Whether you work as a freelance consultant or a manager at a digital agency, people are at the heart of what you do. Helping clients solve problems, expand their business, and navigate new territory is all part of the service you provide.
This requires clear, consistent, and collaborative communication. (After all, they’re paying you the big bucks to get access to you.)
Unfortunately, because your clients value your expertise and often want more face time, your business likely takes a backseat. When you’re busy with back-to-back Zoom calls and catching up on Slack it’s challenging to grow your business or scale your services.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
Today I’m going to talk about a delightfully different approach to communicating with clients (that will save you both time!): asynchronous communication. I’ll elaborate on the problem it addresses, why it’s an effective solution, and how to shift your client workflow to take full advantage of it.
The Problem: Too Many Live Calls (It’s Draining!)
At first glance, having a calendar packed with client meetings seems like a good problem to have. More calls mean plenty of business, and more business means more money in the bank.But a large volume of live calls each week also comes with some significant downsides. Here are the big three:
- Your Mental Health Takes a Nosedive
Have you ever heard of meeting fatigue? Spending hour upon hour in meetings and calls isn’t just tiring; it’s exhausting.
Zoom fatigue can wreak havoc with your emotions and significantly impact your mood. As a result:
- Your concentration dips.
- Your critical-thinking and problem-solving skills take a hit.
- Your stress levels soar.
And these adverse effects can ultimately impact your client communications, too; when you’re feeling tired and groggy, clarity can suffer.
- You might not have the patience to explore solutions and provide explanations properly.
- You may overlook essential facts and miss out on vital details.
- Your memory can suffer.
This can be a great source of frustration for you and your clients.
- Your Physical Health Deteriorates
As you know, spending too much time in front of your laptop (without proper breaks) is unhealthy. But the problem is, how do you make time to take meaningful breaks with so many call commitments? Sitting in one position for too long, like at your desk while discussing brand strategy with a client over Zoom — can cause a wide range of health problems:
- Back pain
- Muscle fatigue
- Achy joints
- Eye strain
- Weight gain
(To name a few)
Plus, when your mental well-being suffers and your brain feels frazzled, it often shows up in your appearance. If you’re hoping to present a professional front to your clients and coworkers, the face of exhaustion staring back at them through a screen is less than ideal.
- Your Business Goals Suffer
As well as adverse health effects, too many calls can harm your business long-term. It just isn’t sustainable.
Consider what might happen if you drop the ball or start under-delivering. If your clients decide to go elsewhere, they’re not just taking their money with them but a piece of your professional reputation too.
Plus, when you’ve run out of hours in the day, it’s impossible to focus on other areas of your business:
- Research projects
- Attending professional events
- Expanding on your area of expertise
- Creating an online course
All your big, bold business goals go unmet when you spend your energy working on other people’s projects.
This brings us to the crucial question:
How can you offer consistent, high-quality, on-demand knowledge and advice to clients without neglecting your health and business?
The Solution: Scale Client Services with Asynchronous Communication
In short, asynchronous communication involves discussions and conversations that don’t occur in real-time.
Sounds fancy, right?
Async communications have been around for a surprisingly long time. Our ancestors used cave paintings to communicate with each other and grab the attention of anyone passing. People then responded in a similar artistic fashion, almost like ancient graffiti, only with more purpose.
Carrier pigeons, foot messengers, telegrams, and postal services followed, with the later addition of more modern messaging tools.
Today, everyday async communications include:
- SMS, MMS
- Messaging platforms such as Slack and Microsoft Teams.
- Messaging Apps: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Line, and Telegram
You almost certainly use some form of async messaging tool already.
But, which is the best for scaling client services?
Asynchronous Messaging with Video
The beauty of async messaging is that it removes the need for everyone to be present online simultaneously.
You’re probably all too familiar with trying to set up online meetings involving several people spread across different time zones. It’s a nightmare.
Async video messaging provides the same benefits as in-person or virtual meetings; they’re just not live. And rather than simply using text-based or voice messages, video async messages offer excellent opportunities to communicate with your clients.
