Growing Client Loyalty Remotely

Not meeting in person doesn't need to be a limit in improving customer relations.

10 min read

How important is customer loyalty to your business?

Are you worried the shift to online - only meetings will make it harder to manage and serve your customers' needs?

These questions have been swirling around in our heads for the last few months. One fact is for certain: client trust and loyalty are currently being put to the ultimate test. With all client meetings being moved online, businesses (and their employees) find themselves fearful that this sudden change could doom their client relationships and set them up for long-term business losses. And rightfully so. 

As a recent study by Thryv and America’s Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) reveals, three-quarters of U.S. small businesses have already experienced a large drop in demand. Meanwhile, 60 percent of small businesses are reasonably concerned about their long-term recovery.

Now consider this: More than 99 percent of all businesses are small businesses and they employ approximately half of the US workforce. However, most small businesses lack the budgets and resources to weather long-term interruptions. And even one lost customer can make it tough for a small business to recover once the crisis has subsided. 

Doodle surveyed more than 1,100 employees who work full-time and/or part-time for businesses in the United States. The purpose of the study is to fully understand the client retention fears and challenges employees may face as their interactions with clients have moved online. Additionally, the study aims to uncover the various strategies employees are currently employing to become more dynamic, engaging presenters and participants in online meetings in order to grow client relationships, trust and loyalty.

The results were enlightening. Learn more about the key findings from our latest research study.

Customer loyalty isn't as fragile or fleeting as you think

65 percent of employees confirmed their clients have stayed loyal since shifting to online-only meetings.

Did you know it costs five times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer? But it’s not all that easy to keep clients happy, engaged and loyal. According to research from HubSpot, 55 percent of customers now trust companies less than they used to. 

Customer trust and loyalty play a major role in the growth and success of any company today. It comes down to certain factors, such as interacting one-to-one with clients, dedicating enough time to each client and, ultimately, being highly focused and productive to deliver high-quality results. 

Meeting overload is bad for employee mental health

46 percent of employees are conducting virtual meetings outside of business hours to keep their clients happy. 

Employees spend more time working than they do in their home/personal lives. There is an inevitable link between employees’ mental health and their performance. If employees are stressed and feel overwhelmed by their work environment/responsibilities, it can take a serious toll on their mental health and well being. 

Shifting to full-time remote work can be a difficult and complicated adjustment. In many instances, this has also led to a significant increase in the number of meetings being held each week. So while an employee may have previously only had a total of 10 meetings in a single week, that number could jump up to as many as 30 meetings in a single week due to the current situation. 

Running productive and engaging online meetings requires deliberate effort, preparation and practice. This is especially true when it comes to engaging and building trust with clients. Now consider this: 77 percent of respondents in Deloitte’s “Workplace Burnout Survey” said they have experienced employee burnout at their current job, with more than half citing more than one occurrence. 

Organization, creativity and practice make virtual meetings perfect

Meeting organizers aren’t the only ones responsible for making meetings efficient, seamless and engaging. Participants share an equal responsibility. According to our study’s findings, there are some simple steps participants can take to show up prepared for online meetings. The most common and effective preparation step, for example, is to send an agenda ahead of time (31 percent). Other effective strategies include: doing research (12 percent), reading relevant materials (12 percent) and designating a meeting ‘leader’ (10 percent).

Conclusion

As our study reveals, there’s a great deal of pressure on businesses to keep clients happy, engaged and loyal. In one sense, this is driving employees to be more proactive, organized and creative in how they interact with clients via online meetings. However, it’s also pushing employees to their limits, both physically and mentally, as they go above and beyond to be dynamic, engaging virtual presenters and trusted allies. 

But as all meetings are now taking place online, it’s also causing a significant increase in the number of online meetings being held each week. As a result, employees are struggling with meeting overload, which can leave employees feeling exhausted, stressed and burned out. These feelings can have serious consequences for employees’ mental health and well being. 

Most importantly, our study reveals a fact that most industry experts haven’t discussed. Even if the future of work is automated, digitally-enabled and remote, in-person meetings will always be a vital component in maintaining client relationships. 

Download your free copy of the report to get more stats and insights on the challenges of growing client loyalty remotely. And if you'd like to learn how Doodle can help you strengthen your customer relationships and grow your business, get in touch with our scheduling experts.

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