Whether you’re a marketing specialist, a graphic designer or a tattoo artist who refers to your garage as the “shop,” you probably have to deal with clients on a daily basis. These are your customers and your main source of revenue, which means that your relationship with them is key to running a successful business. That’s why we created Project Portals in LiquidPlanner, which allow you to collaborate with external stakeholders (including clients) in a secure way. This means that you can keep them in the loop on projects without spending hours creating status reports. Everybody wins, right?
But here’s an important question: how much information should you share with your clients, and what should you keep to yourself? Here’s our take:
- Documents, comments and notes. In LiquidPlanner, each shared project and task comes with a Details page that holds all the collaboration materials related to a project, such as attached documents, notes, links, and comments made between you and your team members. The fact that your client can sign in anytime he or she pleases and view all of the materials and information surrounding a project (without sending you an email request for it) is invaluable. Bonus? This kind of transparency will increase their confidence in your team, too.
- Tasks. The “Tasks” page in the Project Portal is a list of project tasks that have been shared with the client by the project manager. Your clients can see who is responsible for each task, when the task is due, and how much work is remaining. You can also assign tasks TO your client, so if they need to review something for you, they’ll know it right away.
- Real-time status updates. If you share your project’s real-time status with your client, they’ll always know how the project is progressing. The colored bar at the top of your portal shows the amount of completed work (green) relative to the work still remaining (blue). It also shows how far the expected completion date is from today’s date as well as the promise date. We’re living in a real-time world now; this feature will make sure your client is never left in the dark.
- Private chit-chat. It’s great to comment back and forth with your clients about the work you’re doing for them right in LiquidPlanner – that way it’s captured in the project archive for reference. But what about your internal team’s conversation about how difficult the client is to please, or how to win their next project? Best not to share those on the Project Portal.
- Unfiltered documents and collaboration materials. This might seem like a no-brainer to most of you, but I’m still going to say it for good measure: only share “external-facing” materials on your Project Portal. Your client probably doesn’t need to see “how the sausage is made.” If you wouldn’t present it in person, don’t post it to your Project Portal.
- Your entry about them on Clients From Hell. They won’t think it’s funny. Trust me.
Do you have a horror story about over (or under) sharing? Post it in the comments!