Show Up Ready to Work – Study project information before you arrive. Have your materials (agenda, handouts, etc.) ready to go. Know what you are going to do this visit,discuss it briefly with the client as you arrive, then get to it.
Whether going on-site or working with a customer remotely, being prepared is a key to customer satisfaction. The customer has requested assistance for a specific reason. Whether the request is due to a lack of expertise, time or resources the customer expects a return on her investment. Wasting her time while looking for data or checklists and reviewing scope documents or past meeting notes has little or no value. Yes, the consultant needs to perform all of these steps. However, the client does not need to sit idle while the consultant performs these tasks. The customer most likely starts the work session with the conclusion you are unprepared and their needs are not important to you.
If, on the other hand the consultant has already prepared for the meeting, the customer will feel the session is productive from the very beginning. Being able to review the purpose, objectives, challenges and status of the project at the beginning of the meeting will provide the customer confidence that you understand her needs and to know you have all of the pieces required to find the solution. The trust garnered will provide the consultant with the latitude to follow a cyclical process of trial and error until the best solution is discovered. Stress levels are reduced as the customer does not feel they need to “look over your shoulder” to make sure you understand what the right solution looks like. As the scouts’ motto goes, “Be Prepared.”