Customer experience (CX) is how customers feel about a business after they buy something or use its service. CX is not just about delivering the customer’s order: 88% of customers say “The experience a company provides is as important as its products or services”.
This blog post will explore 7 project management tips to boost customer satisfaction. These tips are practical strategies to enhance the client experience, build stronger relationships, and ultimately help your company make more money and keep your customers longer.
Project Management Tip 1: Establish clear communication channels
Effective communication channels allow you to keep the customer informed of the project status, deliverables, milestones, and any issues or changes that may arise. They help you to tell the customer what is going on with the project, what you have done, what you will do next, and any problems or changes that may happen.
Communication also helps you to understand the customer’s needs, expectations, feedback, and preferences.
Some good ways to communicate clearly with customers and stakeholders are:
- Email updates. Send regular emails to the customers that say how the project is going, what you have done well, what you have struggled with, and what you will do next.
- AI chatbots. A cost-effective way to communicate with customers and other stakeholders in every time zone and in every language. They are easy to set up and some offer great chatbot UI and visual builder interface.
- Mobile and SMS. You can use it to send personalized messages, alerts, reminders, or confirmations to your customers and stakeholders, and to provide customer service, support, or assistance. It’s also a convenient way to quickly communicate with both clients and stakeholders about meetings, orders, or delivery schedules.
- Periodic e-meetings. Video conferencing via Zoom, Google Meet, Ooma, and other similar tools is a good chance to talk about the project, show the work, get feedback, and answer questions.
- End-of-month/end-of-quarter reports. Give detailed reports to the customer at the end of each month or quarter that show how the project performed, and if there were troubles.
All in all, it’s a great idea to automate business communication and therefore help your team members interact with each other easier and faster.
Project Management Tip 2: Be prepared to adjust the project as you go to suit the client’s needs
The customer may ask for changes, from minor ones to requests that would mean multiple months of work (on top of the already planned timeline) to complete. Other things such as what competitors are doing could also change how the project ends up or what the customer wants.
You need to be ready to change things to fit the customer’s needs and likes. Plus, you should be able to tell the customers clearly how new changes are going to affect the project’s budget and timeline. When done right and timely, it can lead to business leads and growth.
Here are three steps to doing that:
- Plan ahead:
- Before you start the project, find out everything you can about what the customer wants, needs, and hopes for.
- Clarify what the project is about, what it will do, when it should be done, and what the budget is.
- Find out possible problems and things that can influence the project and make backup plans to deal with them. Such as time constraints.
- Monitor and control:
- During the project work, watch and control how well the project is going and if it is progressing according to the plan. Use the Gantt chart baseline to clearly compare plans and progress.
- See what you have done and what you plan to do and find any differences or problems.
- Take action as needed to keep the project on time and on budget.
- Manage changes:
- When the customer asks for a change, follow a formal process to check and accept or reject this request.
- Inform stakeholders about the change request and what effect implementing it is going to have.
Project Management Tips 3: Anticipate and manage risks
It is possible to anticipate and manage risks and uncertainties to a degree, and you should aim at it. You also need to inform the customer about the possible risks and how you plan to deal with them.
Here are four steps to managing risks:
- Identify. At the start of the project, find out the sources and types of risks that can affect it. These can be technical, operational, financial, legal, environmental, or human risks. Use brainstorming, checklists, surveys, or interviews to gather information and opinions from different stakeholders about the possible risks.
- Analyze. Once you have found out the risks, study them to see how likely and how bad they are for the project goals, work, or customer satisfaction.
- Plan your response. For each risk, plan a response strategy to prevent, reduce, transfer, or accept it. Identify the areas of responsibility for each project participant and carry out the action steps. After that, allocate resources and budget for managing the risks.
- Monitor and review. During the project execution, monitor and review the risk situation and results. Track any changes or new troubles that may come up. Evaluate how well the risk action steps are working and make changes as needed.
Project Management Tips 4: Manage stakeholder expectations
Stakeholders are the people or groups who care about and have a say in the project. They can be a customer, a project team, a sponsor, suppliers, regulators, or end-users.
Stakeholder expectations are what the stakeholders want or hope to get from the project.
You need to manage the stakeholders’ expectations to make sure that they are fair and agreeable. Besides, it is necessary to talk to the stakeholders often and clearly to keep them in the loop and involved.
Here is a step-by-step process to manage stakeholder expectations:
- Identify stakeholders. At the start of the project, find out who the main stakeholders for your project are. Learn about their needs, interests, expectations, and power on the project.
- Set expectations. After you found out the stakeholders, set clear and realistic expectations with them. Explain what the project is about, its purpose, deadlines, budget, and how good it will be. Agree on responsible parties, ways to share feedback along the way, and emergency activities if there are problems.
- Manage changes. During the project work, manage any changes that may affect the stakeholder expectations. Follow a formal process to check and accept or reject any requests for changes. Keep yourself aware of any changes and how they affect the stakeholder expectations and agreements.
- Measure satisfaction. All through the project time, measure and watch how satisfied the stakeholders are. Surveys, interviews, groups, or forms can help to get and study data on how well the project is going — does it match or go beyond the stakeholder expectations?
Project Management Tip 5: Monitor project progress
You need to monitor the progress to make sure that the project is on time and on budget. On top of it, you keep the customer and other stakeholders up to date about the project’s progress and any issues or changes made.
- Use dashboards, trackers, or reports to show and report on the key things that measure the project’s headway. These things can be time, cost, quality, scope, or risks. Compare what you have done within the established scope of work to find differences or bottlenecks.
- Have meetings with the project team, the customer, and other stakeholders to talk about the project’s progress. These meetings can be daily, weekly, monthly, or as needed. Ensure, however, that you do not schedule them too often to avoid meeting fatigue.
- Get feedback from the customer and other stakeholders on how they feel about the project’s performance.
Project Management Tip 6: Use a professional tool to store project data in one spot
Project data is all the information and documents that you need to create your strategy. It can include things such as plans, contracts, reports, emails, feedback, invoices, receipts, and other files.
To manage all that efficiently, you might need a professional project management tool that lets you store and access the data in one place. This would keep your project organized and secure.
If you already have an internal knowledge base in your company, it might make sense to keep it there. Otherwise, consider using specialized project management tools like Teamhood, Asana, or Microsoft Project.
Project Management Tip 7: Conduct post-project reviews and feedback
Post-project reviews are the meetings or sessions where you and the project team look back at the project and evaluate how it went. Along with that, post-project feedback is the information or comments that you get or give to a customer and other stakeholders about the project.
It is a good practice needed to conduct post-project reviews and 360 degree feedback. Applying such project management tips allows you to learn from the project experience and improve your future efforts.
- Сollect and analyze data on the project’s performance and satisfaction. Compare the actual results with the planned ones and identify any gaps or areas for improvement.
- Share the results of the post-project reviews and feedback with the customer and other stakeholders. Highlight the achievements, challenges, lessons learned, and recommendations for improvement.
- Celebrate the success of the project with the customer and other stakeholders with certificates, awards, gifts, or parties to appreciate their contribution and involvement.
Great customer experience is one of the main things that make your company successful. You can’t make it better in one day, but the project management tips we shared in this article can help you start working on it today.
Learn more about various techniques in our project management resource library.