Project Management

Stakeholder Management or Customer Service?

Lynda Bourne

Think about your life: The cafés, service stations, airlines, hairdressers and shops you use on a regular basis generally have good customer service as one of the attractions that keeps you going back. Quality and price matter, but friendly and efficient customer service is likely the differentiator between your preferred option and other businesses.

Unfortunately, customer service is a piece of stakeholder management that is frequently overlooked. As part of their communication planning, most project managers develop a list of stakeholders, including customers, clients and end-users, and then get on with the work of the project. But if you want repeat business—and to stay employed—your customer service skills matter.

The challenge is that projects have a wide range of customers requiring deliverables or information from the project team. To be more adept at excellent service delivery, you need to know the three levels of customer service:

1. The basic level is doing what’s in the project plan and specification on time and on budget to the correct quality and with good communication.

2. Great customer service means you own your problems and work hard to fix them promptly. This is the approach advocated in the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct as an Aspirational Standard.

3. Exemplary customer service means you help …

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