How a Purdue University Comms Department Improved Client Relations

Steve Pogue

Do you survey your clients?

Gina Price, the Production Coordinator for Purdue University’s Agricultural Communications team, sure does.

“We did an initial survey of our clients and found out that they weren’t sure how to contact AgComm. They weren’t sure what services we provided. And, they didn’t understand our processes,” Gina said.

As the production coordinator (sort of like the concierge to the clients), Gina helps the flow of projects inside the department. Her clients are all internal — with a twist.

She serves 11 departments inside the College of Agriculture as well as Purdue extension offices located in all 92 counties in Indiana.

Reviewing the situation, Gina and her department knew they needed to look for project management software.

Situation: Lack of Transparency

The AgComm team’s mission is to collaborate with clients, partner with them and provide strategic, innovative ideas. Gina felt they could do better and the survey confirmed that.

“Our clients really wanted to be more involved with the process,” Gina said. With 35 people on her team serving over 300 individual clients, improving client relations was her number one goal.

Before Workzone, the AgComm team was using Excel and other teams they worked with had their own ways of tracking projects.

“I don’t know how we did it,” Gina said.

Gina also couldn’t see the big picture of what was going on. Different team members had little to no contact with each other, let alone a method of collaborating with each other.

“We could have a client working with somebody with a video and then that same client working with somebody in news, but neither the news nor the video person would know that,” Gina said.

After conferring with her department heads to determine what they needed, they identified three main requirements.

  • Not too technical.
    “One of the main requirements was to find software not too technical so it’s easy for everybody that has never done this before,” Gina stated.
  • Advanced reporting.
    Serving so many clients and needing to report on all their activity, Gina needed to report on capacity and share reports with her management.
  • A collaborative slant.
    The tool they picked needed to be collaborative, with multiple people having access to requests, dashboards, and project status.

With so many tools on the market, Gina’s experience in searching for solutions was a common one.

“I probably researched over 50 different solutions,” Gina reported. “There were a lot of solutions out there. Wrike or Smartsheet got really expensive with too many bells and whistles. And you couldn’t report with Basecamp or Trello.”

Results

Improved Client Relations

Remember that survey that sparked the project management search? Gina doesn’t worry about those anymore.

“Our clients are really, really happy.”

“Project surveys are consistently above average or excellent,” Gina said.

The feedback goes beyond the survey, in fact. Now, people are telling her how improved the process is and how much better it is for them.

“I hear from our clients all the time now that they love getting the schedules. They feel like they know what’s going on with our processes,” Gina reported.

Crafting Strategy and Hitting Goals

Gina dug into Workzone almost immediately. She recommends that other admins do the same as it was a great learning experience. She worked alongside the team at Workzone to develop a strategy moving forward.

“Connor really helped me with strategy. I would tell him where I was trying to get to and he would give me some options of how to get there. I thought that was great,” Gina said.

To aid her in setting goals for her department, team, and individuals, Gina utilized Workzone’s training programs to onboard her colleagues.

“Connor set up as many trainings as I wanted. We did trainings with just me, group training, and individual training. I never felt like a burden,” Gina said.

Gina continued, “Workzone is a great tool to help you stay strategic, focused and driving towards your goals. It also helps each individual achieve their goals within our department.”

All of her hard work has made a large impact on delivering great results to the University.

“As a department we work better together to build stronger communication plans and projects per client,” Gina said.

Steve Pogue is the Marketing Operations Manager at Workzone. He writes about project management tips and the buying process. When not at Workzone, you can find him playing vintage base ball or relaxing with his family at home.