We want people—clients and on-site coworkers—to enjoy the experience of working with us, and we hire our people accordingly. At Fredrickson Learning, we provide people with the right skills and knowledge for each assignment, of course. But we also strive to add something more. That “something more” is what we want to share here, because it’s part of who we are at Fredrickson, and part of what’s kept our business running for over 30 years.
We asked six Fredrickson staffers how they create smooth, positive experiences while on an assignment, and they shared their number one piece of advice.
The first thing I try to do is ask the client about their goals for the training project and then show them how I can contribute to that goal. I try to prove my value in the early phase by being professional and responsive, and by producing early results. I have found success in identifying the key SMEs early and developing good relations with that group. The simple way to satisfy a client is just to continue asking questions about their needs and goals throughout the project. I try to remember the client goals in all my deliverables. I also try to be self-sufficient with problems and technical challenges. The client has hired us to alleviate their technical issues and not add to their problems. The end result of a satisfied client is normally when you can become a valuable added member of their team, and not just an outside contractor.
Listen, build trust, and deliver. Listen to what the client is saying…and what they are not saying. Build trust through good communication and being respectful of everything happening in their world. And deliver, always—even when you don’t know exactly what to deliver—deliver something for the client to react to.
Be flexible (and, just as important, be pleasant about it). Clients appreciate consultants who can wane and flow with a project. It might be a simple thing, like working overtime during a deadline crunch. It might be something more complicated like dealing with consistently and constantly fluid deadlines that then need to be completed NOW (with overtime). Whatever the instance, clients truly appreciate a consultant’s ability to ride the tide upon the surfboard of pleasant flexibility.
Listen to your client, always. Most clients have a vision of what the deliverables should be, and they want you to implement that vision. If you see a better way to accomplish their goals, use your expertise to develop their ideas into effective instructional design. When you do this, your clients see you as a partner, you benefit from their perspective on their organizations, and they recognize you as a professional.
The best thing you can do to ensure a happy, satisfied client is check, check and double-check with them about every aspect of the project. Initially you will want to check for understanding: do you understand what’s needed, what they are expecting, what should be included? Then, you’ll want to check that what you are producing meets the expectations and you are on the right track. Do this early so if something isn’t in line with their needs, you have time to adjust and revise. That is my #1 piece of advice for achieving a truly satisfied client.
The general rule of consistent communication, when actually followed, produces a satisfied client. Stakeholders appreciate knowing the status of a project. So, provide an update to the client as often as agreed upon—letting them know goals reached, road blocks, and action plans to stay on track or achieve upcoming goals.