How client survey improved Infinitum 8 development process

With this blog post, I want to start a tradition of keeping you up to date about our accomplishments. Maybe a little deeper about the issues that are not as visible to the public eye. This might be interesting to many – our potential employees, clients, competitors (we always welcome healthy competition) and others.

The critical client survey

In January 2015, we carried out our first client survey in order to understand what clients think of us and our work. We asked for an assessment on a scale of 1-10. As the agency was rapidly growing, we had concerns about the rating (we wished for 8). It turned out that our concern was justified, because the results were as follows:

infinitum-8-client-survey

We realized that in addition to the problems that can be prevented quite quickly, we have made some fundamental mistakes: the lack of systems and processes, some hitches and glitches with staff, lack of a decent job of quality control, and many other challenges. So we immediately decided to take the bull by the horns. And here’s how those horns turned out to be:

The core values of Infinitum 8

infinitum-8-values

The first action taken – precise definition of Infinitum 8 fundamental values and the “release” of all business processes through these core values in the future.Our goal is to meet at least one of these basic principles as shown in the following picture.

How will client benefit from it?

Any activity in our company is being analyzed on the basis of fundamental values. The client can only benefit as agency staff are increasingly becoming more and more professional, proactive, transparent, share information, delves into the business, work with passion and sometimes become “superheroes” who make something outside the clauses.

Structural adjustments, the perfect structure

Our biggest achievement, of which we are particularly proud of – we have identified the ideal model of company’s structure and hierarchy that we want to achieve.It includes both the the merge of existing departments and emergence of new ones, but the goal is one – to be able to give the clients everything they want from us. And clients want more and more.

One of “the Structure” ideas that grew up to the perfect future structure (though I’m not ready to publish it at the moment):

infinitum-8-structure

Consequently, it is being decided to develop new lines of services, which already are an essential need in our daily work: content marketing, web development and design. There has emerged a new role in our company – strategic planner – who  deliberately is being prepared for a full cycle process (design, planning, delegation, control, making changes).

How will client benefit from it?

The cooperation goes much faster if each one has its own place, and there is a clear model of internal communication and cooperation between departments. Such order eventually appears also in communication with the client.

Defining the basic process

We have defined all the main process of the agency, starting from the moment a potential client is knocking on our door until a new cycle of cooperation with the client begins, including everything you can imagine of the client and agency cooperation.

The basic process consists of 12 phases, each of which has certain responsibilities, components, the start and end result, without which it is not possible nor start nor end the phase.For example, if the offer is not prepared, then we can’t move on from phase Plan to phase Present.

infinitum-8-process

A-ha: the first contact with the client

Define: clarification of needs and information

Design: strategy development

Plan: implementation planning

Present: strategy and implementation plan presentation, coordination

Do: plan implementation

Feedback: feedback from the client

Analyze: results analysis

Improve: strategy and marketing corrections

Develop: presentation of strategy and marketing corrections, coordination

Act: implementation of corrections

Finish: a start of new cycle

How will client benefit from it?

After such a strict order of cooperation, the client can be sure that the whole process is controlled and done at the maximum quality. Even if an error occurs, we can quickly identify the problem and solve it, because each phase has its own person in charge.

CRM system

All Infinitum 8 work is being done within the CRM system, which contains an information on all clients, projects and events. There are strict criteria for use of CRM systems, and all I8 employees are guided by them, thereby avoiding possible misunderstandings that may arise in the work process. This improves efficiency and project control. CRM system reports offer various data cross-sections, which help to evaluate the results and identify the problematic areas in our work process.

We also do a time tracking – all staff involved in the projects are accounting for the time spent during the project implementation. As a result, it is possible to quickly evaluate the overdrawn and inoperative time of each project implementation, and other factors.

infinitum-8-crm

How will client benefit from it?

Nothing is being lost, forgotten or neglected, thus project assigning to colleagues during a sick leave or vacation is very simple. Instant and efficient information flow allows to put stronger focus on their direct duties.

Client Manager role reform

Up to the end of 2015 one person in I8 could be both – so-called salesperson and client manager. From the beginning of this year we have strictly divided these positions – one person can only be either a salesperson who deals with the processing of new applications, or client manager serving clients in already established cooperation process.

infinitum-8-clinet-guide

Digital marketing guide Elmars Aboltins

Elmar’s responsibilities include only work with new interested parties

 

How will client benefit from it?

