Often times with the advancement of toolsets enabling a remote workforce, the driver behind being on site with clients is less and less. Remote project teams can prove to be very productive (with the right support) and deliver great results to your client. That being said, there is still significant value to ensuring that your client is visited regularly and this post will tell you why.
This is probably the most ‘no-brainer’ value to doing a customer site visit. Relationships are forged with physical, face-to-face contact. When you can meet someone in person, shake their hand and look them in the eye when you speak, it does wonders for building the relationship. Site visits are a very simple way to start to mend rocky relationships and further cement the solid relationships. Team building remotely is virtually impossible and needs the face to face contact to foster good working relationships.
Clear & Focused Communications
Have you ever been on a conference call where the flow of the conversation was interrupted by two people trying to talk over one another, then silence, then the same two people trying to talk over one another again? Or how about the technical difficulties of the proverbial “let me share my screen” to view a document as a group. In person, communications are far more streamlined – people can physically see one another, read body language, understand tone and intent far better than over a phone or a Skype call. I have found that in-person meetings are far more efficient and productive than the remote-based ones. While it’s unreasonable to think that in-person meetings can be held all the time (without relocation of team members), it’s a huge benefit that is realized when doing customer site visits.
Site visits are expensive, there’s no denying that. Flying your team in, hotels, meals, cars all add up. But when you weigh the costs of conducting regular site visits with the cost of a deteriorating relationship or poor communications that can potentially derail your project, it’s an interesting comparison to say the least. When planned out effectively, doing regular customer site visits are immensely valuable to your project and to your customer relationship – which is what you are fighting to nurture, preserve and maintain going forward.