Remember, the project customer is not necessarily our friend. But we do want them to be satisfied with our delivery of the project team them. In Part 1 of this two part series, I began discussing the first five of my ten ways to please your project customer – and basically none of these cost the project or you or the customer any real extra money. They’re just ways you can lead the project and incorporate information and processes so that they feel better about how the project is going. Let’s look at items six through ten in this Part 2.
Communicate everything. More communication with the customer is far better than less. When in doubt, communicate. Put it in the status report, make note of it in the project meeting notes that you distribute – do whatever you have to do to make sure the customer has all necessary information in their hands. You never want the customer to come back and say, “I didn’t know that.” If it’s on something that becomes a major issue on the project – that’s a career killer.
Keep PM charges to a minimum. Be involved without being involved. What I mean here is, don’t go overboard with the project management hours charged to the project if you don’t have to. Many project clients feel like the PM is high-priced and somewhat unnecessary overhead anyway. And they sometimes resent paying for it. We know it’s needed, but sometimes they don’t really understand that or see it that way. Whatever we can do to over deliver and under charge will make them love the project and love the project manager.
Show your customer you are connected. If you can show the customer that you’re well connected within your organization and can get things done and get assistance quickly when needed, they’ll be impressed and they’ll be more confident in your ability to work through issues on the project should they arise. And they will arise. Anything that gains more customer confidence is likely to also breed more customer satisfaction.
How do you do this? Get tech support to work on issues quickly. Bring executive management to a couple of project status meetings. If the customer sees you bringing additional and visible positive attention to the project then they’ll know you’re connected and they’ll gain confidence in your ability to perform when things are on the line.
Use the latest technology. This isn’t always easy, but project clients like to use the latest when possible. They like to be – or at least sound – cutting edge. Don’t go overboard and certainly don’t use technology that isn’t necessary. But if you can incorporate something new and cool, use it and make sure you tell them about it – oversell it to them if you have to (and I mean verbally, not in terms of dollars).
Deliver. This is an obvious one. You can do all of the things above and if you don’t ultimately deliver on the project, you failed and the customer will know that and everything else really won’t matter. So, yes, do all of those things above, but you must also deliver on the project and provide a workable end solution to the customer. Do all of this, and the customer will love you for it.
That’s it…that’s my list of ten things you – the project manager – can do and plan for your project that will help the customer feel more comfortable with your leadership and the information they are getting on the project. Satisfaction should be higher and your success factor should be as well. Please share your thoughts on these items and any others that might come to mind on your list.