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Virtual Chat Business Etiquette With Clients

In today’s business world, using Zoom chat messaging has become the norm. Virtual connection in-person meeting saves time (a commodity that has become increasingly scarce) and money. The pandemic seemed to propel us even further in this direction with great speed. Some companies, such as Kumospace take online business interaction to a whole new, fascinating level – a completely virtual office. But with a new landscape come new skills to acquire. Here we will discuss etiquette while chatting with clients virtually on Zoom.

Of the two possibilities — chat and video — people tend to prefer chat messaging. It is a familiar mode of communication and allows you to respond quickly, yet thoughtfully. It also is a great way to keep track of typed meeting points with clients. There are times when using the video conference feature is the better option., however, particularly if you are holding a webinar or intend to set up a Zoom classroom.

However, some of these meetings — either held through chat or video — can be painful to get through. Connecting with clients virtually is still technically a “new” way of life for businesses. Adjusting from the physical workplace to the virtual one means reassessing and establishing an appropriate business etiquette. This etiquette will improve the overall productivity of these meetings, making them a little less of a challenge to focus on for both you and your clients.

Here are some business etiquette tips you should consider when handling Zoom chats with clients.

A graphic showing a Zoom meeting in progress

Welcome Your Client

First impressions are everything; there are no second chances. Nothing delights clients like a welcoming chat atmosphere, so be sure to incorporate polite introductions and pleasantries at the start of a meeting. This is a subtle way to figure out your client’s tone and mood, as well. Most people who use chats are used to an informal writing style, but don’t assume this is always the case. Remain professional, but friendly, at all times. Always remember that courtesy and kindness are at the core of the client’s service experience.

Know When to Use the Private Messaging Tool

In case you need to send a comment to one person in the group during a Zoom meeting, you can use the private messaging tool. However, if you are recording the meeting, avoid chatting. The private message may end up public information if captured in the recording.

Don’t Interrupt

Zoom conferencing can be time-consuming, and inevitable technical glitches can make you impatient. Don’t interrupt anyone, however. Just like in a face-to-face meeting, everyone should get an uninterrupted chance to speak. In case you need attention or to raise a point, select Raise Hand or private message the host. “Raising your hand” shouldn’t be done all the time as the host may end up losing focus on the overall purpose of the meeting.

Be Concise and Brief

Chat messaging is ideal for short messages. Keep messages brief, concise, and to the point. You can discuss anything unrelated or not on the agenda afterward. If you need to talk about something in detail, you can opt to send a follow-up email instead of taking over the conversation in the chat.

Refrain from Photographing the Screen

In case you are chatting with a client, it is polite to refrain from taking screenshots without their consent. On top of that, sharing information can result in a breach of private client information. In case you need to record the conversation, inform your clients that you intend to do so, and the reason why.

Avoid Caps Lock

Etiquette discourages capitalizing all the letters in a sentence. Stick to sentence case. In the age of internet messaging, capitalized sentences are considered written shouting and sometimes irritating to the recipient. Avoid using unnecessary capital letters while chatting in Zoom, as people may think you’re rude, commanding, or angry at them.

Keep it Professional

Always keep in mind that chatting with clients is not the same as direct messaging someone on a social media platform or having a conversation with someone during happy hour at a bar. Always keep your chat professional, clear, and concise to avoid misunderstandings. Try to avoid arguments over chat or never insult your clients.

Don’t Distress Over Typos

There will be times when you send texts and messages that contain typos. If you are using chat, you are using it for speed and efficiency, so don’t panic if your fingers accidentally slip up. You can send a *correction message, but in most cases, that may not be necessary. However, you should always strive for correct spelling, punctuation, and typo-free messages. It will keep up your professional appearance and help the client understanding what you are trying to get across.

As the recipient, there’s no need to point out your chat partner’s typos in messages. Remember that they are more often the result of trying to serve you quickly.

Be Considerate of the Time

Always practice punctuality. Open the meeting in good time and end it when it is supposed to end. It is necessary not to let business chats run beyond the allocated time. In case you cannot resolve the issue, you can always schedule another meeting.

Be Patient Waiting for Feedback

Learn to give people time to respond to your messages. Some clients are slow typists, while others may be busy. You might not receive immediate feedback depending on the complexity of the issue at hand, either. Therefore, be patient and wait for the response instead of bombarding your chat partner with messages to get their attention. It will come off as unprofessional and rude.

Communicate Effectively

Avoid using slang, complicated vocabulary, jargon, or abbreviations that your client may not be familiar with. Always reread your chat messages before pressing the send button to make sure it is clear and will be understood by your client.

End on a High Note

Deliver bad news at the top of the chat. After a long meeting, no one wants to hear about issues that weren’t resolved earlier. It makes the conversation seem like a waste of time. It’s not how you start but how you end the conversation that matters. This tip also keeps chats solution forward and could avoid going over the allocated meeting time.

Create a Great Experience

Zoom is a powerful tool for connecting your team and clients. It doesn’t matter where your clients or team members are. Zoom can make it seem like you’re in the same space and time. Stay at home and be productive. Carve out time dedicated to your clients and learn how to not only be productive, but polite, by collaborating online with Zoom chat.

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By Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday holds degrees in English education and creative writing. As an educator, Michael specializes in corporate training having worked with IBM, Philip Morris International, and the Danone food company in Paris. He is a published author and is deeply passionate about the written word.

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