Oh hey, that’s us!
If you’ve been lucky enough to work with Inventive in the past (hey you awesome clients, heyyyyyy), you probably already know how very important open, honest, and transparent communication is to us — both internally and externally.
We tend to talk ad nauseam about it, but for a very good reason.
Today’s laser focus on customer experience and satisfaction suggests that full transparency with your clients creates stronger and more profitable relationships that allow you to deliver on your overall business goals and objectives.
Companies that are beginning to open up, and be not only honest but also vulnerable to the rest of the world, are quickly becoming recognized and appreciated. Being upfront generates trust. It lets people know you have nothing to hide.
Which is exactly the approach Inventive takes.
We’re open and transparent, and we communicate candidly. Our clients often comment that they appreciate that. If we screw up, we own it and tell you immediately. If your team is somehow blocking our progress or asking for scope creep, we tell you that too.
Immediately. Let’s talk it through.
James Shaw, COO of Inventive, said this about the importance of open and honest communication:
“I see examples every day where problems with software development projects or teams can be traced back to poor communication. I’ve seen people fail, projects fail, and even companies fail, when an open and honest conversation could have saved them.”
Say it with us now: TRANSPARENCY IS SO IMPORTANT!
But what does “being transparent” really mean? And in what ways can it be achieved?
Well, to start, “transparency” is a big word that can have many definitions.
It becomes a lot easier to understand if you think about transparency in relation to what your customers want to know and hear. We care about our clients — truly care — which is why we create a working environment that fosters open dialogue, honesty, candor, and trust. We also go into every project anticipating that something along the way will come up that creates a need for a timely and effective solution.
Our clients’ worries are ours. Our clients’ challenges are ours. Our clients’ problems, hangups, and distractions are ours.
And we will work through them, together. But in order to do so, we need to be transparent.
Below are just a few ways that we ensure total transparency with you, our client, from beginning to end:
WEEKLY STATUS REPORTS
One of the things we pride ourselves on is actively keeping our clients in the “know.” A way that allows us to do this is by sending them weekly status reports. In this weekly report, we like to highlight what’s been delivered, what’s in progress, any issues that may have been brought up, pending questions, budget, delivery timeline, and more. It’s basically the executive snapshot for the project to enable everyone to have a clear picture of the current status of the project. We want to make sure that you are involved in every step of the process.
One of the internal ways we make sure that projects stay on course and that our delivery team practices full transparency with one another is through retrospective meetings. The goal of this meeting is to constructively call out what is or isn’t working, and how we can improve as a team to better meet and exceed our clients’ expectations.
TEAM EMAIL DISTRIBUTION LISTS
An easy way to make sure that project communication is shared transparently is by creating an email distribution list (DL). We preface the DL with the word “team-” and then follow it with the project name. (email@example.com, for example). Everyone, internally and externally, uses this list for all communication! This gives our customers a single point of contact and ensures that if any team members are busy or unavailable, someone will pick up the communication thread and ensure that nothing is dropped. It also enables our customers and implementation team to have open and honest conversations about the project’s progress.
Transparency across all topics is important. But weekly transparency in billing can make or break a project. The touchpoint where your client pays for the services you offer presents an important moment of truth. Conducting weekly invoicing allows us to communicate what features were worked on, who did the work, and how much budget was allocated to that feature. No surprises — especially when money is involved!
Invoicing early and often ensures that we quickly have conversations about the value our team is providing. We don’t want those conversations two months into the project.
Raise your hand if you enjoy seeing the progress that’s being made on your project. Yeah, us too. That’s why we like to demo features (via a shared environment) as they are being built between the developer and the stakeholder early and often to get a sense of “is this what you want”?
This is a great time for questions and answers from all involved. Have something you want to change? Does your team want to pivot to a different idea? This is where we talk about those ideas and more to make sure those implementations are made. Giving early feedback to your software team is critical. If you don’t have this opportunity to touch your product, or if they are unresponsive to your feedback, Houston isn’t the only thing that has a problem.
BE TIMELY AND RESPONSIVE
Responding as quickly as possible to client phone calls and emails is not just a suggestion with us, it’s a requirement. If you have a problem or concern, would like to get additional information about a project, or simply want to talk with a human being who will listen, we’re here. Anytime. Being accessible to our clients is so important to us, as is making sure they understand our stated response time.
No one is perfect (except possibly Tom Brady.) Mistakes will happen. When they do, we don’t hide, we communicate. The sooner we address the issue by solving the problem, the sooner we can move on to creating an amazing product for our clients. Acting quickly to remedy the mistake and taking steps so it won’t happen again is kind of our jam and something we vow to always do.
LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN
Our clients are the most important part of our mission. It’s why we get up each and every day excited to, as we say, “Get Shit Done!’ It’s also why we get sad when they tell us about previous experiences with other companies who just didn’t listen to them. Inventive is here with open ears and an unyielding commitment to helping you solve any issue, challenge, or problem that arises. Your feedback and open communication with us is just as important, and we want to make sure that you feel comfortable coming to us with anything. We are here to make your experience better and encourage open dialogue on how that can be achieved.
Though it’s not always easy to deliver full transparency to clients in the day-to-day grind of business, it’s crucial to build trust and loyalty, which ultimately helps lead to profitable and sustained growth. Which is something we all strive to have.
By using the tips we shared above, we hope you can start to implement the building blocks of open, honest, and transparent communication, both with your internal teams and your clients.
Speaking of transparency...do you have something you want to tell us? We’re always here to listen. Contact us today, and let’s have a conversation.