Project Management

Keep the Customer Happy

In a customer–service provider relationship, there is a great deal that the service provider can do to make the relationship productive and vibrant from a project management perspective. As a consultant to other companies, I have seen contracts go bad because many times, the service provider lacks the dedication to try to understand the customer. This means understanding not only the customer’s needs, but also the customer himself or herself. Understanding the customer requires thinking about what a requirement means to the customer. It requires asking questions rather than assuming the answers—asking yourself, for example, “Does this mean the same thing to the customer that it means to me?”

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? And yet it doesn’t often happen.

Keeping a customer happy means doing what is required. If a work item is not mentioned in the contract but you know that it is required, this may mean you should be proactive and make sure that it’s added in the contract. If you do this, the customer will certainly appreciate the proactiveness and reassurance that his or her needs are being taken seriously. This in turn will be key in helping you with future projects with the customer, and will save you precious time later in the planning process. Keeping the customer happy does not mean giving out freebies. It does…

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"I've always believed in the adage that the secret of eternal youth is arrested development."

- Alice Roosevelt Longworth



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