Here are four other lessons from Inc. 5000 companies that are wining and dining clients virtually.
1. Send care packages in advance.
Before the age of Covid-19, client meetings were generally casual affairs for Stefanie Hill, who runs the San Francisco office of IT management consulting firm Pariveda, an 11-time Inc. 5000 company (No. 4,791 in 2019). “As in ‘Let’s go grab a cup of coffee,’ or ‘Let’s go grab a glass of wine,'” she says.
Hill is still picking up the wine tab–only now she plans ahead. For two recent client meetings, she headed to the post office in advance and shipped wine to the clients’ homes, along with wine glasses etched with the Pariveda logo. This touch createda way for her to match what they were drinking and leave them with a Covid-era keepsake. For a recent morning discussion with counterparts from Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, she mailed fresh coffee from Brandywine Coffee Roasters and Pariveda mugs. “We actually found a blend called ‘Social Distancing,'” Hill says.
2. Add the element of surprise.
For many remote workers, the Zoom window has become a constant presence on computer desktops. To liven up video calls, Kristen Liggett, group account director at Agency EA, an experiential marketing agency based in Chicago (No. 2,127 on the Inc. 5000), is telling clients to expect a delivery one hour before their meeting–but won’t say what. En route: a bottle of rosé and assorted cheeses and snacks from a nearby gourmet market.
“Who doesn’t love a surprise?” says Liggett. “And it adds a layer of fun rather than expectation,” she adds.