Executives expect to make 25% more in revenue when they are able to communicate with clients face-to-face again, according to research by Accor.
Surveys of its customers throughout this year found professionals anticipate they will make an average of 23% more deals a year when they are able to speak to their contacts face-to-face rather than using only video or phone conferencing options.
Workers also think that one face-to-face meeting has the equivalent impact of roughly three video or conference calls.
When asked what challenges they have faced while using technology rather than having face-to-face meetings for work, the most common answer was having technology issues such as bad quality or dropping out of video conferences (37%).
Nearly one third (30%) said they found it difficult not being able to see another person’s body language and nonverbal cues while 22% said they found it harder to engage in small talk to form personal relationships.
A fifth said conversation is too formal through technological channels to build a bond with the other person and one in 12 said the alcohol involved in client entertainment helped create bonds and break down barriers.
Just under half (47%) miss the social interaction of meeting people through work.
“With the return of face-to-face meetings in touching distance we are able to recognise, now, more than, ever their importance,” said Sophie Hulgard, Senior Vice President of Sales – Accor, Northern Europe.
“The loss of face-to-face business in the last year has demonstrated its emotional and financial value.
“The findings of the research are compelling – a potential 25% revenue gain by meeting face to face will be worth millions, potentially more, to the domestic and global economy.
“The psychological learnings of the past year are also crucial – people need to connect and technology can take us around the world and bring people together but in doing so it can miss the nonverbal cues that only face-to-face can see.”
“Digital solutions in business are here to stay but there will always be a need to meet face-to-face to get the deal done. Technology is a powerful tool but it will never replace the importance of the human touch in business. The results of our research, in the digital age we live in, underline the Hybrid trend that we expect to be an enduring legacy of the pandemic – digital is powerful, face-to-face is valuable.”