As Mike Sisco says in an article for CIO.com, “You cannot solves a client’s problem unless you can quantify the specific issues that are causing the problem(s).” In other words, if people are running around with their hair on fire, you might want to find out which of your services is starting fires. Sisco offer six steps to rescue a client who is not happy with you:
- Quantify the issue.
- Gain client agreement on the issues and commitment to what will occur when the issues are addressed.
- Develop an action plan to address the issues and gain client agreement on the plan.
- Execute the plan.
- Over-communicate the status of the plan.
You need to listen without being defensive. Your goal is to be empathetic. You cannot improve the problem if you are unaware what the true problem is. Interview the client and uncover the issue. Get into specifics. Make a list, one by one, and meticulously articulate all the issues back to the client that must be addressed for the situation to be resolved.
Now that you have addressed every issue, you need to create a win-win for you and the client. Identify what the client should be committed to doing so everyone’s effort can create success. You then need to develop an action plan that specifically and positively addresses every issue that has been articulated:
Be conservative in what you plan to commit to in terms of timing, cost and specific deliverables. In other words, include plenty of buffer and position your organization to over-deliver. Communicate the plan to the client and gain agreement that the action items will positively address the issues identified.
Execute the plan and make sure it works this time, if you want to keep the customer. Go so far as to over-communicate daily updates until everyone agrees that they are comfortable communicating less often. You must over-communicate when trying to turn a problem client situation around.
You can access the original article here: http://www.cio.com/article/3128755/it-strategy/6-steps-to-rescue-a-problem-client.html