I am not long back from what I would call a great implementation. Customer was very happy with the end product and the way it worked. I was happy that the whole engagement went smoothly.
I always love doing a job with a customer that is happy with everything you are doing, listens to you and asks pertinent questions. Now I’m not just saying that he was an easy customer he was just one of those types who knew he was paying for a consultant and he was happy for the consultant to do the job. Nothing worse than a customer trying to fiddle with an environment you are still trying to build or contradicting or distracting you then complaining that it doesn’t work or you didn’t do enough in the time allocated/paid for.
My basic tips for a happy customer
• My biggest and most important tip is first. Be smart. You wouldn’t go to a job interview with scruffy shoes, unshaven, unironed shirt. Treat all customers (and every day on site) as a job interview when it comes to appearance and time keeping.
• Get as much information of the environment, equipment, user base etc as you can. Hardware spec’s, expectations, networking anything that pertains to the job in hand.
• If there are glaring issues with the hardware design make sure the customer knows beforehand so he has a chance to change, upgrade or even verify the issue.
• Plan what you’re doing, make up a detailed to do list as part of your documentation and go through it with the customer.
• Hit the ground running on the first day. After your to do list talk through get started as soon as possible.
• Arrive onsite with everything you need. Its embarrassing if not bad practice to ask the user for something that you should really have had. (media being a classic one)
• Update the customer on what you’re doing as much as possible. At the beginning of each day go through what you plan to do that day. At the end of each day have a sit down and discuss the day’s progress.
• If you encounter a problem. Investigate it and resolve it. If you know your product then its easier to resolve. Try not to hit the Google consultancy straight away. Check for the simple things first. Never say I haven’t a clue and its nothing to do with my product.
• Never leave a job you are not happy with. Even if the customer is adamant he isn’t buying any more time offer him a half or full day free so you can complete the job to your satisfaction.
• Leaving a site it is always best to make sure you have some sort of documentation to hand the customer. Even if it’s a copy of basic notes taken while onsite with a promise to do a better document.
• Follow up on that promise to do a better document. Lay it out with front pages, table of contents, diagrams, screen shots and that to do list.
• And finally, don’t walk away from the customer with the attitude that your offsite and he needs to buy more time, keep in touch and help him out. Customers that feel like they are getting good after service will almost always buy more time from you.
Now I’m not saying every customer will be beaming ear to ear with my tips but combined with you knowing your product and job they will make for a much happier customer.
if you have any good tips for others feel free to add them as a comment