Nowadays when Services are also commoditized, many service based companies try to be Customer Focused. A boost in the customers business directly leverages a growth in Service Provider’s business. Now how can you be the driver to enhance your customers’ business? Of course by providing the services you have promised to them, but not limiting yourself there. Go one step forward and provide them with what they had totally not expected. Keep the customer and their needs as your only focus – know and understand your customers’ business objective and align your services accordingly.
But does it mean to always keep pleasing the customer? Be like a puppet in the customers hands and do whatever they say. No. Customers would appreciate if you analyze their requirement and say “this won’t work” when it would not. Of course you have to work real hard and prove your statement for them to accept it. Show them the various options and discuss with them till you reach a consensus.
Customer does not want free things as value-adds. Instead they will appreciate if you are genuinely working for them and your work is worth the cost.
Lets’ now look at some of the best practices that can be followed so that EVERYTHING absolutely everything is just customer aligned:
- Understand the Customer’s assignment:
- Analyze the project at hand,
- Understand what customer will achieve once this assignment is complete
- Align Project Execution Process: Every client may not follow the same style for execution for the project. At times you would like to advise him that Scrum/Agile can be better than waterfall or vice versa. Aligning your process for customer will lead to processes more suited for Customer and Project. Following a process makes things organized and less chaotic to handle.
- Project Plan:
- Plan execution of this Project as per defined processes
- Share Project Plan with Customer and take his inputs
- Identify Risks and discuss them with Customer upfront
- Realistic Status updates at right time: The customer may not require Status reports every day. Based on Customer’s preference, make sure you send them without fail on pre-decided intervals. This will ensure that customer knows the project status at any given point of time. Avoid the urge of giving misleading updates to client in fear that he will be upset. It is better to face it when you and the Customer have time to mitigate the risks.
- Transparent and regular communication: Communication is key function n Outsourced projects. Customer cannot come to team member’s desk and get the clarifications needed at any point of time. He has to rely on communication mediums and team’s availability. If team is regular with their updates and other project related Communication then Customer knows what team is working on and where project stands, he can make any changes needed to the previously defined plan.
The customer has invested in the project with the intention to make it successful. Solution Provider’s success lies in the customers’ success. Even a nagging customer helps you improve by showing you where you lag. Take it as a challenge to give the best service you can to your customers.