Three Essential Tools for Collaborating with Clients Remotely
Convenient, simple and easy. That’s what every single client wants from a service provider in this day and age.
So why not give them exactly what they want?
Back in the day, the only way to do business was to setup in person meetings where your client would visit your office or you would visit theirs. You sit in traffic, look for parking, drive from one end of the city to the other and literally rush around like a maniac from meeting, to meeting, to meeting. And if you’re doing that, your clients would be doing the exact same thing.
The good news is that the internet is not only changing how we do business, but who we do business with and where. Traditionally your client base would be within a 20-kilometre radius of your office. Now, thanks to a lot of simple, easy to use technology, we’re finding that our clients are now spread out over different geographic regions and that we now have to work and collaborate with our clients remotely, instead of in person.
The criticisms that come with this is that many say that you simply can’t the same type of relationships with your clients if you’re not actually physically sitting face-to-face with them.
Not true, I say.
As someone who runs a 100% cloud-based accounting firm, I’ve heard these criticisms first hand. My take, however, is that I actually think that the relationship with your clients can be made even stronger because a lot of the inconvenience surrounding in-person meetings is eliminated and from that comes appreciated time savings on the client’s end.
When working with clients remotely, the strength of the relationship is entirely dependent on the technology being used, so you need to make sure you have the right tools in place, otherwise people can get pretty frustrated, pretty easily.
Here is a list of 3 essential tools that pretty much any business should not do without if they’re collaborating with clients remotely.
Join.me is pretty much a lifesaver for my line of work and pretty much any business that needs close collaboration with their clients through use of screen sharing and web conferencing.
I’ve tried all the web conferencing tools out there. Gotomeeting, Webex and a bunch of the others. The problem invariably leads to initial connection issues. Nine times out of ten, the person joining the meeting can’t get something to work properly right out of the gate, there are audio or video issues and I wouldn’t quite call the interface user friendly. Five to ten minutes of fiddling around can either lead to frustration from existing clients or even worse, a lost deal.
Enter Join.me. This is by far the simplest, easiest, fastest to setup screen sharing known to man. At times you may be on the phone with your client and very quickly might need to show your screen. Ask your client to go to the join.me webpage, give them the access code which they enter directly on the home page, and within seconds, you’re sharing your screen. Nothing to install and their end, no complicated interfaces, nothing to fiddle with. Easy peasy.
Apart from screen sharing, join.me allows you use their telephone conference lines as well as internet calling. Personally, when I want a screen sharing option more robust than Skype’s, I use Skype for video calling in conjunction with Join.me for screen sharing.
The best part is that join.me is free. But if you want to spring for it and get their pro account (which I recommend), you will get a slew of other features, such as a branded personal screen sharing link, branded background, recording abilities, presenter swaps, meeting schedulers and much more.
Check out join.me for screen sharing, you won’t look back.
Everyone knows about Gmail, Google Calendar and a host of other Google services, but not everyone is fully leveraging the power of Google Apps to help collaborate with their clients. In terms of dealing with clients remotely, Google Docs (similar to Microsoft Word), Google Sheets (similar to Microsoft Excel) and Google Slides (similar to Microsoft Powerpoint) are apps that are invaluable for collaborating with clients remotely.
I know there are still a lot of people that are editing things in Microsoft Office documents and emailing it back and forth to their clients and then things just turn out to be a jumbled up mess.
Google Apps allows you to collaborate and edit documents in real-time with whoever you’re sharing the document with. That means that you and your client never have to email things back and forth and never have to worry about not using the most up to date document. If you are collaborating with clients and sharing documents that you are both editing, then you need to be using Google Apps.
RightSignature applies heavily to my line of work although it may be less important for others. In almost every line of work however, you need to have things signed off by your client. Whether it’s contracts, forms or any other types documents, getting a signature has sometimes become a bit of a pain as documents typically needed to be sent out in the mail to obtain an actual signature or the client would have to visit your office. RightSignature helps eliminate having a physical signature by giving you fully legally binding e-signature capabilities.
There are a lot of different options in the e-signature department, but I personally like RightSignature the best and see it as the gold standard.
Simply upload the document you want to have signed to RightSignature, enter the client’s email address and then place boxes with your cursor over the areas you either need them to sign, print their name and/or date. Once the document is sent, they simply click the link in their inbox and can sign virtually with their mouse. Once signed, a timestamp of the date, time and IP address is recorded. You are not only notified when the client signs the document, but also when they initially view it.
Other great features include setting up signature templates for frequently used documents, custom branding creation of online forms that you can integrate directly into your website and much more. RightSignature is a great option for getting things signed quickly and efficiently.
AT THE END OF THE DAY…
If you’re working with clients remotely, you need to use the tools available to help make sure that you are not only properly servicing the client, but also maintaining that personal touch as much as possible. The only way to do this is with the appropriate technology.
Look into the above apps in addition to identifying areas of your business where the collaboration with your clients can be improved so that you can ensure your clients remain happy. Remember, today’s clients want convenient, simple and easy… give them what they want.
Xen Accounting is a fully virtual, online Canadian Chartered Accountant firm. Designed for modern day business owners who are always connected and always on the move, Xen Accounting uses cutting edge cloud and mobile accounting technology in order to blend innovative software experiences with personal, professional accounting services. Contact Xen at 1-855-692-4062 or [email protected]