A Digital Supernova
Over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees are now used to playing defense against some common obstacles to a productive, work-related Zoom call.
Not to be confused with the popular song lyric “Zoom zoom zoom you make my heart go boom boom” (the Disney Channel stans out there get the reference), the Zoom call has become one of the top forms of communication for businesses across the globe.
It’s an amazing tool that has helped keep the world running in 2020 and 2021, but just like any workplace, it has its own set of pitfalls and possibilities. In fact, they inspired Rebel’s very own Marketing Manager Toni Kuziak to write a poem about the Zoom struggles we’ve all shared, and it sums up the experience perfectly: .
“You’re about to say greetings on a Zoom meeting but your cat runs across your keyboard.
Your wifi is lagging,
Oh this day is dragging,
Your workspace has now moved to the floor.
But meeting after meeting,
The conversations are intriguing,
And the obstacles you’re defeating are no more.
You’ve made it through the last Zoom meeting,
Each problem only fleeting,
Now, your ideas can soar.“
Like Toni says, any Zoom problem is fleeting. But how do you get through them? And how do you foster client relationships even when the tool you’re using to contact them threatens to get in the way?
The Struggle is Real
First, acknowledge that #ZoomFatigue is real. A Stanford University study published in April 2021 found that “Zoom fatigue,” a feeling of self-consciousness that sets in after spending too many meetings as a talking head in a Zoom screen, is taking a toll on frequent users.
That malaise, together with external factors like the ones Toni mentioned, can conspire to adversely affect personal performance, distract from agendas and generally disrupt rhythm — if you don’t watch out for them.
At Rebel, though, we avoid that by making it our objective to brighten even the toughest days for your business (and even you personally—yeah, you!). We’re that friend whose witty texts provide an instant pick-me-up, turning frown emojis into big cheesy smile emojis. And when you meet with us on Zoom (or IRL, since we’ve always been a virtual/in-person hybrid agency), you can let your hair down. It’s a mutual experience, and because of our Swipe Right philosophy, we’d like to think it transcends the typical partnership.
At Rebel Interactive Group, our virtual relationships were thriving long before the pandemic. While other companies were experiencing video conferencing growing pains, we seized the opportunity to be a leader in that space, take our clients by the hand and guide them on the journey.
In other words, we’re happy to say we’re ahead of the curve when it comes to meeting today’s digital demands. Not only that, but we continue to build stellar relationships with clients that go the distance, regardless of any little Zoom hiccups that might intervene.
That’s because Katie Flannery, our Group Director of Client Services, recently unveiled the Swipe Right initiative — our nod to how people spark relationships in the digital age. The ultimate goal? Forming instant connections that make our clients, dare we say, “super-like” us, while driving the relationships to become lasting partnerships.
So what exactly does it mean to Swipe Right in our world? Here’s a quick rundown:
- The ideal relationship: In our minds, the perfect partnership boils down to these 10 words — authentic, personal, positive, honest, trusting, respectul, engaging, fun, loose and real
- First date: You only get one chance at a first impression, and we approach the discovery session like the ultimate pass-fail test. It’s our chance to ask questions and state our intentions but also show some vulnerability. It should feel warm and casual — we’re trying to make the client remember how they felt when they met us as opposed to remembering exactly what we said.
- Status calls: There’s an appropriate amount of checking in that goes on when a relationship is new, and we’ve found the sweet spot. We want to ask for feedback but we don’t want to intrude. And our advice is thoughtful and firm — just as you’d expect from a confidant.
- Meeting friends: When you hit it off with someone, eventually you’ll find yourself in the position of meeting the rest of their circle of friends and family. Part of our holistic approach involves connecting on LinkedIn and other social platforms. Boundaries come down when things start getting real.
- First disagreement: Every couple faces that first fight, and it can actually offer the first glimpse of whether things are heading in the right direction. Do you use the opportunity for growth, or do you let things spiral? With our clients, we always choose the former.
- Growth and commitment phase: The bonds are strong and secure. We’re partners now, and there’s nothing we can’t accomplish together.
The proof that Rebel is quite the catch comes from our Account team. Here are some testimonials about relationship-building in the digital age that illustrate our superior Swipe Right skills:
Mike Cooper, Senior Account Executive: “Rebel, fortunately, got involved with Zoom prior to the pandemic so we had zero issues once it became the new staple of video conferencing. However, cameras weren’t always on in the past; that’s the norm now. Being able to visually see body language makes the call so much more effective. The power of being face-to-face with someone in person will never be outdone, but video conferencing definitely gives it a run for its money.
One of my favorite things about video conferencing pertains to a client with a remote contact here in Connecticut who has several contacts in various offices in Kentucky and Tennessee. Having all of us jump on a call is like a mini-reunion for them as well, which helps bring an additional personal touch to the partnership. I also have a roofing client that, because of video conferencing and the vastly digital world we live in, is now able to handle everything — from the initial discussion on Zoom to the electronic signing of the contract to the finished roof being shown by drone footage — without ever having to meet face-to-face. I cannot wait to see how the power of video conferencing progresses over the next decade.”
Samantha Manz, Account Executive: “Building a relationship with my clients is something that is crucial for an account executive, and for the work. We both have to work together every day, so if you don’t get to know your clients on a personal level and aren’t able to crack jokes, talk about margaritas and even have open and honest conversations to build that trust, then the work will ultimately be impacted by that. If I can build that vibe with my clients, it makes working on their account that much more enjoyable. You even become an evangelist for their business.”
Greg Davis, Account Director: “During the lockdown, and now in the (semi) post-Covid world, we’ve all adjusted to life on Zoom meetings. Transitioning from presenting in the boardroom to behind our own screens, the virtual meetings have become a sort of equalizer, especially when it comes to creating relationships with new clients you may not be able to actually meet in person. Earlier in the pandemic, it became an easy topic of conversation: ‘has your office re-opened yet?’ … ‘how are your kids handling school virtually?’ And in a lot of ways, I think the advent of video conferencing in the business world has really made things better not worse for agencies to create connections between clients and client services folks — there is no more hiding behind an email or phone handset.”
A First Fight? No Sweat
So how do you practice Swipe Right principles when your interactions with a client are literally relegated to screens? It starts with making an authentic and natural first impression. Just as dating profiles that are too embellished can be a turn-off, our discovery meetings with new clients feel structured but not orchestrated. We start with a fun fact or a lighthearted introduction and seek out common interests. And we ask questions that let you know we care about the people behind the business.
If a disagreement should arise — a first fight — the Swipe Right response is to use it for good. The break-up doesn’t have to be imminent; instead, we take the opportunity to pause, learn and grow. Rebel will always give it to our clients straight. We’ve dedicated ourselves to owning the hard truths. We never sugar-coat what we might see in the data or in our market analysis. And we don’t hesitate to give a good ol’ gut check when our clients need it most.
It is natural to not always see eye-to-eye. But we seek to understand our partners inside and out, developing a better feel for their needs. The emphasis is on education, and the partnership strengthens as a result.
And in the event one of those unwanted Zoom glitches occurs, we roll with it. We briefly acknowledge that yes, someone got stuck looking like a potato for a second, and we move on. Those little moments humanize us in our clients’ eyes, helping to ensure that relationships develop into something stable and productive. That’s the Swipe Right way.
Like what you see? Swipe Right and see if there’s a spark with Rebel. We’re confident you’ll want to be exclusive once you get to know us.