Solving Collaboration Issues
Collaboration between an agency and its clients may seem simple in theory because they are working to achieve a common goal. However, that is seldom the case. The truth is, it’s easy to miscommunicate or for the agency to skip a few steps while doing the job. At TM, we aim to learn from our mistakes and guide processes internally that lead to success.
These collaboration challenges may cost both us as the agency and client budget and time overruns. There’s a possibility the entire custom web project will ultimately fail if these hurdles aren’t cleared. This article will discuss two common bottlenecks in handling agency-client collaboration and solutions to overcome them.
Communication is Everything
Miscommunication and misunderstanding are common pitfalls in the business world. Every time agencies and clients need to collaborate, there is potential for these mishaps to happen. The reason is that people often overestimate their ability to work together effectively and are also overconfident in their communication skills.
During our client brief, it’s easy to assume because everyone is listening – you are all on the same page. You might also presume everyone has the same knowledge or perspective. People rarely test for understanding because they think communication is one-sided. A recent study focusing on American workplaces reported only a small section of employees (13%) agree their leaders communicate effectively. In most cases, the rest of the team feels left out.
To solve the communication challenge, we engage in two-way communication, which involves listening and talking. The breakdown of communication usually occurs when the sender assumes the message was well-received and failing to seek feedback. The receiver should also ask questions if they don’t understand the message.
When we use email as a focal point to communicate with clients, a timely response is crucial. Email analytics can help you review your email response times.
For effective communication, both parties should share their message multiple times. Their message should also answer all important questions, such as what, why, and how. Agencies and clients should also listen and check for understanding. The best ways to do this is by asking for feedback questions, answer the questions you receive, and confirm everyone is on the same page. Finally, both parties should be ready to adapt based on the feedback they receive.
With technology, it’s easier to have fast and clear communication. The parties involved should quickly respond to questions and requests. They should also consider employing project management software. Anything important about the project should be communicated through the software.
There are also new innovative ways to automate some of the communication and workflow while working on projects. One of them is the Zapier tutorial, which teaches businesses on the best way to automate their functions.
Every project requires planning. Planning helps share the vision to everyone involved, which is fundamental for smooth collaboration. If you skip the planning stage, you are setting up the project for failure.
Lack of proper planning also leads to a misunderstanding of roles and responsibilities. There may even be conflicting priorities and goals. If the agency is working with the client for the first time, there need to be adequate plans so that the work goes on smoothly.
To solve this problem, there needs to be a discussion about the objective of the project. The metrics of the project’s success, scope, timeline, and resources should also be made clear. All stakeholders should be involved and informed of their role and influence.
The planning stage should also establish potential risks, which could be bottlenecks for this project. A plan should be developed on how to work towards avoiding failure caused by these risks.
Finally, both parties should find a way to standardize processes.
Lack of proper planning and communication are the biggest hindrance to agency-client collaboration. Your business will be steps ahead if you can manage to solve these issues. We’ve implemented processes that have been guided from 20 years in web and marketing, and we are continuously evolving those. Provide feedback, we’d welcome it.