Clients & Productivity

Reliable Agency Workflow Improvements (9/18/2017)

by David Tendrich

Welcome to our first edition of Reliable Agency Workflow Improvements 🙂

We’re working on a backlog of the changes we’ve made in previous months, but for now, we thought we’d kick it off with a few substantive updates we’ve made in the past couple weeks.

Big thanks and fist-bumps to April Greer, our Director of Projects, and Eric Michael, our Director of Organization, for always being on top of giving our clients a better experience and continually updating our workflows.

On Getting Paid

Collecting billing from clients is a tightrope all agencies walk. Even clients with the best intentions often don’t pay right away – delaying projects and project next steps.

???? Messaging enhancement: Clearly tying paying invoices to client goals.

Our belief is that if someone doesn’t do something right away, like pay an invoice, then they haven’t been clearly told why they need to pay it right away.

We applied this philosophy to our messaging around invoices, reiterating how paying them on time helps us keep your projects on time too. That seems to have made the lightbulb go off for a handful of our clients who we love, but often take their time on invoices because their plates are very full.

On Managing Client Expectations

As hard as we try to keep clients happy and projects on track – occasionally we run into friction points. After quite a bit of internal discovery, we formed a hypothesis: Some of our messaging left some clients with expectations we couldn’t — and didn’t want to — match, creating a disconnect we had to resolve before going further.

???? Messaging enhancement: Revising website & emails.

Our PSD to HTML service, while timely, does not claim to be the fastest – we instead strive to be the most thorough and caring in our work, so the end-result is either ready, or very close to it, when we send it to you. (Consequently, because our review/feedback process is much shorter as a result, we often are the fastest.)

There are some things we do quite quickly though, such as proposals, which we turn around in 1 business day with the exception of larger projects.

But by speaking to our quick proposal process in emails and on the site, we realized, as a by-product, that some clients were attaching “fast” to everything we do. So when we’d send them a proposal with a larger ETA than other companies, it created a disconnect, and we had to address this friction point.

We’re now going through our website and emails to find any indications of “fast” and make sure we either disclaimer it, or change it to a different message that’s more reflective of us as a whole, such as “accurate” or “thorough.”

On Improving Client Experience (Underway)

We love Teamwork, because as a 25-person team with lots of collaboration at all times, it covers everything we need. But we’ve discovered that many of its features are a bit overkill for our clients, and thus they’re not very inspired to interface with it all that much.

???? Project management app improvements.

We’re now looking into:

A) Eliminating tabs and features for our clients’ view, so they only see the items they’re most interested in.

B) Or, using an entirely different app (or creating our own) to communicate with clients – and just using Teamwork for ourselves.

New Process to Improve All Systems, Every Month

It happened by accident, when an amazing client of ours sent us a email that kindly said:

“We love working with you – but feel you could improve in a couple areas. Can we meet and discuss?”

Can we? Are you kidding – this is exactly the kind of conversation we love having! Tell us how we can get better so we can get better. I loved this client’s bold initiative.

In fact, the entire exec team found this so enlightening that we made it a monthly process that’s now a part of how we do things.

???? Client “What can we do better?” Interviews.

Every month we schedule another call, and essentially, just ask, “How can we do better?” The answers we’ve received have inspired tremendous change.

Curious about any of our processes? Inspired to take some action? Leave a reply below and tell us. We’d love to know.

And we’d love to answer your questions, and hear what action you’re going to take. Plus – sharing your action steps with others is a great accountability tool. Let’s keep each other accountable and on track. What do you say? ????


David Tendrich is the Co-Founder & CEO of Reliable. As a creative agency owner himself, he’s brought invaluable insight and creativity to our workflows to give other agencies a truly amazing experience. David, April Greer (our Director of Projects), Eric Michael (our Director of Organization), and Lou Levit (Co-Founder & Creative Director) work together to continually refresh & revitalize our workflows.

Discussion

  1. Chris John says:

    November 20, 2017

    Hey David,

    Love this post. Putting it out there is a bold move and I wish more folks did the same, it shows you care and you’re doing stuff to improve things.

    Totally get your point on the Client Experience. I’ve been on both sides of this. As a client getting parachuted into an agency’s basecamp was utterly painful and confusing. As an agency lack of client engagement and responsiveness makes a 1 hour job take 2 hours. Be great to see where you get to on this.

    Cheers
    Chris

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