Things to remember when accompanying clients on business trips
Not every client exchange can be conducted over the phone or via video conferencing software. Face-to-face interaction remains a key driver of relationships.
Businesses are also using Zoom less because of the technology’s inability to fully convey non-verbal communication cues, with firms focusing on the number of meetings rather than establishing genuine, nuanced connections during them. In-person dynamics are still essential and always will be.
Travelling with clients provides an invaluable opportunity to build rapport with them and deepen your understanding of their personal and professional needs. However, facilitating smooth, comfortable and efficient travel for clients requires careful planning and attentiveness.
What key things should be remembered here? We discuss down below.
Respecting the client’s preferences
Firstly, it’s important to acquaint yourself with your client’s preferences. Ask them about their preferred mode of travel, dietary requirements, or any special assistance they might need.
Whether they prefer the train for its tranquil atmosphere or the efficiency of air travel, adjusting your plans to accommodate their preferences can greatly enhance their journey experience. You may even need to change modes of travel, too, depending on the distance being travelled.
Minibus leasing can be a good strategy here, so to learn more about it, visit theminibuscentre.com. They have a great range of makes and models to choose from, as well as flexible logistics and payment terms to make the arrangement suitable for your business – and, more importantly, the clients you taxi around inside it. Minibuses can be comfortable, spacious, disability-friendly, and eco-friendly, which means multiple client preferences can be respected with their use.
Similarly, respect their need for personal space and solitude, particularly during long journeys. If you lease a minibus, that’s one way of addressing those things, but there’s more to consider. For instance, some clients might prefer working or resting during travel rather than engaging in constant conversation. Reading your client’s cues and adapting accordingly can go a long way in establishing mutual respect and trust. If you try too hard to please, you’ll please nobody.
Ensuring convenience and comfort
Comfort and convenience should be top priorities when arranging transport for clients. This may include booking direct flights to minimise layovers, opting for a high-quality airport transfer service, or choosing hotels with convenient access to meeting venues.
Also, consider amenities that enhance comfort on public transport, such as spacious seats, in-flight entertainment, or lounges during layovers. Even smaller gestures like providing noise-cancelling headphones or a travel pillow can show that you value your client’s comfort.
Remember, during client travel, it’s essentially your role to look after them. While that shouldn’t include any invasive or ‘babying’ demeanours, proving that you’ve thought about your client’s well-being highlights not only a professional courtesy but also a personal investment in how they’re doing. Sometimes, the enterprising world can be cold and calculating, so some care may bring some warmth to proceedings.
Planning for contingencies
Business travel is susceptible to unexpected disruptions entirely out of your or the client’s control. Flight delays, traffic, or sudden changes in the client’s schedule are all possibilities that need to be considered.
Sometimes, you can research airlines to see which of them have the worst reputation for flight delays. Other times, though, situations like those are potluck. Having a contingency plan can alleviate the stress associated with such unforeseen events and restore your client’s faith in your ability to adapt. They may come to believe that if you can problem-solve and remain calm in these situations, it may bode well for the rest of your business-to-business dynamics.
Backup plans could include having alternative flights or transport options, being aware of different routes to your destination, or having a flexible meeting schedule that accommodates last-minute changes. Having an idea of hotels you could stay in could also be a good idea. This will ensure the journey goes as smoothly as possible, minimises distress and discomfort, and demonstrates your preparedness and reliability.
Upholding professionalism throughout
Even though the environment is less formal than the office, maintaining a professional demeanour is essential during business travel. This includes being punctual, dressing appropriately, and engaging in appropriate conversation.
Remember, your conduct during the trip is a reflection of your business. Travelling with clients isn’t like a fun road trip for friends to share in, and being in transit doesn’t mean you can let your guard down and regress into whatever you’re like at home, either. Ideally, it would help if you weren’t staring at your phone for the entire duration of the travel either. By remaining professional, you reassure the client of your competence and commitment, thereby fostering a strong business relationship.
Accompanying clients on business journeys can be a nuanced task, with each step requiring careful consideration. Prioritising clients’ preferences, ensuring their comfort, planning for potential disruptions, and upholding professionalism are all integral to a successful business trip. These considerations are not just about providing a seamless journey but reflect your commitment to the client and the value you place on their business. By taking the time to meticulously plan and execute these trips, businesses can make significant strides in building and maintaining strong, long-term relationships with their clients.