In addition to face-to-face conversation, I use Skype to communicate with my company's graphic designers and interns even though they sit about six feet away from me. My boss didn't really get it at first, but he's getting used to it. I use email to follow up with a client if I've missed their phone call. My clients didn't really get it at first, but they're getting used to it too.
When it comes to successful project management, I've begun to steer my clients and colleagues towards digital communication. Sure, it's easy enough to get off the phone with a client and lean over to tell the designers where the logo needs to be moved. But the problem here is that concepts and revisions can get muddled when not given ample time or the proper environment for analysis, leading to unnecessary rounds of revisions that can bust the budget wide open and annihilate the traffic flow within the studio. I'm a master list maker and note taker, so I know exactly how crucial it is to stay organized.
Effective digital communication is a two-way street. Over the past few months I've been making a big push to get every client to email me their revisions or comments for a project I've sent over. It's been a massive undertaking; like trying to teach your dog a new word for "sit." He already knows the command, so why wouldn't he just stick with what he knows? If the client has grown accustomed to relaying changes via telephone, that's probably what they'll want to stick to. But my client's time is valuable and so is mine, therefore it's worth taking a moment to sit down and work together to write out these requests. I could just scribble notes while the client lists their thoughts over the phone, but that just doesn't work as well as one might hope.
So why is this important? What's my end goal?
Simply put, people get busy. My clients are usually out at meetings or swamped with paperwork, so the time I have with them is extremely valuable. It's my job to maximize the use of our time together. Instead of chaotic runaround conversations over the phone, I'm trying to get the client to take a moment to sit down and adnalyze the project I sent over. An effective product launch, regardless of the medium (digital, print, or otherwise), requires analysis and reflection of the original concept and core values of the project. I've seen projects that were rushed out the door and they just don't compare to those that were given ample time for creative concepting, design, revisions, and masterful collaboration between all parties.
The ultimate goal is to deliver the best results for every demand that comes into the studio. And by implementing this new push for email in place of telephone conversations, my company has been able to produce better work in a shorter timeframe with more effective collaboration and happier clients.