Do it Yourself?
November 14, 2017
“If you want a job done well, do it yourself,’ so my old gran used to say, admits Col Robertson, Education lead at Blumilk. “She was always a bit of a fuss pot but she taught me well,” adds Col. “I always wanted to show her that she might want to change her view a bit. I did once or twice.”
There are lots of occasions in professional life, when ‘Gran’s approach’ is the right approach. There are others however, when it’s good to get a second pair of eyes and ears involved.
Respect and Honesty
Blumilk believes a successful client contractor relationship is built on mutual respect, honesty and openness. With this, comes trust.
“We’ve built our business on these principles over 18 years. We think this may be the reason that, at the last count in Q2 2017, we’ve worked with 86% of our clients for over 7 years; from huge global businesses to tiny local enterprises,” says Col.
Getting the Price Right
“We’re driven by a real passion for what we do. Our range of services is quite broad. From helping with strategies and campaigns right through to open day flyers. We believe our creative output and professionalism is hard to beat. But as we all know, this can come to nothing if the price is not right for both our clients and ourselves,” says Col.
“Being totally transparent on price is key to the way we work. The education sector in particular has been feeling the impact of the UK government’s austerity policy for years. There’s no sign of a policy change either. From a personal point of view, I can see how this is affecting the school my kids go to.”
“At Blumilk, we always want a working relationship with our clients that avoids the potential day-to-day haggle over price. We carry out regular spec reviews to make sure we’re delivering value for money. We share these with our clients,” he explains.
Putting Principles into Practice
“With each new client, we believe it’s important they get to know us and we start to get to know them,” explains Lauren Hindhaugh, Blumilk’s Client Engagement Manager. ”This induction phase usually takes just a couple of weeks.”
“Each client has a dedicated Project Manager whose job is to control the details of each project or job we’re asked to do. We expect the Project Manager to have day-to-day contact, face-to-face if needed but certainly by a personal ‘touch base’ phone call. Or as a last resort by email,” says Lauren.
Reflection is Good
“Every month as a minimum, we’ve started to host what we call a Reflective with key clients. These are face-to-face meetings or conference calls between our team and our client’s team,” highlights George Robertson, Blumik’s Operations Director.
“A typical Reflective, lasts around 30 minutes. They are opportunities to take a wider look at what’s been going on. We look at project milestones and pipelines plus any issues we’ve had with jobs. It’s also important to make sure we celebrate successes. It’s too easy to forget the good things that happen when there’s so much going on and you’re real busy.”
Retrospection is the Way Forward
“In addition, we’ve been hosting what we call Retrospectives. These are half day, twice a year events,” says George.
“We look over what has worked well in the previous 6 months, what could have been done better, and the successes we should jointly celebrate. One of our team also presents our take on industry trends. The discussions and interactions are really great.”
Office-Share is More than Bums on Seats
Office-Share is an opportunity for Blumilk clients to escape from their normal working environment to get on with work to be done in ‘peace and quiet’ in the Cube meeting room at Blumilk’s Newcastle, England, HQ.
“A number of our clients have taken advantage of this on maybe two or three days a year,” says George. “We get benefit from this as well. It gives us the chance to talk through projects and ideas with clients, more informally.”
Mentoring is Great All Round
“Mentoring is something we’ve started to offer,” says Wendy Robson, Blumilk’s Head of Design.
“It’s proved really helpful particularly for our clients’ creative staff. Some designers work in relative isolation in big organisations. This can make them feel really lonely. And, can mean they get a bit stale. It’s good for them to spend a day every now and then with my design team. We can share our ideas and help them develop there’s”.
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