The reality of operating a business means that consultations with your clients become the lifeblood of your business. And yet – they also tend to be one of the most frustrating parts of your day-to-day tasks.
Many people really value the personalised kind of service you receive from a face-to-face consultation. The main benefit of conducting face-to-face consultations is that they are effective in building relationships. Some consultants enjoy travelling to meet their clients, and experiencing not just the meeting, but other bonding activities and rituals that come with face-to-face consultations. Another, is the simple fact that while we do live in such a technologically driven time, not everyone has access to the internet.
However, the process is not perfect. Travelling for many businesses can be extremely time consuming and costly. For these reasons, businesses are sometimes geographically limited by these constraints which means that their client bases can not grow, as their budget simply can not allow for it. Also, scheduling becomes an issue as face-to-face consultants can only really schedule meetings in a traditional 9 – 5 time slot in order to be respectful of clients. Also, if you choose not to travel to see clients, face-to-face consultations can logistically be a burden for your clients if they have to travel to come to you, which may even deter them from your business.
However, the huge benefit that we have of operating our businesses within this day and age is the ability to harness the power of technology. Online businesses should do what they can to take advantage of these opportunities that are becoming more prevalent and more desirable to the vast majority of clients.
While traditional face-to-face consultations are still alive and well for store-front businesses, the shift to online means that they have access to different tools that can assist them with the operations of their business.
Aside from the issue of internet access, online consultations are typically criticised for their quality. Not because of the actual service, but because the kinds of video and audio connections clients are able to have greatly affect the overall quality of the consultation. Another issue is that if you are conducting business with a wider-range of international clients it can mean that your work hours can be lengthy, undesirable or unconventional – depending on your businesses position to turn down/ accept meetings.
The benefits of online consultations, however, undeniably make up for the constraints. Online consultations are first and foremost effective; in terms of dramatically reducing costs and saving time. They allow you to build a world-wide client base, whatever your business, because travelling to and from these consultations no longer becomes an issue. They allow you to be there for your customers at the click of a button, without asking them to travel to you – which can potentially make your business more desirable. They allow you to take full control over the scheduling of your business, and while that may mean some unconventional hours, it also means freedom and more time to do the things you enjoy while still providing a great service. But perhaps the best thing about online consultations are that you can choose to conduct them right from your home or office.
All in all, it the constraints of face-to-face consultations are aided by the online consultation. While online consultations may not be 100% ideal, or simply not suited to some businesses, they can dramatically reduce costs, improve your client base and give you more time to focus on other things.