Annette Fowler

How to tell your client you like them… An ode to Valentines Day

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Valentine graphic

It is Valentine’s Day and I’m feeling all cozy and romantic. I’m also the mom to teenagers and inevitably hear some variation of the following around this time of year, “How do you tell a guy/girl that you like them?”  So, what better theme for my blog this week than a valentine to show our clients how much we like them?

Having been a “client” for more than half my professional life (almost ten years as IT staff and webmaster at Wake Forest’s Business School, among other things) as well as more than seven years at Beacon Technologies as a project manager, I feel I have some insight into what makes a client happy.  At Beacon, we work extremely hard to provide premier customer service and I hope our clients know how much we appreciate them.  But just in case, here’s a list of the ways we try show them:

  1. Show respect.  Always be on time for meetings and promptly notify them if plans absolutely must change.  Be cheerful and helpful at these meetings.  Make sure they feel important and appreciated (because they are!).
  2. Don’t waste their time.  Be prepared with an agenda in advance and keep the discussion focused on the topics at hand.  If secondary topics arise, record the information well and offer to set up alternate discussions as needed.
  3. Document well and often.  Provide follow-up notes after phone conversations as well as screenshots if the situation warrants.
  4. Respect the budget.  These days, money for web projects can be hard to find, so always try to offer both simple/budget-friendly as well as “all the bells and whistles” options to a problem, when feasible.
  5. Listen.  A project manager can be described as the interpreter between the client and the programmers.  Listen carefully to both parties to come up with the best solution considering both the business needs and the technical boundaries.
  6. Apologize when appropriate.  We always want the client to be 100% satisfied, but sometimes things just don’t work out exactly as we’d hoped.  In those cases, make sure they know that you are sincerely sorry and will do your best to make things right.
  7. Keep the timeline up to date.  Delivering a pretty Gantt chart the first week of the project just isn’t good enough.  As the project progresses and deadlines are met (or not), reflect that on the timeline so there aren’t any surprises as launch day approaches.
  8. Respond promptly.  Barring unforeseen circumstances, it is well within the client’s rights to expect that every email and phone call is returned as promptly as is feasible.

So, with all that said, I hope that if you are one of my clients, you know how much you and your business are appreciated… I like you, I really really like you!  Most sincerely, Annette