How to ‘Enchant’ Clients? Ahsan Saleem Project Manager-Confiz Solutions www.confiz.com September-2012
Base Rules The word ‘Enchant’ First presentation of Enchant series Expected audience is anyone at Confiz 10,000 PKR cash reward if you prove me wrong
Who’s a Client Internal client Different departments Different teams External client Buys our services or products Companies or individuals Sits thousands of miles away in a different time zone Depends on us for own profit
Why Enchant Clients Revenue continuity Business growth Better market reputation Opportunity to learn New technologies New business domain Communication skills Personal/team achievement
What Client Wants Value for money Quality and quantity of services A reliable business relationship And also a good team experience… Friendly and trustful interaction Exchange of information Personal connection (culture, language, life happenings etc.)
Our Enchanting Toolset Solid engineered code Business, UI and UX skills Organizational support Strategic Communication
Enchanting Scenarios Time of UncertaintyTime to be Clever Time of Good News Time of Angry Client Time of Bad News
Time of Uncertainty New client or client team Beginning of project Unknown technology domain Lack of information about business
Case-UncertaintyClient: I have given you little or no requirements. We don’t knowabout this technology. How long will you take to finish this job?Possible Responses:a) One weekb) One monthc) One year
Case-UncertaintyCorrect Response:Let me ask you some questions, develop better understanding,explore technology a bit and come back to you…Means:a) Not a blind shotb) Interested in learningc) Playing smart
Time of Good News Project going quite well Sprints meeting targets Engineering code about bug free Project planning up to mark Hardees has dropped prices by 50%!!!
Case-Good NewsClient: How are thing going?Possible Responses:a) Fineb) Awesomec) We are kicking Software butt!
Case-Good NewsCorrect Response:We are on track in terms of time. Engineers are efficiently engaged.Regular test cycles are producing less bugs. Scheduled DB backups arekeeping data safe. You will have an updated release in 2 weeks…Tells client:1- We are on schedule and making progress2- Right number of resources are engaged (cost efficiency)3- Quality is not comprised4- Using’ good time’ to market our skills and experience
Time of Bad News Too many bugs in builds Too much ambiguity in business rules Technology is not mature enough Builds are delayed Server or DB crash/issue
Case-Bad NewsClient: How are things?Possible Responses:a) ‘Silence’b) You are doomed!c) Nothing is working and we have no idea why
Case-Bad NewsCorrect Response:Over all things are fine. We have hit a small issue caused by lack ofunderstanding of billing module. I have prepared a list of questions sokindly assist me fixing the problem… – ORThe technology stack we chose might not be best choice because ofthese unforeseen reasons. Here are links where a few other teams arediscussing the same issues. I have analyzed the impact on time andhere is a cost estimation of changes. Also, following will be the benefitof shifting to this new technology in longer term. Here are some morelinks … - OR
Case-Bad NewsCorrect Response (continued):We have lost x amount of data in a crash last night, happened becauseof this xyz reason. We have recovered most of the records and stilltrying to fix the issue. We have also taken following measures to avoidthis issue in future…Means:1- We understand client is not a fool2- We offer a solution while giving the bad news3- We learnt a lesson to avoid a similar case again
Case-Bad News What’s the catch in giving bad news? Build a consent in team and with management first Controlled amount of information (hell breaking loose is bad) Accept a mistake when made one (but smartly) Discuss with client as a teammate not an outsider Do not point fingers on anyone – internal or client or his team
Time of Angry Client We messed something up Client frustrated by a personal issue A not so nice email from client Aggressive conference call with client
Case-Angry ClientClient: I am very disappointed in you. Not only you areincompetent but also stealing me of my money. I want to shutthe project down and make sure you loose your jobPossible Responses:a) Go to hell!b) How dare you!c) I am so scared, please forgive me!
Case-Angry ClientCorrect Response:I understand this concern is very important to you and I assureyou whatever happened is a misunderstanding. If there is anissue, I want to resolve it with you as a team. Your project is veryimportant to us and I really like working with you in a healthyand respectful team environment…
Case-Angry ClientMeans:1- Showed patience against aggression2- Create margin of correctness3- Appreciated his project and experience of working with him4- Suggested him to keep a healthy tone
Tips-Angry Clients Client sits thousands of miles and many time zones away Comes from different cultural background Different work ethics Is a human so give him margin Its not personal, its business
Case-Time to be CleverClient: Can you please do me a favor and deliverthis task of 3 days in 1 day?Your Response:a) Are you crazy?b) Even Superman can’t do thisc) NO!
Case-Time to be CleverCorrect Response: While we want to meet your expectations, itis not possible to deliver this specific task in 1 day withoutcompromising quality and security of system. Here is a break ofsub-tasks that will take 3 days in totalMeans:a) A straight ‘NO’ is quite rudeb) Provide reasons while saying ‘no’ nicely
Skype-General Tips English speaking is a barrier – remove by practice Prepare for calls – takes notes in advance Introduce yourself before speaking and say greetings Do not speak fast and in long sentences There is no such thing as bad questions Professional Skype aliases and profile pic ‘Shak33l’ is not ‘Shakeel’ ‘CoolBoy86’ is not a cool alias Make sure voice quality is good
Email-General Tips Review before sending Fill ‘To’ and ‘CC’ after review Avoid too many adjectives Try to be complete and holistic – do not assume awareness from reader Avoid basic typos and grammar Bullets and not long paragraphs
Chat-General Tips Avoid shorthand ‘F9’ is not ‘fine’ ‘U’ is not ‘You’ What the heck is ‘ROFL’? Do not break sentences I am <send> working <send> on build <send> .. Is not good! Again think, then write, then review, then send