At EchoUser, we value transparency in client relationships. Through clear communication, understanding client needs, and building trust, we collaborate effectively to achieve optimal UX outcomes. We grow and learn together to make a difference in the UX world.
One of our core tenets at EchoUser, in addition to our company values, is our Client-Partner philosophy. We have a triumvirate set of core behaviors that we bring to every project and every interaction with our clients. These behaviors make up our style of work and we believe, make our relationships with our clients better for both our clients and us.
We just finished up a PD (professional development) on Transparency. (If you haven’t heard us talk about them before, we conduct multiple PDs per year, driven by our team members, to grow and strengthen our skills at all levels on various topics). Transparency is the foundation of our Client-Partner philosophy: it is what we ground ourselves in to create long-lasting relationships with our clients.
Our Transparency PD focused on communication. In most workplaces and generally in life, communication is a key component of how we interact. For us and agency work, we find communication especially critical. Often, we work remotely from our clients, so the need for quality and intentional communication becomes that much greater. We use communication to drive the transparency of our work to our clients with the ultimate goal of fostering trust.
Let’s consider the opposite for a moment. What happens if we’re not regularly communicating? Our clients are then likely to make guesses about what we’re doing. If we are working with a new client, we haven’t yet developed trust, those guesses could tend toward the negative. Through regular communication, we can appropriately tell the story of our work and gain our client’s trust. Ultimately a relationship built on trust will allow us to do our best work as well as collaborate with clients to produce optimal UX outcomes.
So, what did we teach and learn in the PD? While I won’t try to recreate it here, I’ll capture some key themes and principles that we rely on in our relationships with clients.
We all communicate in different ways and have our preferred styles of communication. You (as project lead) will ultimately know your client the best. Figure out what works for them and align your communication style accordingly.
At project kick-off, set up the cadence for communication and determine preferred platforms. Typically we encourage a weekly check-in meeting to ensure a regular face-to-face time to discuss the project.
In typical UX fashion, it depends. However, being thoughtful and intentional as to what you’re communicating and when to use synchronous vs. asynchronous communication will help you get your message across in the most effective way.
Communication comes with a signal-to-noise ratio that we must be aware of. Clients often don’t need to know every detailed step in our process. Reduce the noise in communication so clients can focus on the important information they need to know.
As a final rule of thumb, we recommend regular status updates to ensure that our clients already know what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen before they even think to ask those questions.
We concluded with the acknowledgment that at the end of the day, we are all humans working together to create the best possible outcomes. We recognize the need to remove our “spacesuit” from time to time, especially early on in a project, and meet each other as humans to create a connection deeper than our roles and the current project.
Read more about our Client-Partner philosophy:
Published on April 17, 2023