Client Mangement

March 3, 2017

If you’re struggling to find a system of communication with your clients or collaborators, this minisode is for you. We’re sharing our tips for finding a system of working with others that’s outside of just email communication.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"If you leave the doors for clients to contact you in any way they feel, they'll do it."
- Emily Thompson

Resources

More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.

Transcript

Emily Thompson 0:02
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Kathleen Shannon 1:20
All right, what do you have for us today? Caitlin?

Emily Thompson 1:23
Well, I keep seeing various questions in both the Facebook group and the clubhouse about people who are just struggling with finding a system of communication with their clients, and even with collaborating on different projects with other bosses. So what suggestions do you have for finding a system or systems outside of just standard email for working with clients and collaborations?

Kathleen Shannon 1:49
Oh, we've got a few systems, I'll share how we do it at Braid, then maybe Emily, you can share how you worked with clients at Indie. And then maybe we can talk about our internal systems for being boss and how we collaborate with the team. Awesome. Alright, so at braid creative, the first thing that we've done to efficiently communicate with our clients is we have a contact form. So before they're ever even clients, they're contacting us, we're getting them all the information that they need before they sign on. And whenever they do sign on, we always start with a kickoff call over Skype, there's nothing like getting face to face with somebody. And as soon as they sign on to work with us, we are scheduling out all of our meetings in advance. And those happen over Skype, we let people know that they can email us along the way. But our process has kind of accounted for guiding them and directing them along the way in a way that they don't have a lot of questions like they know what to expect. And we're just kind of delivering everything to them as they need it. So we try and set up a system where they can trust us they feel reassured along the way. And we're all communicating when we need to the way that we all like to which is typically over Skype again, we like those face to face relationships. And then we'll also follow up via email. But I think a lot of pressure that people feel whenever it comes to like getting too many emails or phone calls, is that they're maybe expecting that the client or potential client wants them to respond immediately. And I think taking that pressure off of yourself will make you freak out a little bit less about how you communicate with your clients. But I want to hear from you, Emily, how did you communicate with your clients? Whenever you were still doing client work at Indie Shopography? Was it mostly over the phone or email or Skype? How did that work?

Emily Thompson 3:38
Sure. So the thing that I found out was if you leave the doors open for clients to contact you in any way they feel they'll do it in all the ways they could ever feel. So one of the things that I always made a very strong effort to handle is how it is that a client interacts with me. And being very clear with your client about it and doing it in a way that makes it easy for you to get your job done, but also for them to have conversations with you. So our system and at Indy was very similar to what you guys did at braid in terms of like that initial bit of contact, they send in a contact form on your website, you get in a phone call with them via Skype. But then once a project is booked, I always have them a PDF with like an outline of how it is we're going to work together. And part of that is how it is we're going to communicate with each other. So being really clear about how at Indy we used Asana, so we use project management to to manage our projects. And we did that as a way to keep all of our tasks in one place because website projects are huge and have lots of tasks and to do's and have lots of questions that can come out about individual tasks. So using a system that allowed us to communicate in that way was really important for me wait but as Numbers only internal facing right like your client.

Kathleen Shannon 5:02
Was it? Oh, your client was in Asana as well?

Emily Thompson 5:04
Yes, yeah. Okay, it's an Asana as well. And part of that is also to keep our inbox down, or the amount of emails in our inbox down. So clients, we would, we'd have a nice little onboarding videos, they could see how to use Asana, we would have have Skype calls, or pre scheduled Skype calls, to walk them through it if they needed it. So that they knew that if they ever needed to get in touch with us, that is the way they did it. And so managing clients became much easier when we became very clear and helpful, and how it was that we expected our clients to communicate with us. So having everything in Asana in that way, kept them out of our inbox, but also not showing up in our text messages or on our Facebook Messenger or anything like that. They knew how to get in touch with us, they knew that we would respond most quickly in that forum. And, and that's how we were able to get our job done. It all came from, from clarity both on our part and that we knew how projects went down. And that made our clients trust us that much more, because we were so confident in our process. But also on the client side, they always knew how and when they could get in touch with us.

Emily Thompson 6:14
I was just gonna ask, did you ever find any pushback from clients and embracing Asana if they weren't necessarily technologically inclined like that?

Emily Thompson 6:23
Definitely, there was a couple of of clients in particular, that had issues like braid creative, well, still enough to ever apply it to braid creative. That was a special case, I did have one or two clients that had a hard time with it. But again, once I gave them to one on one attention, and showed them how it worked, and Asana has some nice functionality that once you realize it's there, such as if you get an an email in your inbox about a task, you can just reply to that email. So for the client, it's very similar to just using email. But for the team, it's all showing up in Asana. So in those ways, yes, we had some people push back. But once we helped them work with the system a little better. It all turned out all right.

