Advanced Collaboration for Consultants: How to Maximize Client Engagement and Success
Mar 14, 2019
Businesses today have a strong need to drive their strategy and growth by reaching outside of their own knowledge domains. Consultants are a trusted source of information to gain access to objective insights from third party experts. In recent years, large consulting firms as well as independent consultants have faced daunting challenges—a volatile economy, increased scrutiny, greater competition, declining customer loyalty, and decreasing margins, to name a few. To turn these transformational shifts into profits and growth, consultants must adapt. There is a growing imperative to radically improve service delivery and create additional value for clients.
At the heart of any successful consulting business is the ability to communicate effectively with clients and share valuable ideas. This means as consultants you need rich collaboration tools that allow you to become trusted business partners. Advanced online meetings and collaboration tools have become a strategic asset for consultants today that are increasingly operating in a highly competitive and fast-paced environment. It can help you to:
- Improve customer loyalty through high-touch low-cost exchanges
- Accelerate project delivery
- Monitor market changes instantly
- Expand new customer acquisition to drive revenues
- Reduce travel time and costs
Single-source easy-to-use collaboration solutions that facilitate HD video conferencing, crisp audio, and easy content sharing have become a staple for consulting businesses of every size and type due to the high quality experience, flexibility, and ease of use. In a Frost & Sullivan survey, C-level decision makers responded that video and web collaboration transforms the way they do business.
Exhibit 1: Video and Web Collaboration’s Impact on Key Facets of Business
Accelerates Productivity 86%
Improves Productivity 83%
Boosts Innovation 79%
Improves customer experience 79%
Source: Frost & Sullivan - An End User Perspective on Workplace Communications and Collaboration, Global, 2017
BUILD LASTING CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS
Consulting is primarily a client-facing business that is based on building long-term relationships and trust. For IT, these considerations are critical when supporting a team of consultants who are hosting external meetings with clients or prospects. These external meetings are the face of your business whether pitching services, delivering projects, or simply maintaining relationships. You need to start with a good impression, maintain the professionalism throughout, and be available to respond no matter where you are. Old world audio-only meetings don’t cut it anymore.
Today’s digital interactions require engaging conversations, seamless content sharing and multi-modal multi-device communications. Video and web meetings allow face-to-face client interactions, becoming an anchor for stronger conversations and long lasting relationships. They keep everyone engaged and capture the full spectrum of information—verbal, written, data, as well as non-verbal/facial cues that are integral to maintaining customer satisfaction.
COLLABORATION ON THE GO
As consultants you spend a lot of time on the road. At the same time, you know that your clients value availability and responsiveness. As close business partners you have to be reachable at all times. Mobile collaboration apps enable one-click-to-join audio-video meetings and instant content sharing regardless of your location. The ability to meet anytime anywhere over any device using video and content with clients as well as globally dispersed team members, all at lower costs, reduces unproductive time. Some leading collaboration applications are even offering mobile features specifically built for ease of use when on the go, including simplified user interfaces and features that reduce mobile data usage.
KEEP YOUR CLIENTS ON THE SAME PAGE
Consulting is a document-heavy business. Whether it is co-authoring proposals, preparing presentations, or sharing files with team members and clients, keeping everyone on the same page is critical. Moreover, keeping clients aware of your progress is equally as important as delivering great results. You need to nurture your relationship on an ongoing basis throughout the duration of the engagement. With today’s cloud-based online meeting tools you can -
- Schedule unlimited meetings.
- Hold daily or weekly updates on key findings that allow your client to see the progress on the project.
- Share content such as interactive proposals or portfolios on the spot, eliminating the back and forth over email and reducing turnaround time.
- Leverage meeting recordings and transcripts to allow anyone who has missed the meetings to stay informed as well as to build a repository of content which can be pulled into similar projects elsewhere.
EMPOWER GLOBAL TEAMS AND CROSS-FUNCTIONAL COLLABORATION
Online collaboration tools are great for keeping globally dispersed teams of consultants connected at all times. Todays’ global consulting firms have experts that are truly distributed across many locations working on the same project. From drafting the contracts to coordinating delivery of the work, there are a lot of conversations, documents, and communications that need to be established. Online meetings serve as the glue that brings together all your communications and content in a single place.
EXTEND THE REACH OF YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS THROUGH WEBINARS
The role of consultants is constantly evolving. Besides maintaining strong relationships with current clients, you are also at the front-end for establishing thought leadership and building the brand to attract new business. Marketing budgets are getting tighter and there is a greater call to get the best possible ROI from marketing spends. Webinars are a cost-effective way to get your message out to a large audience or a specific user group; generate and qualify leads; and identify areas of interest or concern within your customer base. The focus of webinars as a marketing tool is not just on generating qualified leads but also to create an indelible mind share among prospects by way of thought leadership and awareness. The webinar tool you use must leave a positive impression from the first touch onward.
Effective collaboration and meetings bring together people, content, and ideas in a fluid way. Consulting firms are realizing the benefits of implementing ground breaking collaboration technologies that strengthen trusted client relationships and deliver differentiated services. As consultants, you need advanced tools that allow you to connect with your clients in the most simple and natural way possible across locations and devices. Forward-thinking consultants are embracing the next generation of video and web collaboration solutions to stay ahead in a competitive market.
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