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As clients and businesses increasingly connect on a global scale, relationships need to be effectively managed to allow for good quality tailored work to emerge. The internet allows for communication to take place across time zones, but ensuring that it’s high quality and effective takes work. We’ve looked at some of the ways you can improve working with clients across time zones:

Set Expectations

It’s important to build trust by outlining clear timescales and expectations as well as fully explaining the production process. The timescales should allow for plenty of breathing space. Feedback can take time to be gathered and communicated, whilst considerations on the time differences should be considered. This will ensure that you can reliably deliver at each milestone, monitor the project’s progress effectively and keep everyone on the same page.

Regular, Honest Discussions

Keeping in regular contact can help to relay feedback more quickly, keep the project on track and to provide crucial feedback along the way. Therefore it’s important to work out what time suits everyone for a regular meeting and to make it happen. At No Magnolia we always welcome openness and honesty with each round of feedback and this is even more important when working long distances. It’s always better to allow the client to express their feelings at each stage of the project so that you can produce the work is closer to what they’re looking for.

Make the Most of Technology

Technology can help to make each step of the process much more fluid. Project briefings can often start as a teleconference across multiple team members, although we’re always keen to utilise video to get instant face-to-face feedback at each stage. For this, Skype and Google Hangouts are great, especially when multiple team members want to contribute. Slack is great to keep everyone updated on a project’s progress, while Pinterest allows for mood boards and visuals to be shared directly with clients. We also find the review feature in Vimeo invaluable to get notes written directly on video iterations, as well as the commenting feature in Boords for direct client feedback on storyboards.

Vimeo review feature

Using the review feature in Vimeo allows for direct comments on parts of a video

Make the time difference work for you

The time difference can often seem like a hurdle and a challenge, but it can be made to work well for your projects. Whilst waiting for feedback, use the time to develop alternative scripts, new styleframe designs or animation tests to help the project progress. We found that having regular review calls at 5pm GMT has helped when dealing with clients on the west coast of the USA, for example: we can then present what we’ve been working on during our day, and the client has the rest of their day to collate any feedback.

The ability to work with clients over long distances is constantly improving, allowing for stronger and more effective relationships to form globally. The range of tools available is developing all the time, increasing the availability of direct, face-to-face contact minimising the perceived distance and enabling open, honest discussions to make sure that each project allows for the best possible work to be created.