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Managing Client Expectations as an IT Consultant

July 16, 2015

One of the great things about being an IT consultant is that you get to work on a variety of projects with different companies, managers, and peers. However, along the same vein, one of the greatest things about IT consulting can also be one of the hardest. Why? Because you work on a variety of projects with different companies, managers, and peers…What I’m getting at, here, is that each new project and company comes with different people, different corporate cultures, and different expectations that you must learn to work with effectively in order to be successful.

The most successful IT consultants are driven to thoroughly understand their clients, their organizations, and the problem or project that they were hired to help solve or complete. And, one of the best ways to do so is by working with the client to determine their expectations and then managing those expectations appropriately. It sounds pretty obvious; but, it can take some practice to determine what works best for you. Take a look below at some tried and true ways to help you be successful at it.

1. Communicate Often

Communication is really the key to solving or preventing a lot of problems. Work with the client to determine what they expect of you and be sure to communicate your expectations for the project as well. But, it doesn’t stop after the initial expectations are set. Circumstances change and it’s important to keep the conversation going. Are there any gray areas? Get rid of them! The thing to remember is never assume that you know what the client is thinking. Always ask questions to clarify.

 2. Work Off of Set Priorities and Metrics

While setting the expectations for the project with the client, try to get as specific as possible. What is the timeline for the project? What is the budget to stay within? What metrics will they be measuring when it comes to determining the project’s success? What is the order of priorities for the project? If something has to fall by the way side or get delayed to meet deadlines, what should it be? These are just some of the basic questions you should know the answers to. When you have all of these questions answered you’ll have a better understanding of what your client wants and there will be no surprises for either of you.

3. Build Respectful Relationships

Get to know your clients and those around you. Learn about them as people in order to better understand what makes them tick and the way they operate. Having a good relationship with them can also help make difficult conversations a little less difficult. And, the key to any good working relationship is respect. Respect is not only shown through your tone of voice and the way you say things, which are both very important; but, it is also shown through your actions. This includes being honest, showing up to work on time, and meeting deadlines you’ve promised to the client.

These are just a few ways that can be helpful when working toward managing client expectations. But, no matter what your favorite techniques are, it must be done. They key is to get everyone on the same page as that will make your client engagements that much easier and help you work more effectively.

How do you manage client expectations? Share with us below. 

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Posted By: Briana Perrino


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