When kicking off a project with a new customer, there can sometimes be a sense of hesitation or a perceived lack of trust on their end. Depending on the customer’s history with vendors in your respective industry, it can sometimes taint their view of all organizations doing the kind of work that you do and you essentially inherit a distrusting customer through none of your own doing. Here are three ways to build up that confidence fast to get yourself a trusting customer.
Meet your First Deliverable
Nothing spells mistrust like tripping right out of the gate. It’s imperative that your first impression to the customer is that you’re going to be able to deliver. You need to prove to them that you and your team are capable of following through on your stated commitments. By proving this to them, you start to build up the customer confidence in your team’s ability to deliver. By missing your first big deliverable it makes things infinitely more difficult in trying to gain that customer’s trust.
Be In Sync
While internally, knowledge may not always be synchronized between team members it is crucial that the customer hears the same consistent message from your individual team members, especially around the scope and delivery of the project. By delivering conflicting messages around an item that may or may not be in scope depending on the perception of the individual team member, it’s spelling out to the customer that a) the Project Manager has not got control over his/her team and b) that the vendor may or may not be delivering what the customer asked for (get ready for an escalation at that point). The easiest way to accomplish this is to ensure that your team communicates through you to the customer initially until you get into a solid communications and project execution rhythm.
It’s so important that a project manager stay visibly accessible to the customer, especially during the initiation stages of a project. Customers have confidence in people they feel they can rely on and by ensuring the customer feels like you are always accessible (within reason of course) then that itself will help the customer feel more confident that you have their interests at heart. This one take surprisingly little effort – quick responses to inquiries, constant attendance at meetings and perhaps the occasional unsolicited email to check in on things will heavily boost customer confidence that the Project Manager is staying on top of things.
As we all know it’s far easier to lose a customer’s trust than to build it but by checking off these three items you’ll fast-track yours and your team’s ability to quickly gain customer confidence and move forward with your project that much easier.
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