Most the projects we have implemented come from overseas. At the first stages of cooperation, many of them were worried about the issue of time differences and the organization of interaction processes.
In this article we will tell you how we build communication process, thanks to which the client can forever forget about the time difference and become our partner for life.
Brief Project Background (FYI)
Eight years ago, a client from Boston came to us with the idea of their own startup to create a cloud-based e-commerce platform for online stores with the purpose to quickly launch their own sites.
We had 7 hour time difference with the client, but it didn’t intimidate us. We knew how to properly organize the development process and what tools to use in order to achieve the best result.
Tool # 1: team interaction
The Agile Manifesto says: “People and interaction are more important than processes and tools.” Following this, we organize the work so that the client can feel our presence every minute.
To do this, we use several communication channels: corporate messengers, task trackers, e-mail and video calls.
The main communication channel is e-mail, where we discuss new tasks and customer requests, as well as fix agreements.
In the corporate messenger, we discuss current operational issues and generate ideas. Also build notifications and notifications from monitoring services are automatically sent there.
The information about the planned and completed work as well as about functional requirements is reflected in the task tracker, which allows you to restore the history and chronology of the project at any time.
Thanks to the use of various communication channels, our client can contact the developer at any time and quickly resolve any issues.
Tool # 2: project management
When working with a client from a different time zone, it is essential to use a fairly flexible process of development and project management, be proactive and provide predictable results.
In the conditions of our project, the clients might not always generate an ordered stream of clearly prioritized tasks. So in order to stabilize the work, we use a flexible method of process control, Kanban, which allows you to streamline the flow of incoming requests, avoid the accumulation of simultaneously processed tasks at each work stage and increases the efficiency of processing requests.
Thanks to the time difference, we test various ideas and help our client understand the necessity and feasibility of their new requests, thereby cutting off ideas that are not very good for product development and helping the client to get a really good solution.
Tool # 3: first line of support
The influx of corporate clients to the platform pushed us to organize technical support service on the partner’s side. We train their employees to work with the platform, as well as teach our techniques of planning and prioritizing tasks. This step significantly increases the speed of response to customer requests that do not require the participation of developers, and in general boosts the satisfaction level of platform users.
Tool # 4: busines trips schedule
In order to train the technical support team, we periodically arrange business trips that solve several problems at once: remove the time difference barrier, facilitate the effective training of specialists and are a kind of team building, which allows us to deeper immerse ourselves in the partner’s business area and to suggest some ways to solve a particular problem.
Tool # 5: knowledge base - FAQ
As requests from users of the platform come, we form a unified knowledge base that helps technical support specialists reduce the response time to user requests.
Tool # 6: logic of constructing tasks
In order to optimize our internal processes, we have compiled a single checklist containing the requirements to the formulation of tasks. With it, we can extract the details necessary for the prompt resolution of tasks from the minimum amount of information.
Tool # 7: expertise
We’ve been working with the client for eight years, and we have delved into the business niche so deeply that individual requests from corporate clients are sent directly to us. We treat such situations with understanding and try to quickly sort them out by providing the solutions that take into account our partner’s interests.
Tool # 8: emergency contact
Even in a perfectly tuned process, there might come up some accidental failures or critical situations. In order to quickly resolve such issues, we provide the client with emergency contact details, so that they can contact competent specialists at any time of the day or night and resolve the situation with them.
Thanks to the use of all of the above tools, we have easily overcome the time difference and managed to build a long-term partnership with our overseas client.
The results we have achieved together:
- the platform has been around for 8 years, and in this time the development team has processed over 24,000 tasks;
- the project employs 4 developers who process 50 tasks per week;
- the percentage of tasks returned for completion does not exceed 5%;
- 400 corporate clients with 1200 sites are registered on the platform;
- the total revenue of the platform’s clients is over $ 250,000,000.