Every agency, design firm, freelancer, or client has a unique blend of processes for making sales, providing their service, handling cash flow, and managing their company. Here at Kuztek we use a mix of project management, time tracking, invoicing, task, email, chatting, note-taking, bookkeeping, and desktop utilities just for organizing and charging for our service offering. This doesn’t include all the processes we have for ongoing marketing, content creation, writing code, deployment to servers, etc. New tools come out all the time and as my colleague Curtis says you can waste so much time just trying out new tools. But investing in building great processes can be very valuable, let’s talk about why.
Your process is like that Titanium framing hammer
I have friends who are plumbers, electricians, painters, and carpenters and they all would attest to the value of having quality tools and quality supplies to complete tasks. Those quality tools( hammers, saws, brushes, nail guns, wrenches) and quality supplies(wood, paint, pipe, etc) can be the difference between a successful project and an utter failure. Investing in the right tools can be a costly expense but the rewards are well worth it. In digital services I like to think that our processes and systems are like those physical tools. There can be a big up-front cost to getting the right tools but in the long run it saves time and money to be working with effective and optimized processes.
Process revamps take time and thought
We have always had a very relaxed process for both validating prospects and onboarding new customers but a few weeks ago we decided to invest time into improving our process.
Our goals for a better process were:
- Be more professional
- A better experience for the client
- Use less effort so we can put our time into adding actual value to our projects for clients
- Decrease the amount of time spent on clients or projects that may not be the best fit for our company
To start our revamp we evaluated our workflow from first contact through getting a contract signed and invoice deposited right up to the client being set up in our project management software. We didn’t want to be starting every customer interaction from scratch or be writing the same emails to every prospect or new customer so we reviewed a number of great resources on emailing customers and onboarding to get our content right. We then decided on using Alfred 3 text snippets and Gmails canned messages for storing some templates we can use over and over again in our communications . For project management we had been primarily using email for communicating with clients but Gmails wonderful search can only get you so far in finding the details of a project buried in a sea of messages with the client. We got ourselves set up on TeamWorkPM as a centralized location for our conversations and task management with clients. Now we can have specific threads to discuss each feature with the client as needed and it wont be hidden in our email account anymore.
Your process is never complete
I would say that right now we have a good start on using a better process for working with our potential and actual clients but it is never perfect. As we work with new clients and come across different problems we will continue to adjust our process, our text snippets, and our organizational system to better serve customers. So our process now is a lot better than it was two weeks ago, we feel confident that we are better serving our customers and providing a more consistent experience in less time than we were before, but we also know that a year from now our process is going to be smoother, faster, and more efficient because we are dedicated to investing in it just like a tradesperson would invest in their tools on a regular basis. Now that we have put time into setting up a great process we are also increasingly mindful to note where we can improve things and save even more time.