebody: the telephone. Although emailing has become quite a convenient and efficient tool to regularly communicate with others, it can sometimes be fatiguing and a nuisance. Let’s face it: sometimes it can be a lot easier to talk over the phone than constantly emailing back and forth without getting anywhere. Also, the telephone is a lot more personable than a PMS or email.
Email continues to be the most used communications tool for a long time. It allows us to email at any hour of the day, ignore an email and respond to it at another time, and read messages more thoroughly. However, it is still important to abide by a few rules when emailing important clients:
- Be as detailed as you can; try to outline as much information as possible and delegate.
- Try not to be curt, and instead attempt to incorporate more positive words to avoid any miscommunication.
- Respond to a client’s email within a few minutes. When it’s important, nobody likes to be kept waiting.
5. In Person
If your home has an actual office, then you can always invite a client over to go through the data, documents, projects and other elements of the business arrangement. This only works when the kids are out of the house, you actually have a real home office, and the work area is organized and clean. On the other hand, if the kids are home, your home office is a desk in the corner, and your desk is cluttered, then just speak with clients over the phone or by email.
Communicating with clients has transformed into an art form these days. The talent of speaking with your mouth has diminished in recent years, thanks to social media and smartphones. Knowing how to handle a client will help you rise to the top of your business. Remember, clients have different needs so if you can adapt to at least four of the aforementioned methods, then you’ll be well liked by future customers.