14th August 2020
We thought we’d start the series with an insight into some of the trials and tribulations of Telescopic.
There’s ups and downs in every business journey. Our recent(ish) ‘down’ was client communication. And, no, it’s not even Covid related! It started to suffer at the beginning of this year. I think we got complacent, thinking that now the team has grown, everyone will take care of things automatically. But what if that doesn’t happen? What if there are gaps in the way things are handled? It’s ultimately the leadership’s job to ensure that there’s effective communication and processes in place – and we let things get out of hand.
I mean it sucks for everyone: emails get unanswered, or worse: fobbed off. The team gets stressed out because we have all these unanswered requests hanging over our heads and clients get angsty and confused because they don’t know what’s going on with their projects. It’s less than ideal for a service based business (and personal stress levels!). One of our core selling points, and the main reason we get referred to again and again by previous clients, is the way we communicate. Starting to lose this quality in our work was a painful surprise and hit us really hard.
After we identified that this was indeed the root of most of our anxieties and project problems, we started turning the situation around. We had honest conversations with clients, explained our circumstances and after some reorganising, I’m happy to announce we’ve been getting back in shape – and continue to work hard to improve our outputs. The main things we changed were:
- Moved responsibility for responses to the leadership team for the time being
- Put processes in place to enable dedicated team members to access requests and respond in timely fashion (e.g. general support email address accessible for everyone with dedicated responsibilities)
- Switched our project management tool to allow for better oversight and accountability
- Talk: we implemented a rule that picking up the phone should always be the first option!
We now have the majority of questions and requests answered – thoughtfully and depending on urgency – on the same day, or at least given a timeline for a more detailed response. This makes happy clients and a happy team. And to top it all off, I feel like we made a few new friends too!
Running a business is a continuous process of learning and improving, it’s not something that happens and then it’s ‘done’ at some point. It’s no good for anyone to beat yourself up over mistakes – they WILL happen! The important thing is to focus on identifying that there is an issue in the first place. Most things can be changed once observed!