That anxiety that comes with making a big purchase. We all have it. Whether it’s a car, a home, or even a new pair of skis (in my most recent case). Are they the right investments to be making for you, at this moment? It can be enough to keep you up at night. In the business world, there’s an added layer of anxiety that comes with the decision making prior to spending money with something like an outside agency. Not only will the purchase impact you directly, but also those of your team, the business, and your customers. So how do you temper those anxious emotions, make sure the benefits far outweigh the risks, and validate the investment?
First, let’s start with why I want to address this. Earlier this year I talked about how the design process can be an emotional one, for both designers and clients. I’ve long considered myself a client advocate first and foremost, and over the years I’ve gained unique insight into what both sides need for an exceptional customer experience. Our clients desire peace of mind while the team at the agency desires a level of autonomy. The great news is, there’s a way to achieve both.
Nearly two years ago Salesforce introduced the idea of Relationship Design – their commitment to building trust with every experience they co-create with their community. This concept addresses the idea that good ideas can come from anywhere and that it’s important to incorporate co-creative tools, methods, and processes to ensure stakeholders across the board feel empowered. This is something that struck a chord here at Studio Science.
At Studio Science we pride ourselves on not only helping our clients deliver better experiences for their customers (it’s quite literally our mission), but also on providing the best experiences for our clients, which includes that peace of mind about working with us. We know there’s a level of distrust with businesses out there (our CEO touched on this earlier this year) and we also know we play a role in mending that. We aim to do this through open communication, transparency, empathy, and accountability with every person we work with.
I want to give a glimpse into the process we employ at Studio Science to ensure our clients never feel like they’re in the dark, but are rather an empowered, integral part of the team who are co-creating a bit of magic with us. Here’s an overview of each stage of the journey:
- Proposal + Contract Phase: In this first phase, we’ll put together a discussion document outlining project requirements and key objectives, defining roles and responsibilities on both teams, and identifying key stakeholders. From there, we work quickly to approve and finalize a contract so we can get started!
- Welcome Phase: New clients – yay! During the welcome phase, your project manager will reach out to lay out next steps and request any necessary materials (which we’ll give you a detailed list of) depending on the type of project. You may even get a little welcome, gift, too.
- Handoff to Project Management: Behind the scenes, we’ll be simultaneously getting up to speed on all the pertinent information, so you don’t feel like you have to repeat yourself every time you meet someone new.
- Client Kickoff Meeting: We miss the days of kicking off projects in person! But until that day comes again, we’ll settle for Zoom meetings (with our cameras on!). The steps we take during this kickoff help all stakeholders to get on the same page about goals, deliverables, timelines, and the tools we’ll use throughout the project.
- Post-Kickoff: Here, we’ll schedule our weekly status calls and milestone updates, as well as any product demos or sales pitches if needed.
- Project Execution: We want working with us to be synonymous with peace of mind, which is why we make every effort to keep you informed throughout the entirety of the project while working on your deliverables. We’ll provide frequent check-ins, both formal and informal, and get written sign-off throughout each phase of the project.
- Post-Project: As a project team, we like to debrief with you to go over what went well, what could be improved, and talk about future opportunities that have been presented throughout the engagement. And of course we will make sure you get all your deliverables sent over with a tidy bow!
While I touched on the importance of setting expectations in my previous post, I want to expand on that and say this: expect to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. As we go on this journey of co-creating together, our team will inevitably push you outside of your comfort zone. This is when you’ll know we’re onto something great.
I’ve said it once but I’ll say it again: we design for people, with people. We want the only question you ask yourself about choosing to work with us to be why you didn’t do so sooner.
Now, with this perspective, and a new peace of mind it should be clear the great lengths we go to in order to keep our clients and your needs front and center with everything we do. If there is any doubt and you’d like to talk to me more about this, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m happy to answer any additional questions.