Programs to Streamline Your Client Communication
So here I am, writing my blog post late again. I try to plan my writing time each month and before I know it the time has passed and I am without a blog post...again. I was inspired to share the information I have for you this month by one of the designers have been working with. I could not believe how much clearer our communication was with these tools. The business of interior design has so many moving parts, whether you are a solopreneur or part of a large firm. You are talking to clients, contractors, assistants, vendors... need I go on? It can be overwhelming and sometimes information and steps fall through the cracks. What I love about the systems I'm about to discuss is that they allow for back and forth communication between designer and client (or all invited parties), the ability to organize details easily and keep interactions in one, easy to find place.
Trello is free tool that allows you to share information with your client. You can make checklists, add photos and documents and keep everything close at hand. Each individual block within a board is called a list which represents the topic of the items beneath it. As you can see in the above example the "In Process" list has sub categories, known as cards, that represent what needs to be done and valuable information regarding that topic. Users can enter each card and add checklists, comments and attachments. You can see inspiration on how to better utilize Trello here.
I feel Wecora is best desribed as a blend of Pinterest and Trello. Wecora comes to $30/mo if you pay for one year of service up front, $36/ mo is you choose month to month and has a 14 day free trial. It provides a beautiful, organized platform that is perfect for presenting ideas to clients and working as an online client folder. The layout of Wecora is intuitive and keeps documents and comments in view and accessible. You are able to categorize your collections and take images from a variety of sources which will allow your clients to review the link if you choose to connect it to the vendor's site. Like Trello, you add contributors who can edit and add comments if you choose.
Trello Vs Wecora-
Trello's platform is a little clunky and definitely isn't as attractive as Wecora, but it is free, relatively easy to navigate after watching a quick tutorial and great for organizing personal and professional to-do lists. Having worked with both programs, I feel Trello is actually better equipped for project management. New lists are created from left to right, rather than top to bottom like Wecora, which feels like a natural progression when moving a task from "in progress" to "completed."
When is comes to presentation, there is no question that Wecora is the winner. Wecora's professional appearance is sure to help your clients feel like they are getting the full HGTV experience (come on, you know you have been asked about HGTV like a million times!). Communication is better organized and therefore, you are less likely to miss an important note from a client. Wecora is also fairly intuitive and they offer tutorials for the best experience. Wecora allows you create a much more customized experience, such as background images, your logo and colors. Trello allows you to choose a background, but the customization doesn't go too far beyond that as far as the appearance goes.
If you are tired of scanning your emails for details that have faded from your memory, either of these tools can be a big help. I have started to use Trello to track all new tasks from clients, and it has been a life saver. It allows me to better prioritize my time and saves the time I have to go back and verify details. Have you used these products yourself? What was your experience? How do you keep your communications and tasks organized?