This post is included in a multi-part series on Client Communication.
Clients will oftentimes notice issues with process and project management before they criticize any of the project deliverables. For many marketing agencies and freelancers who design and develop websites, their overuse of email has caused clients to feel like projects are messy and disorganized. While it can be highly effective, email has its limitations, especially when it comes to managing creative and web projects.
Email is a useful tool when it comes to keeping everyone, specifically stakeholders, in the loop but email very quickly becomes unwieldy during iterative projects. Client communication tools do what email cannot. In this post, we’ll explore where email fits in a successful client communication strategy.
When to use email:
- You need a record of communication with client stakeholders
- Administrative communication (organizing calls or meetings)
- Written approvals for deliverables
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When to use a Client Communication Platform
Collecting feedback on creative and servicing revisions
Email struggles when it comes to managing the feedback and revision cycle on design and website projects. Feedback tends to get lost in email. Project managers have to spend time dissecting the feedback and placing the feedback into a project management tool for production members to reference in order to implement the feedback.
Using a platform, such as SimpleStage, allows PMs to manage feedback, revisions, and bug tracking to bring organization to a project. Email is not a centralized place for clients and agency staff to collaborate and communicate on a project to keep it moving forward efficiently.
Collaborating on content
It’s a headache to provide and collaborate on content through email. Providing a Google doc or Word doc for content is incrementally better. The best solution for collaborating on content is to use a platform that provides a structured method for receiving content.
SimpleStage provides customizable content fields for you to write and collect content to fit within a custom design. Email is ineffective at this because your clients will send content without the design in mind creating an unnecessary back and forth process to nail down the content that fits within the design.
Bug reporting and tracking
Before a website launches, it’s critical for it to go through a QA process to ensure all functionality is working as it should. If this process is managed through email you’ll get emails from your client saying things like “The contact us page is broken.” This communication format requires lots of back and forth to determine additional details that help developers troubleshoot the issue like what browser and screen width the client is viewing the website on. Bug reporting and tracking software keeps all bug requests organized and allows production staff to move through the QA period faster.
Know when it’s appropriate to use email and when it negatively impacts project success.
For the time being it seems like email will continue to be a valuable communication tool during the website design and development process, but it has serious limitations.
Using the right tools throughout the process of working with a client on creative projects will dramatically improve their client experience. SimpleStage is intentionally designed to add efficiencies to website projects, while reducing complexity during parts of the project that have a high volume of communication.