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How Project Managers Can Improve Customer Engagement

In the operation of a business, everyone is involved with customer service; even the best project managers! Effective project managers utilize key management skills such as planning, reporting and reviewing to obtain the maximum benefit out of every project. In addition, stellar project managers exercise clear judgement, apt decision making and goal setting to ensure each team member fulfills their responsibilities and delivers their assigned task.

Even though some of the best project managers are capable of effectively exercising all these core philosophies into definite actions and results, they’re still unaware (or have forgotten) the daily “customer” grind. How will they determine the benefits for the end users, i.e. customers?

If customers are the core of your business, then it pays heed to ensure your project managers understand and practice effective customer engagement.

Listed below, are four ways project managers can improve customer engagement:

#1 Help Set and Convey Expectations to Customers

Project managers must understand customer expectations very well. They know the value of strong leadership and must therefore apply it towards their customers. Instead of speaking to customers for the sake of figuring out whether they’re enjoying a product or feature, use this time to discover their unmet expectations.

It’s pivotal to be able to distinguish between a customer’s way of stating a problem and outlining symptoms resulting from expectations. Speaking to customers on a regular basis enables project managers to improve their skill for prescribing solutions and answers based on expectations rather than stated problems.

#2 Work in Conjunction with Other Teams

As a result of your close customer interactions, you’ve gained an understanding of customer expectations. Different teams in your department are doing the same thing. They will likely have different interpretations. Just like how speaking to customers on a routine basis can promote healthy partnerships, regular interactions with other team members can provide new perspectives on how to decode customer feedback.

If as a project manager you’re capable of delivering results that satisfy both in-house teams as well as customers, then you’ve acquired unrivaled credibility.

#3 Strive towards Transparency

When customer engagement starts to dwindle, products, projects and the business begins to fail. Survival is next to impossible if customers are feeling suspicious, disconnected or under-valued. Therefore project managers are urged to inculcate a transparency in both their team and daily processes, even when customers aren’t concerned.

From transparency comes trust which trickles down to customers. Businesses that are honest and transparent are respected by all customers. To ensure transparency, managers must discourage hidden agendas, unwanted surprises, lack of details, data tampering related to productivity, etc.

#4 Balance Project Needs with Customer Needs

It’s next to impossible to incorporate or address every customer’s feedback, because not every customer might be a good fit. By speaking directly to customers, a project manager can assist in prioritizing company goals and steer the business away from projects with no ROI.

Keep in mind, some customers have a tendency to carry on and express their needs or provide feedback. Most simply want to be heard, so as a project manager you can say the occasional ‘no’ instead of always a ‘yes’. It demonstrates your ability to balance the needs of the project with those of the customer’s.

Before satisfying any customer, you must be able to meet the needs of the project by having the best project management tools for the job.