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ICS 125: How to Work with Customers
Why Work with Customers?
- Understand their needs, and your business opportunities
- Basic understanding of needs. Prevent misunderstandings.
- Understand priorities (i.e., what they will pay for)
- Build a relationship of mutual trust, respect, and support
- Building a good relationship takes effort and time
- Relationships go both ways
- Some customers are better to work with than others
How to Understand Their Needs?
- Be prepared by reading background information and forming your
- Listen, and check your understanding
- Compare what they say to what they (would) do
- Put yourself in their shoes: what would you need?
- Apply general rules about what users need
How to Build Mutual Trust, Respect, and Support?
- Be professional
- On time, appropriately dressed
- Attentive, articulate, respectful
- Prepared, knowledgeable
- Be organized
- Keep track of commitments and schedules
- Capture and refer to facts
- Manage yourself and your team so that the customer does not feel the need to manage you
- Inspire and maintain trust
- Demonstrate early successes
- Underpromise and over-deliver (a little)
- Keep the customer informed of status before they become concerned
- Manage expectations
- Be honest, forthcoming, but not speculative
- First, focus on what you agree on
- Try to characterize your differences
- Don't say "no" unless you really mean it, instead say "later"
(at additional cost)