Being apart from our clients has brought us closer together.
More people than ever are working from home these days. Sure, for a few days it was fun to laugh about your commute from bed to couch and lounge around in your pajamas. But in month #6 of remote working, it’s hard not to feel the distance.
Still, we’ve started to notice ways that being apart from our clients has actually strengthened our relationships.
Getting more face-to-face contact
Given the nearly unanimous acceptance of Zoom, we’ve found ourselves having more face time with our clients these days.
We’re using video chat for nearly every client meeting, whether it’s a quick check-in or something more substantial like a design presentation. Previously, most of these meetings would take place over the phone – a setup that made it harder to read reactions and stay on the same page. This increase in face-to-face contact has resulted in more productive, positive meetings.
Even once we’re back into our office space, video chat will remain an active component of our process.
“Meeting” more people
Throughout the course of our projects, there’s a dedicated group we interact with on a regular basis. But there are also people on the nonprofit’s side who may only join a call or two given their subject matter expertise.
We typically meet these people for the first time over the phone, which leads to a dialogue that’s pretty brief and matter-of-fact. But over video, we’re able to develop genuine rapport and gain further insight into their role, helping to crystallize our understanding of the organization at large.
Building deeper relationships
In-person meetings are great for building connections. The atmosphere has fewer distractions, the meeting involves more free-flowing conversation and sometimes you’ll even share a meal.
But a video chat is like an invitation into someone’s home, providing a valuable (and often hilarious) window into their lives.
Here are some stand-out video chat moments from the past few months:
– We found out that one of our clients has a son who loves cats and promptly introduced him to Sunny, our founder Josh’s cat.
– We’ve had countless conversations about the artwork lining our clients’ walls, learning about their tastes in decor. This Edward Ruscha piece might be our favorite.
– We watched as one of our client’s daughters wiggled her loose tooth and shared some of our techniques for how she could finish the job.
– We’ve followed several clients’ journeys from city apartments to quieter locations. And for those who haven’t been able to escape, Zoom’s virtual backgrounds have served as a charming replacement.
– Last, but not least, we have a client who wears a different onesie every day. Without the joys of video chat, we wouldn’t be able to tell if he’s dressed as a bee, a tiger or whatever else he was feeling that day.
It’s impossible to say how long we’ll be working remotely, but we’re pleased that the distance has brought some unexpected benefits and look forward to discovering more of them.