Customer satisfaction. A great client relationship. It is a huge piece of every project success puzzle and a great indicator of future project work with the specific customer as well as their tendency to refer you to others that they network with. So, you want to do everything you can to keep the customer happy, excited about your team’s performance on the project and your ability to successfully deliver on the engagement overall. What I want to present here are 5 easy ways to keep that customer satisfaction at a high level throughout the project. Follow these 5 practices and you should be able to at least avoid those potential pitfalls with your project customer that can lead to communication and satisfaction issues on the project.
Give them the Gantt chart. Some customers hate Gantt charts. But most love them. I’m not sure why. I think that they think they are just supposed to have them so they want them whether they really understand them or not. They look impressive and show a lot about the project and task progress if done correctly. Give the customer what they want weekly in a Gantt chart even if you are reporting more meaningful and visual project status in another way. It’s an easy way to cover all of your bases.
Share the budget status. This is another one that some clients want and some don’t. But believe me, they all care. So give them the revised budget status every week. They will see weekly where their money is going and it will make you accountable every week for a healthy financial forecast.
Meet with the client regularly. Communication is key and regular communication is the way into the customer’s heart. Conduct weekly project status meetings with the customer no matter how little there may be to discuss in a given week. It’s a good way to always stay on track and to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks.
Send out daily emails. Even when things are slow, at least send a daily email to your project sponsor. Give them some snippet of project status or information that may be of interest. On most busy projects this will just happen naturally, but when a project is very small or experiencing a period of slow progress, it helps to maintain the connection and that will keep customer satisfaction higher.
Give the customer a “what’s next” quick view. Whether it’s on the project status report every week or maybe even more often on busy, complex projects, give the customer a billet list of what’s coming up next on the project. This can be via email a couple times a week. Whatever works best for your project…but do it. It will mean a lot to the project customer. Trust me.
Summary / Call for Input
We all know that there is no real guaranteed success formula for customer satisfaction and the productive customer relationship. But if you stick to logical best practices, keep them informed and engaged throughout and don’t make decisions or take actions that seem contradictory to project success, you’ll likely be ok.
What are your favorite secrets to the best customer relationship possible? What would you add to my list?
About Brad Egeland
Brad Egeland is a Business Solution Designer and IT/PM consultant and author with over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience leading initiatives in Manufacturing, Government Contracting, Creative Design, Gaming and Hospitality, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Start-ups, Healthcare, Higher Education, Non-profit, High-Tech, Engineering and general IT. Brad is married, a father of 11, and living in sunny Las Vegas, NV. Visit Brad’s site at https://www.bradegeland.com/.