Every project which we carry out, regardless of whether we are a company or a freelancer, can be implemented in many ways. Different methods and different tools lead to closure of the goal. However, we have to remember that each work entails two parties – the client and the contractor. Skilful building of relationship and good level of cooperation between these two can translate into success of the deployment. Below, we present the good practices and most common mistakes which influence the mutual relationships and have considerable impact on whether our order will be completed on time.
“With” and “for”
The difference of working “with the client” and “for the client” is huge. While working with the client on one task, it is easier to build a mutual relationship. Both sides are engaged just as much. This does not mean that the client sits with our programmers and writes a code with them, but – for example – takes part in the testing of a function of the code, provides tools for deployments or helps in other matters. Mutual work on a project leads to increased trust of both parties, allows them to keep the promises made. However, it is worth remembering that the client not only is our partner, but they also finance our venture. Thus, it is important to remember about the business aspect of the project. Sometimes both sides of a business relationship will go on to establish friendly ties, but that’s not always the case. So, it is worth paying attention to what expectations the other party has as regards the mentioned relationships. A lot of companies just want to close the project, without unnecessary interaction.
When we work for someone, we bear less responsibility for the project. There is also less direct control on the part of the client. They do not have influence on many stages of action or on selection of tools used by us. In this situation, tasks and terms are strictly determined as well. It is worth working with the client and learn how it is to work for the client – because on our way we will find both the clients who want to be a part of the team and the clients who just wait for the ready-made product.
Client’s satisfaction should be our priority
A satisfied client is one who will not only pay the invoice on time, but also recommend our work to other people. Many companies do not bother looking for orders because clients come to them by recommendation. A good brand defends itself. Not only with being on time, but also with a high quality product or service. It’s a bit too far-fetched to say that our clients are brand ambassadors, but in many industries the recommendation system works better than many online catalogues or keyword campaigns. Why is that? It is so as recommendation allows us to take orders almost instantaneously. The lead coming to us knows what they can expect, what are our price lists, they are also aware of how we work because a lot of information is passed to them by the previous satisfied client. In case of a lead coming, for example, from an online campaign, we cannot be sure if we have already won an order. This is where probing begins, so to speak, where the prospect client examines our skills and costs they will have to incur. Obviously we do not negate that there will be no cooperation, but much more time might pass from the first contact with the client to the signing of a contract. That is why it is very important for us to be able to provide the best service for our business partners. Thanks to this we know that in the future it may turn out that they become our unaware “traders”.
Cooperation with the client – what should be remembered?
There are a few basic rules which we have to follow during our work with and for our client. Not every company will use them all, but they should be taken into consideration when contacting business partners. The following are the most important ones:
- each project has to be treated as a business venture – this means that it should have a schedule, budget, established milestones and a payment plan, expected results, etc. The more detailed data our client receives, the easier it will be to begin the next step of implementation. There is a period of “quiet work” in most projects, during which no effects are visible. This happens for example in artistic professions, in the IT industry and the like, where the final product does not appear in a few seconds and much time is needed to create it. We have to prepare the client for this situation so that they know that during this period “magic happens” in our office;
- a contract is a basis for claims – written form of the contract gives us the certainty that each party has the obligation to fulfil their commitments and in case of claims we have a “backing” which allows us to pursue our own claims much more easily. A lot of companies on the market require a contract due to administration regulations applicable in the enterprise. However, there are also companies which arrange it all using “e-mail” for instance. It should be remembered that arrangements saved on e-mail are also documents subject to enforcement by courts, but sometimes collecting all messages is very difficult or impossible;
- appropriate communication – this notion is not only about language, but also about the way of communication and archiving of the created correspondence. The dialogue should take place both ways. On one hand, we have to actively listen to the client’s needs, on the other – we have to provide them with an optimal amount of information which is necessary for the given stage of the project. Coming back to archiving: what we mean is the communication so that returning to topics touched on earlier is possible. Thanks to this, understatements and misunderstandings may be avoided, which according to IT Cortex are the cause of failure in 57% of projects;
- honesty is a key element – that said, we should not embark on projects which we are not able to finish because we do not possess appropriate knowledge or an adequate team. Situations in which we conceal lack of our competences may prove catastrophic in effect;
- time is money – let us keep the set terms. If really it turns out that we cannot meet one of the deadlines, then we have to inform the business partner as fast as possible, because it is worth knowing that delays translate to real loss, which neither us nor the client can afford.
What should be avoided?
Primarily we cannot introduce hidden costs to our contract, about which the client does not know at the time of signing of the contract with us or determining of conditions. This type of action not only decreases trust towards us or the company, but may also lead to the termination of cooperation as well as make a dent in our reputation. Naturally, at times we have to carry out a project in a different way, but all additional costs have to consulted with the client.
Another thing is mutual trust and work with full transparency. If we treat each other as partners then we also share knowledge like partners. Withholding information from the other party will not have a good effect on our relations well.
As we can see, the rules for working with the client of for the client are quite simple and straightforward. They are based on fundamental values well-known in the society. Building of common relations should be based on respect, mutual understanding, transparency and trust. If those fundamental values are lacking, there also will be no project that is built well or prepared with accuracy. It is worth remembering that.