Want to go the extra mile for the project client to gain some points? We often try to do extra things for our project clients when things are going poorly...praying they don't drop us as soon as this project is finished. What about doing extra services when times are good? Best practices are good – but expected. Doing something unexpected that the customer will likely see as an improvement and an a value-added act on your part...that's a bonus...and a good thing.
If you’re experiencing issues on your engagement, certainly those need addressed. However, if your project is running along rather smoothly and you are simply looking to gain key valuable points with the customer, then try these three things…
Periodically involve executive management in your projects. Get someone high up interested in the project. Maybe that’s your CEO or maybe it’s a different C-level or high up employee. Have a senior level individual sit in on one or two status calls and introduce themselves and participate on the call. Of course, bring them up to speed first by providing them with a copy of your current project schedule or give them electronic access to it through your web-based project management software. Your customer will appreciate the added visibility for their project within your organization and they will immediately begin to feel like a more important client to your organization.
Offer customized status reporting. If you’re like me you probably told the customer how you were going to deliver the status report and what was going to be on it – likely based on some standard that your organization and/or PMO has in place. Sound familiar? It may be time to change gears and ask the customer what’s important to them. Maybe they want financial data on the report and it’s not there now. Maybe they would like to see key tasks included that are filtered from your project management software tool. Maybe they don’t want issues and change orders included. Whatever the customer preference is, find that out and do your best to act on it.
Increase weekly customer touch points. The first thing you can do is increase your weekly touch points with the customer. If they are close, you can ‘drop by’ during the week. If you’re only really having one call – a more formal status call – with the customer, perhaps make it a point to have at least a couple more adhoc calls just to check in and ensure everything is going well. It can be as simple as calling them after you’ve sent them a revised project schedule from your online project management software tool. Really, it’s all about communication and not just assuming everything is fine. Talk to them more often than you currently do – without over doing it. If you go too far they’ll wonder what’s up. If you do it just right, they’ll appreciate the additional communication.
Summary / call for input
We often try to do more for our customer during the hard times so that they remain our customer. If you want to really impress them, make some extra efforts even when things are going well – they will notice and you won't regret it.
What about our readers? What things have you done to go the extra mile on your projects for your project clients? Did they work? Go unnoticed? Please share and discuss.