This is a guest article by Brian Casel, founder of ZipMessage, a tool for consultants to exchange messages with clients using video, audio, screen or text, all asynchronously in an easy-to-use conversation thread.
Whether you work as a consultant or an independent manager in a digital agency, people are at the heart of what you do. Helping clients solve problems, expand their business, and navigate new territories is part of the services it provides.
This requires clear, consistent, and collaborative communication. (After all, they pay you a lot of money to get access to you.)
Unfortunately, because your customers value your experience and often want more face-to-face time, your business is likely to take a backseat. When you’re busy with back-to-back Zoom calls and catching up with Slack, it’s hard to grow your business or scale your services.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Today I’m going to talk about a very different approach to communicating with customers (which will save you both time!): asynchronous communication. I’ll explain the problem you’re addressing, why it’s an effective solution, and how to change your client’s workflow to get the most out of it.
The problem: too many direct calls (exhausting!)
At first glance, having a calendar full of meetings with clients seems like a good deal. More calls means a lot of business, and more business means more money in the bank. But the high volume of live calls every week also comes with some significant drawbacks. Here are the top three:
Your mental health plummets
Have you ever heard of meeting fatigue? Spending hours after hour in meetings and calls isn’t just exhausting; It’s exhausting.
Zoom fatigue can wreak havoc on your emotions and significantly affect your mood. Consequently:
- Your concentration decreases.
- Your critical thinking and problem-solving skills are affected.
- Their stress levels skyrocketed.
And these adverse effects can also ultimately affect your customer communication; When you feel tired and groggy, clarity can suffer.
- You may not have the patience to explore solutions and provide explanations correctly.
- You may overlook important facts and miss important details.
- Your memory may suffer.
This can be a huge source of frustration for you and your customers.
Your physical health is deteriorating
As you know, spending too much time in front of your laptop (without proper rest) is not healthy. But the problem is, how do you take the time to rest meaningfully with so many vocation commitments? Sitting in one position for too long, such as at your desk when discussing brand strategy with a client via Zoom, can lead to a variety of health issues:
- Muscle fatigue
- Joint pain
- Eye fatigue
- Weight gain
(To name a few)
Also, when your mental well-being suffers and your brain feels tired, it often appears in your appearance. If you’re hoping to bring a professional front to your clients and co-workers, the exhausted face of seeing them through the screen is less than ideal.
Your business goals suffer
In addition to the adverse health effects, too many calls can be detrimental to your business in the long run. It’s just not sustainable.
Consider what might happen if you drop the ball or start giving less. If your clients decide to go elsewhere, they bring not only their money, but also part of their professional reputation.
In addition, when you run out of hours in a day, it is impossible to focus on other areas of your business:
- Research projects
- Attend professional events
- Expanding your area of expertise
- Create an online course
All your big, bold business goals go unfulfilled when you spend your energy working on someone else’s project.
This brings us to an important question:
How can you provide consistent, high-quality, on-demand knowledge and advice to customers without neglecting your health and business?
Solution: Scaling Client Services with Asynchronous Communication
In short, asynchronous communication involves discussions and conversations that don’t happen in real time.
Sounds fancy, right?
Asynchronous communication has been around for a long time. Our ancestors used cave paintings to communicate with each other and attract the attention of anyone passing by. People responded in a similar artistic way, almost like old graffiti, only with more purpose.
Pigeons of the post, messenger legs, telegrams, and postal services followed, with the addition of more modern courier tools.
Currently, daily asynchronous communication includes:
- SMS, MMS
- Messaging platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams.
- Messaging apps: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Line, and Telegram
You’re almost certainly already using some sort of asynchronous messaging tool.
But which one is best for improving customer service?
Asynchronous messaging with video
The beauty of asynchronous messaging is that it eliminates the need for everyone to be present online at the same time.
You may be very familiar with trying to set up an online meeting that involves a lot of people spread across different time zones. It’s a nightmare.
