Podcast

Episode: 131 |
Will Bachman:
Client Experience – 4 of 6:
Episode
131

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Will Bachman

Client Experience – 4 of 6

Show Notes

This is part four 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 project execution 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:

https://www.davidafields.com/

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. You may have heard this story before on January 12 2007. Over a 45 minute period, about 1000 morning commuters passing through the L’Enfant Plaza station of a subway line in Washington DC, passed by a cellist who performed six classical pieces of music, two of which were by Bach. of the 1097 travelers who passed by 27 of them gave a contribution for a total of $32.17, about $1 per person. seven of those 1097 actually stopped to listen. That cellist was the virtuoso Joshua Bell, performing on a $3.5 million Stradivarius. Three days earlier, Bell had played to a full house at Boston Symphony Hall, were fairly good seats went for $100 a piece. The Washington Post won a Pulitzer Prize in the feature writing category for gene Weingarten is April 2007 feature story on this experiment, similar service but very different customer experiences. In the concert hall, we sit, enraptured and willingly pay $100 while sitting 100 yards from a performer. While in the subway station, where we could observe the performer from an arm’s length away. 3% of us give an average of $1 and about 0.7% of us bother to stop and listen at all. Today is the fourth installment of our six episode mini series on how to enhance the client experience. Episode 128 kicked off with a mini series intro in Episode 129. We talked about how to enhance the client experience during the proposal phase. In Episode 130, we discussed the onboarding slash kickoff phase, and in today’s episode, we’ll discuss the actual project execution phase. In this miniseries, we’re staying away from the actual content of the work itself, which would be the music in our Joshua Bell example. We’re talking instead about all the other elements besides the music, the concert hall, the ticket, the program notes, the dim lights, the black tie the chandelier. This episode will necessarily be the most incomplete since the project execution phase is when we spend the greatest amount of time with the client and when we have the greatest variety of ways to impact the client experience. Nevertheless, let’s get started. and list the suggestions for this project execution phase. Number one, align with the client on a project roadmap, including timeline and deliverables at each stage of a project. Number two, schedule the project review dates at the beginning of the project. So they’re baked into everybody’s calendar. Number three, get the client to assign client team members who will co create the work. If the client is involved along the way, the client will be much more likely to implement the recommendations. Number four, at progress reviews, if possible, have the lead client team member present the results rather than the consultant. It’s far more compelling if someone inside the organization demonstrates ownership by presenting the material. Number five, consider using some form of experiential learning to deliver the findings or recommendations other than a slide deck, which can be pretty boring, let’s face it, for example, critic gallery walk with data and material on the walls and allow the client to walk around and absorb the material and discuss it or a roleplay. For one cable company that I served. We brought together the executive team, we assigned each one of them a demographic, like you’re a you know, family with two children, you know in sort of with $50,000 annual income for example. And we provided them with the rates for different telecom bundles from their company and the local competitors and had them choose which they would pick and justify their decision. Many of them ended up picking the competitors bundle, which was eye opening, and far more compelling than if we just presented a slide about it. Number six, use photos and video. photos taken of actual conditions at the front line can be far more compelling than the best bar chart number seven, if appropriate. Get it in the team room at the client site with key charts taped to the walls allowing client team members to to wander in and to discuss your emerging insights number eight Invite the client team to whiteboard sessions. In Episode 124, I talked about how you can invite your clients to an open rehearsal, not just your final black tie performance. Number nine, follow your clients dress code. My guest said someone obvious but if you’re working at a power plant, wear steel toed shoes and jeans. If you’re serving an investment bank, wear a suit and tie number 10. Park at the far end of the parking lot. Don’t take up those guest spaces near the entrance. Number 11. Don’t eat all the banana bread that one client team member brought into work. Number 12. Provide the client team with all of your contact info. Number 13 adapt to the client’s preferred format for presentations. Some like to have printed slides. Some are environmentally friendly and never want printed copies. Some expect full color some have a rule against full color. Number 14. And this was suggested by my Umbrex co founder Jim Lange. Correct from mistakes. It’s never great to make a mistake, obviously. But the way in which we recover from mistakes can allow us to strengthen the client relationship and build trust. If you promptly acknowledge the error, apologize, identify the root cause communicate, take responsibility. Explain the plan for corrective action and follow through the relationship can end up stronger than before you made the mistake. Number 15. Mentor client team members work to develop their internal talent. If you can transfer skills such that the client organization would can own the client own the model going forward or you know do the work themselves the next time? Well, that’s a huge win. Number 16 be vulnerable enough to seek out mentorship from the client. ask for advice from the client as well as for feedback. Showing that you value their advice making this a two way exchange makes you more human and more likeable. And this is not limited to cultivating senior client executives as mentors. More Junior members of the client team have something to teach us as well. Perhaps they’re more familiar with a software program or they visited the clients plants or they have insight into a particular demographic. Number 17. Treat the assistance not only with respect, but as your partner and executive assistant is intellectually challenging role. It’s cognitively demanding requiring tact, ability to juggle dozens of tasks getting flustered, stay calm, avoid chaos and deal with big egos. So treat executive assistants with respect. Number 18 give credit when you’re sharing material. give credit to the client team members who helped provide the data or the insights or who contributed to the work in some way. And number 19. share a meal. Not necessarily dinner, people have families to get home to invite the client to join you for for lunch or breakfast, and don’t even talk about the project. So what am I missing? I’d love to hear your tips for enhancing the client experience. During the project execution phase. You can email me at unleashed@umbrex.com. And if you found this episode helpful, I hope you’ll share it with a friend or post it on social media or write a review on iTunes. All those things help make others aware of the show. If you sign up for the weekly Unleashed email@umbrex.com slash Unleashed, you’ll get a checklist that summarizes the ideas from this mini series. And each week you get the transcript of each show, book recommendations and consulting tips. Thanks for listening

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