Malvern Blog Series Part 2: The conference call

If you’ve had a meeting in the last 20 years, the chances are you’ve experienced a conference call. In the early stages of our projects, these conference calls are absolutely crucial, as we need to keep you up to date on all of our developments as well as making sure that we thoroughly discuss any concerns or new ideas on how we can bring the most to your project. 

Some of the most challenging aspects of the initial conference calls can be nothing to do with the topic being discussed at all, but instead the lack of visual agreement and the brainstorming without body language. With a person in front of you, reactions can be measured and opinions can be gauged, but your ideas can be difficult to put across otherwise, and certain things can be difficult to convey without that person there to bounce off of – this is why, where possible, we use video conferencing.
Never underestimate the difficulty of translating ideas across in person.

Allaying Fears

There is the potential for concern with customers that early decisions are absolute, but it’s important that a developer makes flexibility clear, and the fact that content is changeable. For Malvern Instruments , this concern was discussed in the form of ‘catalogues’.

In a previous meeting, it had been agreed that products would be attributed by Malvern , and upon logging in, an account customer would be able to see the entire catalogue, while non-account customers would have a restricted view. Concerned that they wouldn’t be able to change this at a later date, Malvern asked about the prospect of multiple catalogues.

Our tech team were quick to respond that, with the functionality we provide, we’re able to build a website that can use two or more catalogues. Rather than the hassle of managing one set of products for one website and managing another set for another website, you can manage them together – the URL is the distinction. Like everything though, feasibility comes down to time restraints, and while asking the experts what they would recommend is a great start, you need to follow that up with your own concise and clear goals for the project.

As a consumer approaching the developer, it is good practice to have what you want, or at least what you don’t want, clear in your mind. Imagine if a customer came to you in need of a product but wasn’t very helpful on what they needed – you coming back to them with technical terminology will only confuse them and frustrate you. Projects like these are all about building those lines of communication.

After reassurance from our team, Malvern decided to go live with consumables only visible to customers, managed in the CMS. Then in Phase Two, it will be developed to distinguish between types of customer.

Trust Me, I’m A Developer

There is a huge element of trust that goes into a conference call, which is why they are a great relationship-building tool for company and client alike. You must trust yourself to put ideas across clearly, you must trust that they have understood it, you must trust your developer to create your vision in the way your business will benefit most, and you must trust that when you finally go live at the end of the process, that they will provide the support and level of service you deserve in future should you need it. Conference calls are a good gauge for this.

The fact that a decision was reached so quickly here is indicative of this relationship; both sides benefit from this approach to the catalogue, as by the time of going live, Malvern will understand more of what they want, while we will fully understand the intricate workings of their site, and so are better able to advise them.

The project continues.

Click here and read "Part 3: Points of view" right now!