A few weeks ago, I published the first of two posts about using Asana within your business. And today, I’ll be tying up loose ends and chatting all about how we communicate with our clients within Asana here at Rowan Made. We’ve said goodbye to email almost entirely, and spend most of our time conversing within one program which has been an absolute blessing. So let’s get into it, shall we?
Please note that before you read this post, it would be (super) helpful if you’ve already read the first post of this short series as well, as to better understand how we’ve set ourselves up within Asana …
I know of many creatives who use Asana internally, but are nervous to invite clients into their system. And I get it. As with most things, there’s a learning curve that’s involved with using the program and not everyone wants to put that kind of pressure on their clients. But what if I told you that inviting them in didn’t have to be scary (for anyone) or take a lot of time out of your day?
Before I started using Asana, I put a lot of thought into how we could easily onboard clients into their project without making them feel overwhelmed or confused. Because of this, I thought it would be helpful to walk you through the EXACT steps we take to get everyone situated and on the same page, from the client’s point of view:
01. INVITATION: First things first, you’ll want to inform your clients that you use a project management system called Asana, and that they should be expecting an invitation by email shortly, where they’ll find an outline of all of their next steps. I do this by using a canned email response that states the following:
“Rowan Made uses a project management system called Asana. I’ve invited you via email, so please follow the instructions and once in, click on (project name here) in the left column. Your schedule will then appear on the right side of the screen and if you click on the first task (that says “Start Here — CLICK ME!”), you’ll find all of the next steps (contract, downpayment, homework, etc.) outlined as well as an instructional video.
Our goal with Asana is to keep projects more organized, on track, and OUT of email. So far it’s been working great and I’m excited for you to try it out! Let us know if you have any questions.”
Once this email has been sent, I’ll immediately invite our client into their project folder as a guest, so that all they can see is their own project. To do this, navigate to their project folder, then find the grey plus sign at the top right of the screen next to the current member photos:
From here, you can invite your client in by email, and once accepted, they’ll be able to see everything housed within their own project. Without any further explanation, this would be confusing to your clients. But if you hold their hand and guide them into it, it doesn’t have to be.
Remember that line in the above canned email response that says “If you click on the first task (that says “Start Here — CLICK ME!”), you’ll find all of the next steps (contract, downpayment, homework, etc.) outlined as well as an instructional video.“? Well, once a client does just that, they’ll see exactly what happens next.
02. EDUCATION: That brings me to my second point, which is helping your clients understand how to use Asana. In lieu of re-teaching Asana at the beginning of each and every project, we’ve opted to create a “START HERE” type task that does the job for us. So, as soon as a client clicks on that first task, a third box will appear with welcome text, a link to an instructional video, and an outline of everything else that they need to do in order to get the project going. Here’s what it looks like:
If you take a closer look at the screenshot, you’ll see that the welcome text is short and followed by a link to an instructional video. This video is a simple screencast I created that walks clients through the user interface of Asana, as well as the various areas they’ll be using with us along the way. It’s only five minutes long, but keeps me from having to answer a lot of questions. ;)
After the video link, there’s a series of steps (sign contract, pay downpayment, etc.) for our clients to read through and follow, all within the same task. We tell them exactly what to do and where to click, which as a result, helps them get used to how things work. By the end of their “education,” they will have worked through ALL of the tasks that show up under the top section (shown above) that’s called “first steps.”
03. COMMUNICATION: Once our clients complete their onboarding, we take the reigns and guide them into conversation on other tasks when needed. For example, whenever it’s time to present something and gather feedback, we create a task, link to the PDF presentation, and include follow up instructions. We also make sure to tag our client so that they get an email notification to check in on Asana. I know this is a lot to absorb, so let’s take a look at an actual example …
First, you’ll notice that the above screenshot is for a discussion on a client’s brand strategy. The client has been tagged (@ + name) up top. Then, there’s a bunch of text that includes a link to the presentation itself, as well as feedback instructions and “next step” type information.
The client will take all of this in and respond in the comment box below with any feedback they have, just as the instructions tell them to. Luckily, conversing within Asana is a lot like an email chain or any other social media platform. Except this time, everything is organized by task and much easier to find down the road if needed.
Conversations like the above screenshot can happen within ANY task, but mostly occur whenever we’re discussing something that may need feedback. As long as you’re tagging your clients whenever and wherever you need them, they’ll get an email notification and can easily jump in and respond.
Overall, we’ve found Asana to be extremely helpful in streamlining our process here at Rowan Made, especially now that everything is organized and all in one place. We’ve had a few clients who required a little more hand holding within the program itself, but for the most part, the “START HERE” task has seemingly integrated everyone in without much of a fuss. In fact, some clients have started using Asana themselves, which has been really cool to see.
I know there’s a lot more that Asana can do, but hopefully this two part overview has given you some newfound insight into how you can improve upon your own setup. And hey, if you have any mind blowing tips for me, let me know in the comments section below. I’m all ears. :)