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#211: Are You a Desk Potato?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, January 04, 2010
Updated: Monday, January 04, 2010
The advance of technology has created less need to be on site with clients, and many more clients are just as happy with web sessions or phone calls, especially for those that otherwise would have to pay my travel. As a result, I am spending far more time in the office than I used to. Is there any problem with this?

I suspect this trend is true for many consultants except for those with significant hands-on interaction with staff or whose practice requires their physical presence. If the nature of your practice is advising clients in discussion, transferring information, or providing instruction to staff, it makes sense to both you and the client to do this in the most efficient manner possible. To some extent, virtual consultation even has more time flexibility that scheduling a site visit, since last minute conflicts can be accommodated more easily for a virtual meeting than if you had arrived by airplane for the meeting.

Don't just accept this trend. Even those it may save you and the client money, provides more flexibility, and may even be more efficient, you are losing client intimacy and a lot of information that you can only get from a site visit. Your personal relationship (remember that consulting is a relationship business) with your client is forged as much in the "outside the meeting" or social time as in the meetings.

Tip: Make regular face-to-face visits with your clients, both engagement sponsor and staff, a priority. Their trust in you is based on more than just the advice and information you provide from afar.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client development  client relations  communication  customer understanding 

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