You can still:
- See and hear each other
- Share ideas effectively
- Ask detailed questions
- Discuss ideas
- Provide in-depth information and explanations
Complete with all the voice inflections, gestures, and visual aids of real-time communications.
Your clients are busy people, too. They, too, can benefit from the flexibility that async solutions provide. Instead of sitting in meetings all day, you are allowing them to focus on more pressing priorities (like implementing your suggestions and putting your knowledge to good use!).
At ZipMessage, we’ve built the perfect tool for this async-first communication approach.
ZipMessage lets you give clients a dedicated conversation thread where they can send and receive messages with you asynchronously.
And you have the option of using video (screen recording or camera), audio, or text.
The beauty of ZipMessage is in its simplicity. Sharing a ZipMessage thread is as simple as sending a client a link; that client can then record or type straight into that web page without installing special software.
It’s easy to use and has a clean, professional layout.
- It’s better than email — it’s a quiet, dedicated space for just you and your client. No noise.
- It’s better than chat apps like Voxer and Whatsapp — those offer too much access to you with no control over when (and how long) clients can keep sending you messages.
- It’s better than video recording tools like Loom, CloudApp, and others — those are one-off, one-way, easily lost, and forgotten messages.
ZipMessage is designed for back-and-forth threaded conversations that are easily stored and referred to in the future.
- Message recording using video, microphone, and text for both you and your clients.
- Screen-sharing capabilities.
- Threaded conversations are displayed on one page, removing the chance of messages being lost in a non-stop chat app or a crowded inbox.
- Syncs with email, enabling you to keep important communications in one place, wherever they originate from.
- No need for clients to install special software.
- Incredibly easy to set up and use.
ZipMessage is user-friendly, effective, efficient, personable, and practical. With various options to suit communication styles and needs, what more could you want?
How to Shift Your Client Communication to Asynchronous Methods
Okay, we’ve covered the problem, the solution, and the tech. Now, you’re perhaps wondering how to switch to more async communication methods with your clients.
Well, whether you’re onboarding someone new or encouraging a long-term retainer to make the shift, these four tips can help make it a breeze:
1. Give Clients a Preview and Walkthrough in Real-Time
During a live consultation, send your client their first video message.
This sets up the initial communication thread. While speaking in real time, explain how to use ZipMessage. Then, ask them to send a reply.
Walking clients through a new process step-by-step, and performing a live demonstration will get them feeling confident and comfortable using async tools. Keep them informed to keep them engaged.
2. Propose an Async Option for a Piece of the Process
At the end of a live meeting, propose using async messaging for feedback and follow-ups outside of longer consultancy meetings.
This gives your client a dedicated space to converse with you. Start the conversation, and provide your notes and feedback from the call. Urge them to reply if they need to.
You don’t have to make all your meetings asynchronous; you can simply change one part of your process to free up that time.
3. Show Your Work
Before replying to messages from clients, jot down key ideas and information to keep your messages on point, brief, ordered, and relevant.
Record your screen as you write your notes so your clients can see them. This illustrates how they can create their replies and gives them an example to use. Plus, notes help to demonstrate to a client that you’ve given the issue prior thought and approach your consulting work with professionalism and dedication.
4. Scale Client Requests with Video Intakes
When clients want notes or feedback, videos can often clarify details more effectively than emails.
Furthermore, it’s human nature to pay more attention to a recorded message — the temptation to quickly skim through words on a screen is all too real for most!
ZipMessage makes it easy to direct clients to a video intake page. From there, they can easily record a message and send you a request.
Async Communication = Smarter Business
Asynchronous communication with video messaging can be a game changer when scaling your client services.
It gives you the power to:
- Take back control of your day
- Give clients their valuable time back
- Communicate more effectively
- Offer new services
- Reach high-value clients
If you’re looking for a simple way to get clients onboarded with an async messaging channel, give ZipMessage a try for free.
Don’t forget to send me your feedback and shoot me a “ZM” at ZipMessage.com/brian. Are you excited about scaling client services (and reducing meetings) with asynchronous messages? Sign up for ZipMessage now!