How to Lose a Client in 5 Ways: Tales of the Open Office

By Jon Page 6.22.2016

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably worked in an open office. Open offices are great for collaborating, attracting Generation Y talent, and saving money.  While there are pros to open offices, there are also cons.  There is a solution to these issues, which will be addressed at the end of this blog.

1. You had a crazy weekend…and clients know about it

So you had a great weekend. Super, but how does that help clients’ bottom line? Socializing with coworkers is common, but clients don’t need to hear everything you did this weekend.  I’m not saying don’t have fun, just don’t embarrass yourself or your coworkers.

2.  There’s a party…and your client isn’t invited

Open offices tend to come with a “work hard, play hard” culture.  However, not everyone plays and works at the same time. While I’m sure your client has indulged in an office birthday cake, they probably don’t want to hear a chaotic, off-tune “Happy Birthday” when they’re on a call with you.  Clients want to feel that you are working for them, not partying on their tab.

3. You’re the man/woman…and everyone in the office knows it

Sales, client services, and other client facing professionals tend to have outdoor-level “indoor” voices.  Not a knock on them; speaking clearly and enthusiastically is important for client calls, at least in Western culture business environments.  However, while you are dominating your call, you may be ruining the focus and productivity of others around you.

4. You have a million clients…and they can hear each other

Trust is key in any business relationship.  You work hard to create, maintain, and build trust. If a client can overhear other client conversations, that trust is gone.  Your client is thinking, “If I can hear them, can they hear me”?  Even if the conversation is harmless, your client wants to feel like they’re your only client. How much is a client worth to you? No clients mean no office birthday cakes, no happy hours, and probably no job.

5. You lost focus…like dropping a needle in a haystack of needles

Deadlines are tight and clients don’t care it’s a Friday at 5:00 p.m..  You have a report due 10 minutes ago, and your call is in 20 minutes. Mining through Excel data requires great attention to detail and focus, so if you lose your spot you’ll lose your mind.  It’s like losing a needle in a haystack of needles.  Clients count on you to cover the details. If you drop the ball, a client may drop you.

What if you could eat your cake and have it too?

This blog post is not meant to be a condemnation on fun, socialization or open offices for that matter. Just be aware that office noises could affect your client relationships. The reality is that office parties will continue, small talk will happen, and people will talk loudly on client calls. These are all good things, but not at the expense of a client.

But what if I told you there was a solution to reduce office noise so you could keep the fun collaborative culture of an open office, while maintaining professionalism with your clients? Would you like to eat your cake and have it too?

Let me tell you about sound masking. Sound masking is low level background noise that gently and precisely masks human speech, giving you speech privacy. Because it is at the frequency of human speech, it does not need to be loud and it is pleasant on the ears.  A sound masking system is placed throughout the office, so whether you are in the bullpen, a small conference room or the lunch room, you can work if others want to play.  Please watch the video below to learn about sound masking.


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