Finding New Ways to Connect

Finding New Ways to Connect

If there’s one thing the coronavirus pandemic has taught us is that we need to find new ways to connect with one another when the old methods aren’t available or as effective. We’re seeing that happening in a variety of ways from conferences migrating to virtual platforms to the uptick in video conferencing. In fact, if there’s a sliver of a silver lining to this pandemic, it’s been that more people have been focused on finding new avenues to stay connected in more meaningful ways.

This “new normal” for business (and frankly, all) relationships has shown us that there is a great need for human interaction.

Shelly Wilkinson, TRICOM Director of Sales, has noticed that in the twenty-five plus years that she’s been in sales, she’s seen more and more of a focus on human-to-human connection since the onset of the pandemic. Shelly explained, “When we realized the work from home status was going to last longer than originally anticipated, I started doing more Zoom calls with my team in an effort to keep our close-knit relationships in place and at least ‘see’ each other instead of just a voice on the other end of the phone.”

Sometimes, the best way to move forward is to reach out and make sure everyone is ok. In that vein, we’ve outlined four ways to help guide these interactions as we all find new ways to stay connected and develop deeper, more meaningful relationships.

1. Be willing to be open-minded regarding channels to stay connected
Seeing customers in person is not always an option right now. That’s when it’s time to start pursuing other ways to stay connected. One avenue is social media. If you haven’t been posting on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc., now’s the time to start. Follow or connect with your customers and write supportive comments on their posts. Share what you’re doing as a company, as well important and timely information that’s relevant to your customers.

Also, if you haven’t already started using virtual meeting platforms like Zoom or Google Meet, you should definitely try it out. It’s a great way to still feel connected and have that face-to-face time with colleagues or customers when in-person meetings aren’t a viable option.

Another option is to start having “virtual office hours.” Set up a day and time when you make yourself available online for a virtual meeting using a video meeting platform so people can “drop in” to have a quick chat or ask a question. You can share the link to your office hour on social media or send an email inviting customers to join. It eliminates the perceived hassle of setting up an appointment and also reinforces the fact that you’re making yourself available to customers. You can even have specific topics for discussion where you or an invited guest share insights on relevant business matters.

Podcasts are another avenue that use audio and/or video to make connections. Invite an industry colleague, partner, or other expert to have a discussion and share their thoughts on a specific topic. This is something new that TRICOM has recently launched and has invited guests from different segments of the staffing industry for discussions on a variety of topics. (You can find the recordings on our home page at tricom.com).

Regardless of the channel, the point is to find ways to make connections with your customers. You can have some fun with it, and you may find that they become even more effective than your previous methods.

2. Nourish relationships
Regardless of the channel you select, the goal is to nourish your customer relationships. Instead of sending blanket, generic messages, take a few moments to personalize the content for each customer. While sending an email may be easy, pick up the phone and make that call. Keep in touch. Take the time to check in and really see how a customer is doing. With email you lose so much insight from tone of voice and the ability to ask follow up questions that can help you dive deeper into your customer’s specific situation. Which brings us to our next point….

3. Be a resource
When connecting with your customers, it’s important now more than ever to be a resource for them. Focus on ways to connect with them and support their efforts. Be a go-to resource for them with helpful information, whether it’s sharing from other trusted, reputable sources or from your own insights. Don’t underestimate your experiences and how that may help your customers. While it’s safe to say that this pandemic experience is new for all of us, the skills that have helped you navigate difficult times in the past may still be useful experiences to draw upon. Share what you’re seeing in the marketplace and see how that matches or differs from their experiences. Constructive, open dialogue is critical in these unprecedented times. Also, help your customers make connections with your industry partners and resources when their services might be of value to your customers. For example, TRICOM has a list of thoroughly vetted preferred partners. (You can find the list at tricom.com/clients-colleagues/preferred-partners). When we refer a client to one of these companies, we know these partners will deliver a high level of service and value. We’ve also established an online COVID-19 Resource Center where we post the latest legislative updates, articles, links to important websites, and more. It’s just another way that we strive to be a resource for our clients and continue to build trust.

4. Stay positive
Lately, the news and social media feeds are filled with negativity. Focus on positive things that you and your team are doing, whether it’s in serving your customers, giving back to your community, or just sharing a laugh or optimistic perspective. Highlight other positive industry news.  Be the bright spot for your customers.

Now more than ever, human-to-human connections are critical both in our personal and professional lives. Given our circumstances, the old ways of keep in touch and making new or deeper connections may not be as effective. We’re all in this together, and connecting with one another in deeper, more meaningful ways will help us all weather these difficult times a little bit better.

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