Managing expectations of customer as an Engineer
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9 June 2021 at 2:53:50 am
Our customer has their customer to serve. We should panic when they panic!
It is difficult to manage projects these days as everyone are working with a tight schedule. Here are few occasions when expectation management comes into the supplier-customer relationship.
1) Deadline is up and no results are shown. It is your responsibility to keep track of the project timeline even before the deadline is up. However, if you found yourself in this situation, work towards getting at least the minimum for the client. For example, getting 1 or 2 systems up before the rest arrives.
2) Customer is unhappy about the quality of the product. It is your responsibility to assess if the problem lies with how the customer uses it or it is indeed a quality issue. We need to advice and be clear the correct method of using the product to ensure longetivity of their investment.
3) Customer requests free services and/or top-ups every now and then. It is our responsibility to determine if we can fulfill their requests. This include considering time, manpower, money and skills.
4) Customer request delivery at an earlier time. The first thing that comes to your mind should be "what is the most difficult task to complete?". This will give you an estimate of the biggest portion of the resources required.
5) Customer is very angry, yells at you and is very unreasonable. At this time, the mental state of the customer can be;
i) real angry because resources was invested and yet job was not done properly
ii) not angry but to "show anger" in order to create fear, thus making you feel disoriented and then succumb to their request, or if not, push their problems to you
iii) part of the person's character to create a scene to "show their authority" to their subordinates
iv) purposely angry to intensify the situation, thus placing the blame on your company and you due to past conflicts with your colleagues or even you
It is your responsibility to understand what the customer is thinking and only focus to suggest solution best to the scenarios and agenda discussed above. Always listen first to identify the needs before taking any actions.
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