Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Ensuring Customer Satisfaction

There are four main questions that your CEO could ask you about a very visible or critical project you may be managing. You better be ready to answer these questions and back them up with proof.

The questions are:

  • Is the project on Budget?
  • Is the project on time?
  • Is the customer satisfied?
  • Is the project going to deliver a usable solution?

Let us discuss the ‘Customer Satisfaction’ issue.

Always Keep the Customer in the communication Loop.

Sometimes we feel that we have to solve problems before we discuss them with the customer. If the solution is easy and quick, that may be the case. But in general, the customer is much happier if they are made aware of issues by you in a timely manner rather than hear about them after the fact (when they are fixed) or through some other channel or when they become critical emergencies.

That does not mean that we should keep the customer informed on each issue, but at least on the issues, they may be sensitive. Always contact the customer with your alternate solutions with merits & de-merits as you perceived. Try to sell the solution you feel the best. But be open to listen to what the customer says. Give him opportunity to suggest an innovative solution.

Be Consistent

The customer sees you as the delivery person and the individual who is responsible for making sure that their million dollars is well spent on the project. You wouldn’t want an erratic or inconsistent individual as your financial planner and I’m certain that the customer doesn’t want that for their project manager either.

Deliver status reports when you say you will. Conduct status meetings regularly, deliver error-free documents, provide accurate project schedules, and always do your best to ensure your team hits the big deadlines. Consistency shows leadership and breeds confidence.

Keep the Project Moving Forward

Make sure everyone knows what they’re responsible for at any given time. They won’t be looking at down time due to uncertainty and your resources will

remain engaged and working on your tasks. Let them know, exactly what is expected from them, when & how (e.g. templates of deliverables).

Likewise, keep on top of the schedule and the resource forecasts so you know when you need to engage new resources to keep the new tasks on target as well. The goal is to not let the project stall. If it stalls for customer funding, you can’t do much about that. But don’t let it stall because of you or your team or lack of resources. Customer satisfaction can drop like a rock in those cases and all momentum can be lost quickly. SAP resources are difficult to get in the market. Plan for the resources in advance.

Monitor Scope Closely

Creeping of scope is the most dangerous factor working against customer satisfaction, timeline as well as budget. Do not allow to creep the scope out of your control. Raise signal whenever you feel that you are loosing control on the scope. In terms of customer satisfaction, it will ensure that the right tasks are getting done in the right timeframe.