The triple constraint in Project Management refers to the scope, timeline, and budget of a project. Change one and you impact the others. But where does customer satisfaction fit into that triangle? Without it, can a project be considered a success?
Here are 7 ways to satisfy your customer while staying within budget, within scope, and delivering the project on time:
- Define the goals: Taking time to clearly define goals at the beginning of a project is sometimes seen as a waste of time that only delays the start of work. However, a lack of clarity around project goals will almost always result in time spent later making corrections or adjustments to the project.
- Write it down: Once the goals and requirements of a project are clearly defined, put them in writing and require your customer to review and sign off on them. Provide a realistic timeline of when the project will be completed and include significant milestones.
- Know your customer: Are you working with a small business or a large corporation? Each type of organization has different resource constraints and needs. Know your customer so that you know how to better meet their needs.
- Communicate: Check in with the client on a regular basis to provide project status, check the pulse of the project from the customer perspective and see if the customer has questions or concerns. As soon as you realize that a project timeline is in jeopardy, discuss the problems with the client.
- Have an agenda, literally: Prior to project meetings, provide an agenda to all attendees. This helps to manage customer expectations, keep the meeting on track, make sure that obstacles get resolved, and gives the client a chance to provide input on meeting topics.
- Establish relationship: Be friendly, be courteous, don’t be late for meetings, return phone calls, and do what you say you will do.
- Say ‘Yes’: If a customer request is quick and easy, say ‘Yes’. If not, say ‘No’ with respect and without emotion and clearly explain why. Where possible, offer alternatives.
Customer satisfaction often results in repeat business and contributes to good word-of-mouth advertising. While focusing on scope, timeline and budget, don’t overlook the overarching objective to satisfy your customer.