Asynchronous video messaging provides the same benefits as face-to-face or virtual meetings; They just don’t live. And instead of just using text or voice messages, asynchronous video messaging offers a great opportunity to communicate with your customers.
You can still:
- Seeing and listening
- Share ideas effectively
- Ask detailed questions
- Discuss ideas
- Provide detailed information and explanations
Complete with all the voice inflection, movement, and real-time communication visual aids.
Your customers are also busy people. They can also benefit from the flexibility that asynchronous solutions provide. Instead of sitting in meetings all day, it allows them to focus on more pressing priorities (such as implementing their suggestions and making good use of their knowledge!).
At ZipMessage, we’ve created the perfect tool for this asynchronous communication approach.
ZipMessage: Asynchronous messaging tool for consultants and trainers
ZipMessage lets you provide customers with custom conversation threads where they can send and receive messages with you asynchronously.
And you have the option to use video (screen recording or camera), audio or text.
The beauty of ZipMessage is its simplicity. Sharing a ZipMessage thread is as easy as sending a link to a client; Those customers can record or write directly to that web page without installing special software.
It is easy to use and has a clean and professional design.
- It’s better than email: it’s a quiet dedicated space just for you and your subscribers. There was no sound.
- It’s better than chat apps like Voxer and Whatsapp: they offer you too much access without control over when (and for how long) customers can keep sending you messages.
- It is better than video recording tools like Loom, CloudApp and others: they are unique, one-way, easily lost, and forgotten messages.
ZipMessage is designed for back-and-forth conversations that are easy to save and refer to in the future.
- Video recording, microphone, and text messages for you and your customers.
- Screen sharing capabilities.
- Chain conversations are displayed on the page, eliminating the possibility of messages being lost in non-stop chat apps or cluttered inboxes.
- It is synchronized with email, allowing you to keep important communications in one place, no matter where they come from.
- Customers do not need to install special software.
- It is very easy to set up and use.
ZipMessage is easy to use, effective, efficient, fun and practical. With several options to suit your communication style and needs, what more could you ask for?
How to Change Client Communication to Asynchronous Method
Well, we have discussed the problem, solution and technology. Now, you may be wondering how to switch to a more asynchronous method of communication with your customers.
Well, whether you’re onboarding someone new or encouraging a long-term retainer to make the switch, these four tips can help you make it super easy:
Offer real-time previews and tutorials to customers
During a live consultation, send your first video message to your customers.
This sets the initial communication thread. When talking in real time, explain how to use ZipMessage. Then, ask them to submit a response.
Guiding customers through a new step-by-step process and doing a live demo will make them feel safe and comfortable using asynchronous tools. Give them information to keep them engaged.
Propose asynchronous options for part of the process
At the end of the live meeting, propose the use of asynchronous messages for feedback and follow-up outside of older consultation meetings.
This gives your clients a dedicated space to chat with you. Start a conversation and give your notes and comments from the call. Ask them to respond if necessary.
You don’t have to make all your meetings asynchronous; You can simply change part of your process to free up that time.
Show your work
Before responding to customer messages, write down key ideas and information to keep your messages timely, concise, organized, and relevant.
Record your screen as you write notes so your customers can see them. It illustrates how they can create their answers and gives them examples to use. In addition, the notes help show the client that they have previously thought about the problem and approached their consulting work with professionalism and dedication.
Scale customer demand with video recordings
When customers want notes or comments, videos can often clarify details more effectively than emails.
Also, it is human nature to pay more attention to the recorded message: the temptation to quickly flip through the words on the screen is too real for most people!
ZipMessage makes it easy to direct customers to a video support page. From there, they can easily record messages and send you requests.
Asynchronous Communication = Smarter Business
Asynchronous communication with video messages can be a game changer when scaling client services.
This gives you the power to:
- The Limelight
- Take back control of your day
- Give their precious time back to customers
- Communicate more effectively
- Offering new services
- Reach high-value customers