Keeping clients and stakeholders satisfied is not always easy. Moreover, delivering a killer project and having them coming back for more, is an even greater challenge.
Collaborating with clients is a balancing act between the quality of the project, the price and completion time, but you don’t always have to compromise.
Following is a list of four key ways a company or agency can shift focus from a project-first to a client-first approach:
- Automate project operations
- Empower team members
- Rely on real-time reports
- Optimize with a secret weapon
Having positive client relations is paramount for the success of your agency. It is not only about the agency reputation, but more importantly, ensuring there will be future work.
By having your operations managed, your teams are collaborating, and with accurate reports, you can focus on developing your client relationship.
1. Cohesive and automated operations
Shifting the focus from a project-first approach to a client-first approach starts with agency operations. So, the essential recipe for success begins with automating those operations.
Take this scenario: for example, internal operations are not aligned and projects are poorly scoped. Moreover, people are working overtime and there is a lack of internal communication.
We’ve all been there. The last thing that’s on the team’s mind is if the client is happy. There are too many other fires to put out before that can be considered. More so, there is a likely chance that team members will come down with stress.
Project Manager’s want every project to run as smooth as possible. 37% of project failures come from having a lack of clear goals (PMI, 2017). If people are too stressed due to lack of clarity, maintain that positive rapport with the client becomes much harder to do.
For cohesive operations, the foundation that successful projects require is a combination of project planning and resource management. Having a platform in place to help you manage your work can make that cohesion possible.
If there are disjointed operations, then that’s the first sign that your agency might still be rooted in a project-first approach rather than client-first. Shifting to a client-first approach is to work with the client by accurately estimating the scope of the project.
2. Team members know who they are working with
The second way to move from a project-first approach to a client- first approach sounds easier than it is in practice. It’s all about collaboration, both internally and with your clients. Why is team collaboration so important? It’s simply because your team members are the backbone of your project’s success.
Plus, having a platform that displays project deadlines, and provides visibility of what you and your team are working on increases transparency. The likelihood of meeting your deadlines relies on the fact that your team is fully, but not overly, allocated.
What your teams to be positively motivated? Provide them with a platform, like Forecast, that offers teams all the functionality they need to collaborate effectively.
The top five most used and requested features in project management software include, time tracking, email integrations, Gantt Charts, budgeting, and file sharing (Capterra, 2015).
Additionally, 66% of organizations use a project management platform to facilitate communication with their clients (Capterra, 2015). That external collaboration is vital to client success.
Not only do clients get a glimpse into the project operations, with Forecast, but clients can also stay up-to-date with access to live shareable reports.
Don’t underestimate the power of collaboration, internally and externally. Because the client’s involvement throughout the project process is essential for creating amazing digital projects.
3. Accurate reporting makes all the difference
Looking into five different places to find one metric not only sounds exhausting. But moreover, the metric is probably inaccurate. Similarly with having disjointed operations, causing the focus to be on the project-first rather than having a client-first, so too do inaccurate reports.
Transparent and in-depth business insights are the result of having a connected management system where real data across the whole agency verify the information.
Working from one platform gives you that one source of truth into project operations, time and task management. Seeing what isn’t going as planned and being able to take action before it’s too late, allows you to be proactive rather than reactive.
Driving project initiatives with project management companies save 28 times more money as their project outputs are completed successfully (PMI, 2017). Ultimately, combining projects, resources, and business intelligence into one solution will provide you with more accurate reports.
Seeing what is going on in your agency by looking in just one place allows you to be proactive with clients rather than reactive to just projects.
4. Your secret weapon
Work more efficiently with Artificial Intelligence (AI). Why? Well, simply because AI enables you to clearly spot projects that are at risk of delay or veering off track. The manual and tedious project work can be taken care of by an AI automated project management platform.
Team members can quickly log their time to a task or suggested time entries, making it easier for them to get their work done. Additionally, your agency gains more accurate reports on where time is spent, and on which project.
Optimizing resource schedules with automated allocations will improve the way you work, and how you manage future projects. This automation acts as a secret weapon for your agency, by freeing up more time for building client relations, supporting the client’s business, and in turn, filling your agency’s pipeline.
Taking a client-first approach means that you have more time to focus on more than just executing your projects, but optimizing them.
Having a platform that has everything connected – from team collaboration, project planning, budget planning, forecasting, resource scheduling, capacity management, and task management – will provide your agency with the means to focus on client relations with every operation that taken care of.