Episode: 130 |
Will Bachman:
Client Experience – 3 of 6:


Will Bachman

Client Experience – 3 of 6

Show Notes

This is part three in a six-part podcast miniseries on how to improve the client experience.

In this episode, I share tips on how to provide a great client experience during the onboarding / kickoff phase.

Episodes 129-133 cover the five phases of a project lifecycle:

  1. The proposal phase
  2. Onboarding / kickoff phase
  3. Project execution
  4. Wrap-up
  5. Post-project

I learned this five-part framework from David A. Fields, and encourage everyone to visit his website:


If you subscribe to the weekly Unleashed email, you’ll receive a summary checklist that includes the points from the whole miniseries

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

Will Bachman 00:01
Welcome to Unleashed. I’m your host Will Bachman. Today is part three of a six episode mini series on how to enhance the client experience. Episode 128 introduced the series, Episode 129 provides 29 suggestions on how to enhance the client experience during the proposal phase of a project lifecycle. In today’s episode, I’ll share some ideas on the onboarding kickoff phase. The negotiations are done, the beauty contest is over, you’ve been selected, you’ve got a signed contract. But you haven’t really started the project yet. That in between phase is our topic for today. The overall governing tip is to make the dust fly a phrase I learned from David A. Fields, you want to immediately show a swirl of activity. As soon as the client says go. You don’t want the client to sign a contract and then wait around for three weeks getting cold feet rethinking their decision before the project kicks off. The the best client experience during the onboarding kickoff phase is to see the professional that’s been hired immediately get to work in a deliberate manner, communicating across the organization as required, and getting the initial logistics taken care of with minimal fuss. So here are some ideas. Number one, schedule a one on one meeting with the key client you’ll be serving. Now that you’ve gotten past the negotiate negotiation phase, you can get to a real discussion on the political landscape, the stakeholders, and how to announce initiative to other members of the organization. Are there any particular members of the organization that the key client wants you to mentor and develop? Who can own the work process tools once you leave? Number two, based on the preferences of how this senior client wants to be involved, scheduled check ins for the rest of the project to make sure you have time on her calendar throughout the whole thing. Number three, schedule a core team kickoff with the key members of the client organization you’ll be working with day to day, the nature of that meeting will depend on how familiar those individuals are with the project. If it’s a cross functional team that is just learning that they’ve been volunteered, you’ll want to probably have the senior client sponsor, explain the context and the expectations for their time commitment. Walk this core team through the goals of the project, the plan the expected deliverables, you want to conduct what we call it McKinsey a team learning discussion where you know, so what is everyone hoping to get out of the project? What do they hope to learn? What constraints do they have? Does someone have to leave at 530 to pick up their kids? How do they like to communicate text emails, slack phone call, there’s normal team kickoff team learning topics. Number four, if appropriate, perhaps you organize a team, or kickoff team dinner or team lunch or some other kind of team event to get to know one another number five data request. So refine your data request with input from the core team, and then get it out syndicated to the right people across the organization. And usually I would emphasize, at least initially, that you don’t want people to do any work to create new content, just to kind of give you whatever reports they have off the shelf, just at least to get started. Number six, if appropriate, have the client sponsor send out an announcement about the project to the broader client organization could be an email could be an all hands discussion. And that’s if there’ll be a bunch of consultants wandering the halls or wandering around the plant that can make people nervous. So you want to get ahead of it and communicate Why are there and that message from the client sponsor, if it’s an email, it’ll help you if you’re interacting across the organization. If you’re asking people for data or their insights, you can bring a copy of that email and say, you know, this is why we’re here. Number seven, come prepared with the logistics checklist to make the client feel like you’ve done this before. And you aren’t winging it and just thinking up things, you know ad hoc, and that will that would cover some of the following items. Number eight, ask an executive assistant, the client to provide a client a contact list. That’ll save you on some late night when you need to call someone and you realize you don’t have their email or phone number and you need to get in touch with someone so if relevant, you might ask for a contact info for everyone in the organization. Or just the the local group you’re working with. And also, if possible, it’s not always available as for org charts, and have someone walk you through those so you know who is who. Number nine physical access. If you’ll be needing physical access to client space, ask around how that works. Get that process initiated, because sometimes it might take a week to get your ID card. Number 10. physical space, if the client will be providing you with a team room or an office confirming the logistics of how that works. Ask if there’s any local customs you should know about. So are you supposed to take out your own trash or maybe put it in the hallway at night? Number 11 supplies. If you’re going to be working on a client site for a while then either have delivered some office supplies, either ship it there or or go to a local office supply store, and probably just buy your own printer for Pete’s sakes. That way you aren’t always reading the client’s office supply cabinet and trying to figure out how to connect to their printers. Number 12 snacks. If you have a team room, consider having some snacks always available on your team room table. Not so good for your waistline. But if you got some free chocolate, clients might be more liable to drop by number 13 technology access if you will be working to client site and you’ll need to access their Wi Fi or printers or even systems discuss that. Number 14. agree on what PowerPoint template you’re going to use yours the clients. Number 15 agree on how you will share files. So you’re just going to email stuff you can use box news, Dropbox, or some other system number 16. Get the details on how to invoice the client and whom to invoice, whom to include when you send the invoice if they want any particular information on their like a purchase order number number 17 get set up for electronic funds transfer. In 2018, I partnered with David A. Fields. Together we lead a series of workshops on client experience that were attended by dozens of independent management consultants. And at one of these events, all the attendees work together to create an E book summarizing our key takeaways. And we titled it walk your dog backwards in other lessons to grow your consulting practice. I’d like to sink thank sod a YouTube for consolidating ideas on the onboarding phase in that ebook, and I’ve drawn on sods summary to create this podcast. If you sign up for the weekly Unleashed email@umbrex.com slash Unleashed, you’ll get a checklist with all the ideas from this mini series. And you also get a link to download for free that ebook that I just mentioned. So thanks for listening. If you found this helpful, I hope you’ll share it with a friend or post it on social media, or perhaps even write a review on iTunes that helps other people discover the show. Again, thank you for listening and tune in tomorrow for our discussion of the next phase. How to Improve the client experience during the actual project execution itself. Thanks

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