Convenient, simple and easy. That’s the type of service every single client wants from their accountant 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 set up 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 over different geographic regions and that we have to work and collaborate with our clients remotely instead of in person.
Many say you simply can’t have the same type of relationships with your clients if you’re not physically sitting face-to-face with them.
Not true, I say.
As someone who runs a 100-percent cloud-based accounting firm, I’ve heard these criticisms firsthand. I think 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 you use so you need to make sure you have the right tools in place. Otherwise people can get frustrated pretty easily.
Here is a list of three essential tools that pretty much any business should not do without if they’re collaborating with clients remotely.
Join.me is a lifesaver in my line of work and for any business that needs close collaboration with clients through the use of screen sharing and web conferencing.
I’ve tried all the web conferencing tools out there. GoToMeeting, Cisco WebEx and a bunch of others. The problem invariably is with 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 any of the interfaces user friendly.
Five to 10 minutes of fiddling around can either lead to frustration or, even worse, a lost deal.
Enter Join.me. This is by far the simplest, easiest, fastest-time-to-set-up screensharing 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 at 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. When I want a screensharing option more robust than Skype, I use Skype for video calling in conjunction with Join.me for screensharing.
The best part is that join.me is free. The Pro account (which I recommend) gives you a slew of 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. Stop!
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 to 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 type of documents, getting a signature has sometimes become a bit of a pain.
Documents typically needed to be sent out in the mail to obtain a signature or the client would have to visit your office. RightSignature helps eliminate having a physical signature by giving you legally binding electronic signatures (e-signatures).
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.
Upload the document you want 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.
If you’re working with clients remotely, you need to use the tools available to make sure 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 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 – so give them what they want.