Entrepreneur - - By Andrew Neitlich

The importance of delivering and delighting clients, and why it is so rare

Okay, you Web designers/developers who don’t believe that service in your industry is abysmal: Here we go with another set of THREE examples. In previous blogs, some of you have gotten quite defensive, calling me a lousy and cheap client and suggesting that there is no problem.

So this blog has three differences:

1. These examples come from highly-paid professionals, some employed and some self-employed — and not necessarily by me. So stop blaming me for their poor service as you read these examples.

2. These professionals have excellent credentials — right schools, big company experience, etc. They really have no excuse.

3. I’ll show you four distinctions (expanded upon in my book at www.itprosuccess.com) to improve.

Here are the three examples:

One: A Web Developer with impeccable credentials (including senior positions at two of the top web development firms in the world) has promised deliverables for a major project five times, and missed deadlines each time. It seems clear that he cannot predict when he will complete work, and cannot manage his team. The owners of this project have thrown up their hands and have considered starting over from scratch.

Two: A Web Designer was charged to develop a new website for his publicly traded company, in order to give it a more professional look and feel for an upcoming investor relations campaign. He missed the deadline completely, so that investors went to an outdated site. He refused to accelerate the process by using existing templates, insisting on reinventing the wheel and creating everything from scratch. His final product is still a draft (although he went live with it), with typos, dead links, and missing images. His explanation: “I got lost inside my own head.”

Three: A Web Deisgner working for a national company promised to have new site up and running in time for a company launch. As with above, he completely missed deadline, and could only present some rough draft Photoshop mock ups. Since he didn’t vette these with leadership ahead of time, there was some embarrassment involved when not everyone liked the new design. Meanwhile, he is quite defensive about his work, claiming it is fine and refusing to adapt to comments from his internal customer.

With these, I think I’ve provided enough examples over last 6 months to show that lousy service (certainly lousy project management) is endemic — at all levels. There are exceptions, and you may be one. But take a hard look at your process from your CLIENTS’ viewpoint, remembering that many clients eventually just throw their hands up and do what it takes to get results, without sharing their disappointment with you (this is called a “bunker mentality” — just get it done and let’s move on).

The way out of this predicament is by shifting from project management to project leadership, which entails 4 things (again, all laid out in my book):

1. Manage expectations.

2. Manage the process.

3. Manage results (not just tasks, but outcomes).

4. Manage the relationship.

Part of your marketing is the customer’s total experience of working with you.

Many of you are failing miserably with this part of your marketing…..

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