How To Manage Long Distance Client Relationships

July 8, 2016 - 6:00pm
Rebecca Kellogg
How To Manage Long Distance Client Relationships

One of the many things I enjoy about my job is that, not only do I get to work with awesome local clients, but I also manage several clients in all different cities and states. Committing to long distance means adding another layer to the client-agency relationship. And I’ll admit, it’s a lot harder to establish solid relationships with the ones that I can’t sit down with face-to-face. So, how can you build good working relationships with people you’ve never met? Here are my four tips for managing a successful long distance client relationship.

Be Flexible

Whether your client is in the Eastern or Pacific time zones, or anywhere in between, finding time to talk when you’re both at the office can be challenging. It’s important to be flexible with your schedule. Your flexibility, as well as adaptability, can provide the solid footing to your relationship with your clients. It might not always be convenient for you to work late in order to get your client what they need on their time, but they really appreciate it when you do. In addition to keeping your schedule flexible, it’s also important to be flexible in terms of your forms and styles of communication with your clients - Will you email? Skype? Or, even be forced to actually pick up the phone and call?

Pick Up The Phone

As a millennial, I completely understand the anxiety that comes with having to actually talk on the phone. But, I also understand that emails are not always easy to interpret. I, for example, get nervous when people use ellipses in emails. Are they mad at me? Did I annoy them? Why are you dragging your sentence out? If you have something of significance or what you want to say is more complex than you can put into writing, just pick up the phone. Your client will appreciate hearing it directly from you vs. reading it on a screen. Likewise, the odds of your message being interpreted correctly as well as heard in the correct tone of voice are much higher than just firing off an email.

Make the Most of Your Face-Time

The fun part about having long distance clients is getting to go see them. It’s important, though, that you make the most of your short face-to-face time with them. Take them out for friendly socializing over drinks or dinner, or do something touristy in the city you’re in. Don’t just make your visit all about business. Being able to spend time with them without a screen between you will help to strengthen your working relationship when you both get back to your offices.

Celebrate with Them

Small gestures go a long way with any client, but sometimes it’s hard to remember the small things when your client is in a different city. It’s important to always celebrate wins with them, regardless of size. Simply set reminders about your client’s accomplishments. Whether it’s the opening day of their new stadium or you just finished a large project with them, something as small as a “Congratulations!” text or email can go a long way. And if it’s within budget to send them flowers or sweets to show that you care about them, do it!

There are so many different choices when it comes to selecting an agency. Clients can choose anyone from around the world. Why you? Are you up to the challenge of fostering a positive working relationship with your long distance clients? Keep these four little things in mind while managing your long distance clients and you’ll be sure to set yourself apart from the rest.


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