When NOT to use Basecamp with clients

We use Basecamp to manage all of our projects, both client and in house. Hell, I even have a project setup for converting my Atari 2600 to an entertainment system.

One of the greatest features is the ability to give your client their own login so you can have all of your communications in the same place.

After using Basecamp for awhile, I’ve found several instances that it’s not a good fit to bring your client in:

  1. Their filing system is built around email – One of my clients prints out every email associated with a project and puts it in it’s corresponding folder in their filing cabinets. Since every other project is built around emails and replies, they were quickly frustrated by how Basecamp treats messages and asked me to simply reply to them in an email.
  2. They see it as an extra step – While we all know having all communication and files in one place actually saves time, there are clients that will see logging into a different system only as a time waster. You can try to persuade them otherwise, but I’ve found that in most cases you need to just let the dream die.
  3. Security concerns – Just as people wouldn’t buy online a few years ago, there are some people that will only trust their email. In Outlook they trust.
  4. They won’t consistently use it – For Basecamp to work, everyone has to use it all the time. It is merely another layer of complexity if it doesn’t replace phone calls and email as your main source of communication. I’ve found that many clients, no matter how much you encourage them otherwise, will not do this. (Although I’ll add here, a good way to nudge someone is to start copy/pasting their emails into a Basecamp message and reply there instead of emailing back.)