If I had a dollar for every time my memory had let me down, I’d now have…well… I forget how much I’d have. But the point is, I’d definitely have accrued enough to afford sunning myself on a Caribbean island instead of writing this article.
There have been endless car key searches before forgetting where I even parked the car in the first place. I’ve walked out of supermarkets, arms full of bags but having failed to buy the only item I actually need to get. I’ve arrived at the airport with luggage, tickets, but no passport. And, yes, I’ll admit it, I forget the dates of my wedding anniversary and my kids’ birthdays from time to time.
I’m not alone in this. It turns out that, while even the most advanced computers can’t match humans for empathy, creativity, art and humor when it comes to remembering things, the human memory was surpassed by technology with those 1980s Casio calculator watches.
Fortunately, we’re a species of problem-solvers and have created systems to help with the pesky process of remembering. From birthday calendars, wall planners, post-it notes and bullet journals to online calendars and mobile to-do lists, we’ve surrounded ourselves with systems of memory, so we don’t overlook those critical moments in life. We must do likewise in companies, creating reminders to keep on top of the vast number of tasks and meetings employees face daily.
1. Reduce the waste
When clients show up late to your meetings or, worse still, they cancel at the last minute or even don’t show up at all, it’s not only frustrating, but it’s also a resource vacuum that pulls on your productivity and threatens the bottom line of your organization.
According to our Doodle data, more than 70% of professionals lose time every week due to unnecessary or canceled meetings. More than a third of professionals consider the inefficiency caused by missed or canceled meetings to be the biggest threat to their company’s time.
Suppose the boot is on the other foot. In that case, if you’re the laggard who tends to miss client meetings, cancel at the last minute or join meetings late, the problem is even more significant, risking your job and the reputation and financial viability of your company too. Tardiness can be costly. Missed, canceled, postponed and poorly-organized meetings cost US businesses $399 billion per year. Worth setting a few reminders?
2. Encourage good prep
Reminders aren’t just about avoiding no-shows and late cancellations; they can help to improve your meetings. When we asked professionals in the UK, US and Germany what they thought led to a productive meeting experience, they said:
- Setting clear objectives (72%).
- Having a clear agenda (67%).
- Not having too many people in the room (35%).
- Visual stimulus, such as videos and presentations (27%).
Companies with smart and efficient meeting cultures use reminders to ensure that participants arrive in the right place and at the right time and confirm that everybody has read the agenda and requested any suggestions or changes directly with the meeting organizer. Reminders are used to provide materials, such as reports and presentations, which participants should read before the meeting, safeguarding the time scheduled for meaningful discussion and decision-making.
3. Set a good example
It’s easy to forget that, long before holding press conferences in landscaping companies’ parking lots, Rudy Giuliani was the mostly successful mayor of New York. Giuliani and his chief of police, William Bratton, tackled the city’s high crime stats by employing a tactic known as ‘broken windows theory.’ The theory essentially is that removing visible signs of crime (smashed windows, graffiti, rundown buildings, etc.) discourages further crime and reduces crimes’ seriousness.
People tend to rise to high standards or sink to low standards; if you want to hold successful, productive meetings within your organization, you’d do well to apply the broken windows theory.
Almost 90% of professionals are regularly frustrated by ineffective or poorly organized meetings or conference and video calls with poor reception, so ensuring you have those in order is an excellent place to start. Ther major annoyances include:
- People who take phone calls during meetings.
- Participants arriving late or leaving early.
- People who don’t listen or interrupt others.
- Attendees eating during a meeting.
- Participants who don’t contribute to the discussion.
With all that in mind, it can be invaluable to send out a reminder before you meet with not only the latest agenda but also a set of ground rules:
- A friendly reminder to arrive on time and remain engaged and ready to participate until the meeting closes.
- Don’t bring laptops unless presenting and leave mobile devices out of sight and on silent.
- Some documents should be read before the meeting as there won’t be time to read them once the meeting and discussion start.
If everything about the organization of your meetings screams efficiency, professionalism and productivity, you can bet that participants will rise to the occasion and the content, decision-making and follow-up will be equally impressive.
4. Build stronger relationships
Every contact, call or meeting with a client is an opportunity to communicate your company’s extraordinary and heroic magnificence. Almost two-thirds of clients consider companies that communicate with them directly more positively. However, poorly-organized or unproductive meetings also have an impact. More than a quarter of professionals believe that bad meetings negatively impact their client relationships.
Reminders serve multiple purposes. First, as we discussed in the previous point, they’re the ideal opportunity to convey your attention to detail, trustworthiness and professionalism. Moreover, in a client-facing company, you are there to serve and deliver value to your client; you should seek to make all their dealings with your company as easy and smooth as possible. Reminders do just that.
You can recommunicate the time, date and location of the meeting. Include any login details, so they have them to hand and don’t have to rummage through old emails to find out how to join the call. Add a summary of what will be discussed, any required pre-reading, and the meeting’s desired outcomes. You’ll be the best meeting your client has each week.
5. Opportunities to upsell
If it’s not clear by now, then we’ll spell it out for you: reminders aren’t just a way to ensure people arrive at meetings on time, but an extra communication point that helps deliver your company values, services and attention to client needs. That being the case, every reminder is an opportunity to provide additional value to your clients that might lead them to try a different product or service or to remain loyal to your company for even longer.
You could perhaps include a link to your latest company blog post or a relevant industry report with your reminders. You could include a case study of another client facing a similar set of challenges. You could even create and embed a quick video highlighting how a client could benefit from additional services.
Reminders can also serve as differentiators that help you remain above your competitors in the eyes of your clients. For example, suppose your client is exceptionally busy and has a tendency to run late or even miss your meetings due to their jam-packed schedule. You could send an SMS reminder instead of the usual email reminder. Text messages have a 98% open rate, with almost all text messages read within three minutes, so your reminder is more likely to land than another email. It’s the sport of attention-to-detail that’s bound to impress the client.
So embrace the reminder and make it an integrated, considered and strategic part of your meeting processes. You’ll find that your meetings are better, smoother and more proactive, with new clients queuing up for a taste of your acclaimed meeting efficiency. Plus, you just might remember the occasional wedding anniversary and birthday.
Did you know that you can make Doodle work for you? Check out our integrations page to find out what you can do.