As a result, the biggest beneficiaries are the clients. Client manager can focus more on the existing clients without spending time on processing new applications, which often requires a lot more time resources as previously planned.

Trainee process

Many of current I8 employees came to us as trainees, so we will pay close attention to this process. We have created a nearly perfect system that helps to select the most talented young people, to properly evaluate them in the course of work, as well as to find new talents, potential future I8 employees .

We are looking for trainees to do specific job tasks for a particular mentor, rather than simply selecting talented young people and then think what to do with them.

Trainees are immediately assigned for serious tasks and that is an invaluable asset in their CV’s – work on research, conferences, participation in various PR projects.

In our last trainee selection there were 5 candidates per seat, and we are very happy with our “bright minds” as we call them.

infinitum-8-praktikanti

How will client benefit from it?

First, the trainees are an invaluable assistance for professionals – basically all trainees are specialist assistants and are doing valuable work. Thus, the specialist has more time to devote to client projects.

Internal training system

During 2015 we established an internal training system, within which the I8 staff, representatives of different specialties, are training each other. Also, we invite guest lecturers – it helps to patch up the empty holes in areas in which we are not competent, but which are vital for direct duties performance – presentation skills, leadership, project management, etc.

Each employee has his/her own training plan, and after each training they must pass a test which shows the acquired knowledge. This learning process is included in employee’s motivation and remuneration system. I8 also highly appreciates the fact that employee chooses to study outside of an individual plan.

How will client benefit from it?

The main goal of training program is to develop the professionalism, but it also develops other skills that any client can feel in their project implementation.

infinitum-8-coachingWe have our own coach!

For some time now our company has an internal coach, already well-known Latvian coaching specialist Elita Kazaine, and coaching is being used as company’s management style (coaching leadership style). Elita has implemented fresh changes in personnel policy, process planning, internal training and other issues.

At the beginning of the year we carried out a 360-degree staff survey on personnel management. Its main benefit is each employee’s understanding of their place and role in the company, as well as of potential growth opportunities.

I don’t think that cooperation with Elita has brought something revolutionary, because, for instance, Latvian basketball coach corps also has its own coach with certain responsibilities. Just like it happens in our case – we are keeping up with time and going in one pace with the world’s largest companies!

How will client benefit from it?

We have set a clear goal by changing employees’ way of thinking from the “old school”, when employee waited for a task, to completely new approach – our specialists not only know what and when to do, but also come up with innovative ideas and solutions.

Sharing

Our passion still is sharing – we tend to share news, experiences, or simply an information. Maybe for some time we have been less active, but this year sharing has again become one of our top priorities. In our opinion, this process brings many benefits – it allows to look at our work from the sidelines, helps to prepare, makes to go deeper in the details, teaches to communicate, perform and evaluate.

It allows the public to understand the specifics of our industry more deeply. Digital marketing is a part of our society’s daily routine and activities, so we are interested to inform people as widely as possible.

We are planning to organize a new local conference, to develop new compilations of various marketing channels, new data research on e-commerce in Latvia, video tutorials, events for clients, as well as to implement other activities.

infinitum-8-sharing

 

How will client benefit from it?

Clients obtain awareness that they are cooperating with the company that cares and keeps up with the industry news. I8 keeps track of everything that happens in the industry, we analyze, test and introduce, and it all appears in our sharing activities.

Different projects

A bit too much for today, isn’t it? So I will only mention what else we are developing in parallel with the abovementioned:

  1. we develop and realize development plans for each individual service; department heads are co-responsible for the included objectives in those plans.
  2. I8 takes each client as the only and unique one, so we develop external communication model in order to strengthen such thinking in the employee’s’ consciousness;
  3. we motivate innovative thinking and there is already support for new proposals, ideas, projects, and in the future it will also have a separate system;
  4. we are developing company’s quality management system (with which we want to boast of already next year!);
  5. and, of course, we do not forget about the fun and joy of just being together: we take part in lady rally, the strong race and marathons; you can meet us at Stirnu buks and various orienteering races; we join in lunches, organize Friday theme nights with guests… and so on and so forth.

The outcome

What is the outcome of all of this? Or should I better say a halfway result? In November we carried out repeated survey. And here’s the results:

infinitum-8-client-survey2

We have almost reached the 8-point mark, and maybe it is a good thing that it is “only” 7.98, because such a result is even a greater motivation for the current period!
On behalf of Infinitum 8 – Aigars

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