If you gave someone a call a few decades ago and he or she was away from the telephone, you’d have to wait and call back. Then came caller ID and voicemail, so the days of waiting by the phone and guessing who was calling disappeared. Those were simple days of long ago. Now, if I want to get in touch with clients, I have to ask if they would like a phone call on their cell, office or home number. But their options don’t stop there! They can opt to be reached by text message, email, snail mail, a Facebook message, a tweet, or we could always just Skype or “hangout” on Google+! Where and when will the madness end? When it comes to the relationship between you and your clients, is technology making you want to change your relationship status to it’s complicated?
As PR professionals, we have to be in the know on the latest and greatest ways to communicate. We’re paid to do so, but when do we need to ditch our modern gadgets for an old-fashioned face-to-face chat? Well, don’t look at me! Who am I to tell you what to do in your relationship? It’s already “complicated,” and I’d hate for that status of yours to change to single because I misadvised you. However, here’s what I can tell you.
No matter what the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg creates to make communication easier for our progressively lazier society, face time with your clients will always be crucial and important to your relationship. Depending on the client, you may need face-to-face contact weekly, monthly or quarterly to maintain a healthy, beneficial and continuous relationship. It’s not the technology that is causing you two to drift apart; it’s you! When you’re first engaging a client, ask how often they’d like to get together to review the plans you’ve made for them. Ask them their preferred method for communicating, but also set dates and times for you to chat in person over coffee, lunch or a cocktail.
You and your client may have busy schedules, but it is imperative that you make time for each other. The level of trust and confidence needed for a successful PR relationship takes time to cultivate and just like any other bond, you must spend time together. This ensures that you’re both on the same page and know exactly where the relationship is headed – whether that is to the CNN newsroom or to changing your status to “in a relationship.”