Working Virtually


It is not something new….

When I first started my Continuous Improvement Consulting business two years ago, I never met my first two clients in person. Everything that I did with the clients, from sales, contracts, and project work, was done over Zoom, phone calls, emails, and Google drive. While this concept is new to many people when COVID-19 hit a year ago, it is something that I have done over the past 14 years in different capacities. After having a great conversation last week with a few people, I stopped to think how interesting and comfortable people are becoming with this new way of working.  I decided to go even deeper.  I know how to work remotely and sell. For 2021, I would like to grow up on my own experiences. As we move into 2021, things will still be evolving.

Working virtually in a corporate world

While working in the corporate world, I worked with my Project Teams and my organization virtually. The various reasons why we worked this way was: lack of funding for travel, multi-country involvement, and the urgency to get things done faster when waiting for fund approval, or not everyone could travel. Despite all of these reasons, I could be successful without traveling when the time arises.  Sometimes I could get the Team together for a few days and then finish the work remotely.  But regardless of the situation of doing everything remotely or in person, I successfully overcame the obstacles.  Before all the excellent virtual tools and videos we have today, I used to do the work without seeing people’s faces.  Through the past 14 years, I have learned what has worked for me.

We do have the tools to be successful in a virtual world

Sometimes we need to be reminded that we do have the tools to be successful despite what we may feel.  Many people in 2020 have learned that they can meet and reach more people than they thought possible.  The reality is that I think a lot of us like that we can do this.  We can accomplish more in a shorter amount of time when the need arises. I’m not saying that we should continue to stay remote forever, but we can be successful if we need to keep up this way for a while.  My experience is corporate, and my first two clients have taught me this. The work I did with both of these clients was 100% remote without ever meeting them in person.

Virtual world client experience 

My first client was an international client with a global reach. At the time, the client needed to move fast, and working remotely was our best option to move at a rapid pace.   I never met this client in person or met with them on video.  I completed two big successful projects with the client.   My second client was unique; they did not have a physical office.  The owners and employees were all located in different states.  I met with them on video and even recording some important meetings for the owners when they could not attend meetings. We completed a very successful project with this client as well.    With both of these clients, I was able to do all of the strategic planning, workshops, process mapping, coaching, change management, improvement implementation, and Continuous Improvement plans for the future virtually. 

Hybrid environment

In my work with my clients and the corporate world, I know we can be successful regardless of what is going on globally.  We can do sales meetings, contract negotiations, Team meetings, networking, consulting, and project work while never meeting in person. While I think that in-person does move things along faster and miss the in-person interaction, I think we can continue for virtual for now.  As things start to improve with COVID-19 as the year goes on, I genuinely believe that we will be moving back to doing things in-person, with a balance.  Instead of focusing truly on doing everything in-person, I think there is a place for virtual and in-person.  We need to decide what is best for the situation, but if you need to do something 100% virtually, know that it can be done successfully. Over this past year, we have seen that we should continue to evolve as we move forward.


What are your thoughts about working virtually?

Do you like it or hate it?


” I know we can be successful regardless of what is going on globally.”


The Customer’s View

Have you ever experienced a time of poor customer service?

Have you ever thought about how smoothly a customer experience went?

Did you only notice when you have excellent or poor service?

Now stop and think how you felt during these times. 

How do you feel? Ecstatic or angry?

Do you want to blame the employees, the company, the website, or the IVR (Interactive Voice Response)?

I hope these questions got you thinking. Each day each one of us experiences some customer service.  You participate without even thinking about it.

What was your last customer experience?

In case you are stump here are few experiences:

  • Buying groceries off of Instacart
  • Ordering on the internet – Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Home Depot, Office Depot, Target, Walmart, etc.
  • Buying something in-person – groceries, home improvement, clothes, etc.
  • Sending mail or packages through USPS, FedEx, UPS
  • Going out to eat
  • Ordering food for taking out either through Grub Hub or directly through the restaurant
  • Using online banking systems
  • Call your bank or credit card
  • Trying to resolve an issue with online retailers or banking

The list goes on and on, but you get the gest.  Every day you are a customer that is experiencing customer service.  Regardless of the business or industry, there is a customer view.  You may not notice this, but there are times you do not even realize how seamless or pleasing the service was.  You do remember the fantastic or lousy services. It is usually the awful service that gets all of the attention. Outstanding service gets attention too, but not in the way horrible service does.

When I’m working with my clients, a lot of times, they come to me for the following reasons:

  • Their customers (B2B or B2C) are complaining
  • Complaints can range from defects, missed delivery dates, wrong implementation, long wait times, or slow service
  • Losing customers to competitors for all the same reasons above
  • Employees are working overtime to meet customer demand for either B2C or B2B
  • Missing SLAs with B2B or B2B to B2C
  • Long wait times for call centers, in-person banking or grocery stores, or online support
  • Missing delivery dates of services, installations, or goods
  • Increased costs due to overtime, rework, quality inspections, or delivery of goods or services with defects

When my clients are at this point, they need quick fixes not to lose customers and market share.  When you lose your customers, you lose both your current customers and your future customers. Yes, you are losing potential customers and revenue. 

But how do you know when the right time to fixing things?

It is a gray area to know when because when things are going amazing and your customers are not complaining, you do not want to change the status quo.  You are thinking, why should I change things because my customers are happy.  If my customers are satisfied, wouldn’t changing things make them unhappy?

Instead of thinking that changes will make your customers unhappy, think about improving things to keep your customers continuously happy.  Knowing your customer’s journey experience is essential. The customer journey is vital regardless of the business or industry that you are in. If one tiny thing goes wrong or there is a disruption in the business (think COVID), you need to adjust fast.  It takes one bad customer journey or service to turn everything from going great to foul. 

When my clients come to me with the issues above, the biggest problem I see is not just the processes themselves but also their customer’s journey.  I take the time with my clients to understand the customer’s journey.  When mapping the current state, I map it with the steps that a customer takes.  By taking the time to understand the customer journey through interviews, surveys, KPI metrics, complaints, or reviews, I can understand how the customers (internal and external) feel.

It is also not just about the customers too.  If your customers are unhappy, your employees may be unsatisfied too.  Taking the time to assess how your employees feel can also lead you to learn how your customers think.  Your front-line employees deal with customers daily, and they know what the customers are feeling.  Another way to see if your customers are unhappy is to see how your employees are doing.  If you see high turnover, overtime, or calling in sick, your customers may not be happy. 

So, when is the right time to understand the customer’s point of view? 

When things are going smoothly or when you start to see the issues listed above, the time is now.  If you wait too long, it will be a long, expensive road to fix things.  Besides improving the broking processes, you will need to adjust and figure out how to gain customer loyalty. 

Customer loyalty is the gold in business. If your customers are happy, they will not only write good reviews online; they will also recommend your company to others.  Word of mouth and referrals are the bread and butter of any successful business.

Do you know your customer’s journey?

If you need help understanding your customer’s journey, let’s set up a time to talk.

Do not wait till it’s too late to understand your customer’s journey!

Customer's View

Have you ever experienced a time of excellent customer service?