We Need to Talk
When working with clients, do you ever feel things get lost in translation? Or wonder if there is a better, more efficient way to get things done that will benefit both parties? We hear ya! And while communication with anyone will never be perfect, we are sending you a few project streamlining ideas to b-storm internally and see if there isn't something you and your team can glean from our experiences.
Each new project kicks off with a hearty meeting of all involved parties where we get to learn the client and they get to learn us. This reduces resistance from some who may not be on board with the upcoming changes and provides an educational experience beyond our initial exploration and research. We also clarify the client’s main point of contact at this meeting, which is an important step in assuring smooth sailing later on.
Overcommunication is Key
They say too much of anything is a bad thing, but in this case, we are willing to take our chances! If we are working with a client who has never done a new website before, for example, this is ALL new to them and very familiar to us. If we take for granted that everything is a “first” for our clients, we might really lose out. Even down to the language we are using – wireframes, prototypes, buildout, etc. We have found that it is best to treat each client as though they have never done this type of project before which also keeps us on our toes!
Our entire team is accessible to our clients so that they can get needed guidance, answers, etc. straight from the horse’s mouth. And with us, you get a whole stable of horses. This means less of “I’m not sure, let me get back to you” and more PROGRESS. To facilitate our interactions, we use a project management application called Basecamp. Every email, all files, and project deadlines are stored in Basecamp. Not sure which team member to ask? Send it to the entire team through Basecamp simply by checking the box next to “All of Terrostar”. No need to remember our email addresses or save new contacts, just log in and everything anyone needs is there. While we still hand out fancy business cards, our email addresses are nearly irrelevant now thanks to this organized, can’t-live-without tool.
Most people see them as a necessary evil. But for us, they dictate everything. They allow us to prioritize projects, keep clients on task, and alert clients when an internal holdup or process is getting things off schedule. We are flexible and able to accommodate most changes but we have learned not to take for granted that the client may not understand that sometimes even the smallest change requests will push things back. In order to keep the integrity of our websites and designs, keeping everything rush-rush is a huge no-no. We try to plan for bumps in the road when deciding project deadlines, but when the unforeseen happens, it’s better to adjust deadlines than release a faulty product. There are some projects that are more of a moving target and others that have to launch by a certain date. Understanding which is which can make or break a good client relationship.
Once the project has come to completion, we meet again once more internally to discuss what we have learned and how we can improve. We are no sciene lab, but we like to keep our research and development folks (i.e.stable of horses) busy. We celebrate our successes and then we take all of that momentum into our next project. What we do is who we are and we really do enjoy it!
We agree that inter-business communications can be tough. Our advice is a different twist on “the customer is always right” perspective; always take accountability. If you are in control of the project and find yourself accountable for every step within that project, we think you will find that you run into fewer issues, stay on track more often, and are happy with the final outcome!