Working from home. It’s fast becoming the “new normal” for a large number of businesses, and it may remain that way for a while.
Fortunately, virtual clients and their have a lot of great technology to keep in touch and collaborate on projects. Work can still progress. Meetings can still occur in a virtual environment.
What many may not consider is that remote/virtual work has been going on for years now. Companies employ remote workforces all over the globe; others outsource lots of IT work to foreign firms; still, others have never had a brick and mortar office at all.
For a business and its clients who are moving into remote work for the first time, however, there are some big challenges:
- There is the technology to put into place
- There is the anxiety that first-time remote clients and their team will naturally have. Can they use the technology? Can they really collaborate without the physical presence of their team members? Can they remove the distractions of working from home?
- Keeping track of everyone’s progress will probably mean a new project management software tool that everyone will have to train on.
- There will be feelings of isolation on the part of some team members
Just How Can Onboarding be Successful in a Virtual Environment?
Many organizations do this successfully. Over the years they have developed and fine-tuned the process of onboarding so that they can hit the ground running once the initial process is complete.
Other services such as Write Scout and Studyker can also attest to the same success. And consider larger enterprises such as Airbnb and Uber. Their onboarding of clients and new hires, respectively, are basically virtual as well.
Here are some key steps to take to make your virtual onboarding a success as well:
1. Tools and Technology at the Ready
Remote clients and their employees must have their tools. Ensure all of the technology that you are using should have been uploaded into their devices. And delivering these ahead of time will give them the chance to go through the technology and begin the learning process of its use.
2. Welcome Them in Style
Send a welcome package off to the new hire – this might include such things as mugs, T-shirts, hats, etc. with the company logo, welcome cards signed by each team member, etc.
And on that day, there should be a virtual meeting during which the introduction takes place. Make the client feel welcome and comfortable into the virtual environent.
Provide a calendar of any virtual events that will be taking place in the coming days so the client can have a live experience of your product.
3. Have a Training and Coaching Plan Mapped Out
All training and coaching and onboarding sessions should be planned in advance of the first day, and a calendar provided for each stage of this. And some of that training and coaching should be done by the designated client success team member. The relationships must be nurtured, and they need to feel like a part of the team as quickly as possible.
4. Build a Long Term Virtual Relationship
Schedule one-on-one video conferencing at least once a week or as required depending on the event. Ensure the trust between the two parties is strong enough to have an open ended discussions and queries. Try to evalutae the situations and have a contingency plans in place if anythhing was to go wrong.
5. Provide a Customer Support Buddy
You know your team members well. Pick one that you feel is a good “match” for the new client – someone who is outgoing, personable, witty, humorous, etc. – and buddy them up. This person will have responsibility for developing a deeper relationship with the client.
It is a Tall Order
Onboarding new clients is a challenge and requires solid planning and structure. Doing all of this virtually is even more challenging. But it is done successfully every day, and quality video conferencing/meetings can be just as successful as physical ones if planned right If you follow these five steps/tips, your chances for success will be maximized.