Kathleen Shannon 7:13
And I think that what I've really seen you do, Emily that is so good is you've made communication a part of your system. So you're going out of your way to create videos and train people how to best communicate with you so that you can do your best work, which is ultimately what it's about. One thing I wanted to share really quick is that I do get messages a lot to my Facebook, or even very rarely text. But if I ever get anything like that, I will simply say, Hey, I am no good at Facebook, this text is going to fall through the cracks, can you please just send this request to my email, and I will make sure it gets responded to so I'll say something as simple as that. Now, whenever I get pushback from clients, I do like to explain to them like hey, the reason why we went to Skype is because we get face to face time, like I explained to them why this is important and why it's helpful for everybody. And then also I will also bend my rules or buy boundaries for certain clients because they are paying for that privilege. So I've certainly had a client who had an emergency on a weekend. And she texted me and it's a good thing that she did, because I'm actually not checking my emails over the weekend. And I was able to hop on her project, it literally took me 15 minutes, it wasn't a big deal. But um, I will bend my rules for clients who have paid for that privilege. So that's something else I'm going to remind you guys, if your clients are paying you and they're paying you Well, it's okay to bend your rules tight. You know, from time to time, if it feels good to you. Emily's making a face and

Emily Thompson 8:51
a face. I agree ish. Like, it makes me and I don't know who this client was or what I can see times in which Yes, I would jump on something. But my motto is usually it's just a website. Whereas if you need me at nine o'clock on a Sunday night, I'm so sorry, actually, I'm not even sorry. Um, but part of that is also because I have systems in place. So that very rarely is something like that necessary. I'm pretty hardcore about my boundaries. But even then, we were just talking about how I never put braid on our Asana system. Because I do recognize that there are some times when breaking your own rules is just part of part of the game to keep a client happy and do the thing. But I am pretty picky about those and I have my non negotiable Saturday is a non negotiable for for me. Keeping braid happy is also a non negotiable on Saturday and I'm sorry,

Kathleen Shannon 9:48
but also at the same time like I would never be emailing you on a Saturday. I would know that it could wait so even for example this morning I sent you guys an email saying urgent the wrong autoresponder is going out on my ecourse I sent that to you guys, because it's going to be more work on your end. If we don't catch it sooner, you know. And then Corey didn't respond immediately. So I went ahead and send it to you, because I thought maybe he's moving. So like, I'm definitely aware of the hierarchy of communication and trying to be cognizant, and just trying to be respectful along the way, like, tone goes a long, long way. Caitlin, what were you gonna say?

Emily Thompson 10:23
I was gonna say that that was the key for both of you is that you mapped it out ahead of time. And I think a lot of these people who are having issues with client communications, they're onboarding them, and then they're just leaving communication open for the duration of the project. Whereas if you say, Okay, we have these pre scheduled check ins, the client knows that you're going to have those check ins and they can hold their questions till then, or just know that you're still going to be working on it. It's not just Yes, big old blank future.

Emily Thompson 10:53
Being proactive versus reactive is the name of the game and client management, for sure.

Kathleen Shannon 11:02
So I recently invited my newsletter list over at braid creative to ask me anything. And one question I was surprised to get from so many people was, how do I make time to work out? And it's a good question. I have a toddler, a family, a couple of businesses to sustain. I'm writing a book, I have an incredibly full life and full schedule, but my health will always be my number one priority. My best tip for making time to work out is to schedule it in your calendar, like the most important meeting of the day. But scheduling It is one thing and actually doing it as another there are so many excuses not to work out from social anxiety at the gym to work deadlines to bad weather, but I've got something for you. aptiv is an app that is like your own personal trainer on demand anytime. It's a curated playlist plus guidance from a fitness professional that will make getting your workout on so easy. Whether you like working out at the gym at home or outside. aptiv has a workout for you from elliptical treadmill through outdoor running to yoga and strength conditioning, walking, stretching, meditating. Plus, they have a ton of different trainers so you can find your favorite and get a variety of styles. Sign up for a monthly subscription now at aptiv.com that's aptiv.com and enter being boss at checkout and get your first 30 days for free.

Emily Thompson 12:23
Did you like this minisode Be sure to check us out on our website at beingboss.club. There you can find more from being boss including our full episodes minisodes and blog posts. And while you're there, be sure to sign up for our mailing list so that you can get access to behind the scenes and exclusive content from Kathleen and myself to help you be more boss in your work and life. Do the work be boss