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Staying in tune with Trello

August 15, 2020 by Olivia Berkovits

When working with clients, we’re continually trying to optimize our processes and streamline communications.

The accounts that we manage have numerous projects, often unfolding simultaneously. We’re often working on upwards of five items for a client at once. Keeping track of it all can be challenging: “Where was that one document again?” Probably buried somewhere in the flurry of emails – and under a vague subject line that isn’t searchable.

On these complex accounts, where we’re connecting with our clients almost hourly, we decided to embark on a different approach. Why not have a “hub” where all communication, feedback, and documents can live?

We chose the platform Trello – a fully customizable, online organization tool. It’s visual, which makes it intuitive for us – and our clients. Branded ‘boards’ for each client consist of ‘lists’ and ‘cards.’ Imagine a bulletin board organized by vertical columns, where each ‘list’ is a column, and each ‘card’ is a sticky note that can move throughout the board.

Easy adoption

We anticipated a slow transition. We assumed we’d post on Trello, clients would continue to email their replies, and maybe we’d need a call or two to reinforce the process. But to our surprise, adoption was seamless.

The onslaught of emails stopped. All communication, revisions, approvals and final artwork are now contained on those Trello boards. And, once a project is finished, the card gets moved to the ‘completed’ list. This functions as an archive – everything that went into that project remains easily accessible.

Increased collaboration = increased satisfaction

Another benefit to Trello has been increased client satisfaction. It turns out that they needed re-organization just as much as we did. Clients were excited to try out a new system and relieved that we proposed a different solution. Another upside, the many opportunities to connect – you can tag others in your comments, ‘react’ using emojis and add coloured labels to cards. These actions are visible to all, and much like a Google doc, occur in real-time.

This allows us to be engaging with each other in a way that no longer feels intrusive. There’s an added level of transparency because clients can see progress on a specific task at any point, including our internal dialogue, as we sort through a creative challenge. It gives them a glimpse behind the curtain.

A game-changer in client-agency relationships

Trello has been a game-changer for us. What hadn’t occurred to us before, was that email created a sort of barrier. We would design, meet internally, review, and then send our work out into the ether. Once we received feedback, those internal processes would restart. This traditional workflow reinforces the conventional delineation between client and agency.

Trello, however, breaks down those distinctions. On a shared board, we’re all working collaboratively as part of a team. What’s even better is that the efficiencies from this model have enabled us to develop more strategic studio pricing. The time we’ve saved in client management activities means we can spend more time thinking strategically –and also deliver financial savings for our clients.

At Parcel, we have a mantra that “change is good.” We adopted Trello to manage our internal processes and ended up improving our clients’ workflows as well. Now that’s working in partnership!


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