Podcast

Episode: 133 |
Will Bachman:
Client Experience – 6 of 6:
Episode
133

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Will Bachman

Client Experience – 6 of 6

Show Notes

This episode concludes our 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 post-project

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. Today is the sixth and final episode in our podcast mini series on enhancing the client experience during a consulting project. If you missed the previous episodes, go back and start with Episode 128, which introduces series. And then the subsequent episodes talk about best practices to enhance the client experience during the proposal phase during the onboarding or kickoff phase during the project execution phase, and during the wrap up phase, and today’s episode closes the series with four with tips for things you can do during the post project phase. So let’s get started. Number one, send a handwritten note to key members of the client team, whom you worked with thanking them for their contributions and for the privilege of observing them. I recommend using branded stationery, I like the four by six cards from mu.com number to send a gift. Now this is a lot trickier. It should be of nominal value. So it doesn’t seem like you’re, you know, doing something inappropriate or bribing the person for more work. Some clients have explicit rules about accepting gifts from vendors above a certain dollar value. And even those that don’t would have an uncomfortable feeling that some unwritten rule has been violated if you provide something of substantial value, and you know this, but shouldn’t be cheap, either. You wouldn’t say like, I’d like to present you with a ballpoint pen or with a $5 gift card to Starbucks. So it’s kind of a tricky area, something that I probably need to think about more and, and put it in a future episode together. If you have thoughts about giving gifts to clients, what’s worked? Well, I’d love to hear from you, you can shoot me a note at unleashed@umbrex.com. Number three, determine on what schedule you’re going to follow up and put those follow up dates into your calendar. And if appropriate, you may also, you know, agree explicitly with the client and say, Okay, we’ll talk in one month and six months, the timing would depend on the nature of the next steps. And the project obviously, could be for example, you talk one month and six months after final progress with you. The idea of these is not to sell some fallen work, it ought to be providing some actual value to the client. So for example, you use those perhaps to help remind the senior client about some milestones that are coming due. And just sort of help check in and make sure that that they’re happening, particularly if that client that you served is supposed to report to someone more senior to the CEO to the board, or you could, you know offer to review the results of a pilot project that you helped launch but you’re not staying around to, to execute, or to review the latest key performance indicators from the project and help think through implications based on the results of those KPIs. Number four, separately from those follow ups pass on relevant information about the project as you come across it, for example, sent it maybe there was a sudden, like the latest rankings of the top 100 companies in the industry. Or if you see a great article in a trade journal or news of a merger of a competitor, or a key executive movement at a competitor. Just pass those along. Hey, not sure if you saw this news, but this looked interesting. Number five, know when to layoff already know when to leave, or at least stop dragging out the follow up on that particular project. At some point, no more follow up is required. Don’t go around asking Hey, how’s that strategy that we developed five years ago, just it’s time to let it rest. Number six, follow up off schedule. So demonstrate the relationship is deeper than just that one project, you don’t always have to be trying to add value or to follow up related to that you call in just just to say hello. And number seven. Related to that is if it was an out of town project, and you happen to be back in that city for some reason, it’s a good excuse to offer to meet up for lunch or breakfast or coffee. Number eight, create a Google Alert on the company and check for major news. And when you see major news, it provides some reason to check in. So you might say hey, awesome quarterly results, or saw the announcement. It looks like you’ve gone public. That’s fantastic. Number nine, get the clients permission to create a case study and then ask them to prove it. And there’s a couple flavors of this flavor a is you create a sanitized case study that you want to put on your website or using your collateral. And in that case, ask the client to review it for accuracy and sort of sign off on it. And while they’re doing you a favor. It’s Also way of reminding them of what you accomplish together. The other option is potentially a lot more interesting offer to create a unsanitized case study that includes their company name, write it up, as an article, find a trade journal willing to publish it, and get the client named as the author, obviously, with the clients permission, the client gets the credit. And you’ll mention in passing in the body of the article, that you know, your consulting firm consulting firm XYZ supported this effort. And perhaps there’s a quote from you. But it’s from written as if it’s written by the client. So this would benefit the client organization to show how cutting edge they are, it benefits the specific individual you worked with, because they get a writing credit, and it raises their profile. And you benefit number one, because the client appreciates you doing all that work to help raise their profile. But of course, you also benefit because it’s even better reference than if you wrote it under your own name. Because it’s, it’s more validating when a client actually is assigning their name to it. I owe this idea to David A. Fields. And I think it’s one of the strongest things you can do to improve that client experience after the project number 10 is related to this one. Rather than just writing an article, you could even think about arranging for your client to speak about the work at an industry conference. And you do all the hard work, of course of preparing the slides and the speech and getting the invitation lined up and the client shows up, gets the credit gives the speech and you know, mentions you number 11. Instead of writing a recommendation of the client on LinkedIn, this requires some judgment to consider if it’s appropriate. There’s some downside, potentially using reveals who your client lists are, might be taking the wrong rate, but in the right circumstances, the client might might appreciate it. So what am I missing? Let me know at umbrex.com other ideas that you have to enhance the client experience through any of these five phases that we’ve talked about in this mini series. If you found this miniseries 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 people discover the show. And if you sign up for the weekly Unleashed email, you’ll receive a checklist that includes all the tips in this mini series and then every week, you’ll get the transcripts of each episode, book recommendations and consulting tips. Thanks for listening.

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