One of the most important ingredients of excellent client management is a smile.
Although this may seem simple, it implies and aids so many important aspects of client and project management.
I believe that when I manage a client and project, it’s not ‘us and them’ its ‘we’, we should all be working towards a unified goal.
It also includes taking the time to get to know your clients and helping them get to like you. This in the long run, makes the job so much easier.
For me this is a mind-set, it means coming to work in an industry I love and taking pride in my work. It means getting to know my clients and their requirements and aspirations. It also means helping them understand that we are both on the same team.
Internally it means getting to truly know the internal departments as well as the individuals and learning how they tick, conducting side by sides and learning their processes.
During any project it is essential to effectively manage a client’s expectation in terms of what they should expect, timeframes, deadlines and ROI.
The Key to this is asking the right questions and truly getting to know the client and the project at hand.
Often it also means ensuring the clients expectations can become an achievable reality.
The fact is, a project often doesn’t follow the pattern you have set for it. Change is inevitable and flexibility is vital. This means communication and education is key to ensuring a client stays on board and is happy with the expectations.
Ensuring you do this correctly and effectively will potentially save you a host of issues further along the project and client project cycle. It is always better to be upfront.
It’s essential to ensure at the start of a project there is a clear and solid brief. This means taking the time to communicate with the client about what it is they want, what their goals are, and what else there is available that can help them achieve their goals.
A solid understanding for both us and the client on the project.
It means communicating this to all those that are going to be involved and ensuring they are all individually and collectively aware of the process and their place in it.
With every project, write a detailed brief, this includes deadlines, goals and deliverables. Get this approved by your client and this then gets given to those departments that are involved so you are all working from the same ‘page’.
When managing a client, product knowledge is key.
Having great product knowledge will ensure that you are not to’ing and fro’ing between internal departments and back to the client. It helps retain credibility and confidence as a client and project manager.
What is the end goal?
A smoothly run project is great but the overall goal of the project needs to be central to all the above.
There are many more, but the important point to remember is that the project needs to ensure and quantify that the end goal is reached.
This is completed with accurate and understandable reporting, and regular, open and honest communication.