Increase Client Collaboration

Please read the original post, published on The OnePlace Blog, May 27th, 2010

If you’re like many of us and working in a client or customer service business, you tend to do a lot of work for your customers and clients. There is a lot of communication going back and forth, and products and projects are being updated for the benefit of the client.

When you’ve already taken the necessary steps to improve internal team collaboration within your business and are using a solution like OnePlace, you see an increase in the quality of work and communications happening among your team. But then – horror of horrors – you need to take a file out of your collaboration solution (thus rendering it outdated) and email it to your client.

If you just said “Wow, this sounds very inefficient and ineffective,” you are spot on.

In order to improve the efficiency and effective of your business and the relationship you have with your clients, look for ways to increase client collaboration within your current internal collaboration practices. These three things are huge for facilitating effective client collaboration and producing a quality outcome that everyone can agree on.

Online Discussions
Being able to be in constant communication with the businesses who are doing work for you is an invaluable asset for a client. Allow your clients the opportunity to chat with you whenever they have a question or would just like to say a quick “Hello.” Hold an online discussion about the project you are completing for your client, and open up a chat function to instant message one-to-one or one-to-many. These types of communications will keep all interested parties in the loop as to what is happening with the work, and will also give your client the “warm fuzzies” for being only a keystroke away from your team.

File Collaboration
As mentioned above, it’s very inefficient to continue emailing files back and forth. Not only are the files rendered outdated as soon as they are sent, but there is a great risk of the files and/or communications around the files being lost somewhere in the email black hole. Collaborate on files with your clients within a file storage and sharing solution. For improved client collaboration, you should be able to upload files, track multiple versions of files, check files in and out and comment on file versions. This will allow everyone the ability to connect and collaborate on files in one centralized location, while also keeping files up-to-date and storing all file communication in a safe place.

Status Reports and Updates
Nothing makes clients happier than knowing what is going on by their hired service providers. Make sure you keep your clients happy by giving them project updates and status reports whenever they ask for them. You may say that this takes too long – however, if all your work, communications and files are stored in one online business organization and collaboration solution, your clients can see up to the minute updates and reports. This will keep them in the loop as to your team’s activity, and they will be able to report to others about that activity.

(Psst – luckily, OnePlace offers you a great way to tackle all of this with our Workplace Portals. They are great for client collaboration!)

Once you improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your client collaboration, your relationships with your clients will improve as well. So whether you choose OnePlace for your client collaboration solution or another option, look forward to improved communication and business success.