Nowadays, teleconferencing technology allows us to meet in ways that make us feel right next to each other and makes us wonder: Is it necessary to travel and be physically present with our customers?
The reality is that no means of communication can compare to having a face-to-face conversation. In-person meetings are far more effective than using any technology available for communication, you get to hear them and see their body language. The commitment we show to our customers when we visit them and work closer with them makes a huge difference. I’ve worked remotely with customers and have been able to maintain good relationships, however, once you go on-site, the customer’s trust immediately grows. It might sound simple, but it has a significant impact on the provider-customer relationship.
Additionally, you can take advantage of the opportunity to interact with and build a professional relationship with other people in the business, people you probably wouldn’t have met had you not been there. This can make your work more productive and provides an opportunity to grow the relationship with the entire company. Let’s say you only talk to one specific person in the company, it does not matter how much you try to understand the entire business, you will only get the perspective from that person. In most cases when you have a visit you will end up meeting more people that can help you see the bigger picture.
There is a study made by Oxford Economics that provides clear evidence that business travel directly increases revenue and profits . We can still take advantage of off-site meetings but it is important to always consider the powerful follow up on face-to-face connections.
There are big companies that won’t sign a contract if they don’t have a face-to-face meeting. Put yourself in that scenario. Would you trust an important part of your business to someone you’ve never met?
I can honestly say that only positive experiences have come from business trips. I was working on a project remotely and on almost every phone call I could feel the tension from the other end. It was like working against each other. Then, I had the opportunity to meet in person and had a very relaxed conversation. After my visit the work relationship changed and we were able to obtain very productive results. I truly believe that it would never have happened on a conference call. Travelling may be nerve wrecking at times, especially if you are meeting a complicated customer, but it’s worth it. Take the time to meet in person. It is one of the best investments you can make for your business.
ROI on US Business Travel. (2012, September 9).
Retrieved from http://www.oxfordeconomics.com/my-oxford/projects/129020