There seem to be almost as many jokes on the Internet about Information Technology consultants as there are about lawyers. If you look at the profession as a whole, it’s not so easy to understand why the minority give the entire profession a bad name. So what can we do to ensure that we don’t reinforce this opinion?
Pricing Of Services
Overpricing and under-delivering seem to be the biggest issues given by dissatisfied clients of Information Technology consultants. Of course, the piece of work might not have been overpriced at all, but once it is perceived to be then you have a problem. This can come down to not having illustrated the value of a project adequately, or the project might have been under-delivered which would make it seem overpriced.
Avoiding this is easy – Effective communication with the client at all stages of the project and making sure that you deliver value every step of the way.
The Client Didn’t Fit With Your Skill Set
Sometimes clients can be insistent that you’re the right person for their project. They’ve heard great things about you and you’ve come highly recommended to them. They want you to take the job. You make them aware that your skill set is not quite the right fit, but they insist anyway.
This type of project can go well, but if you take on a project that doesn’t match your skill set then the likelihood is that you will not perform at your best. Both parties could be disappointed with the results.
Avoiding this is easy – One of your criteria for taking on new clients should be that your skill set is a match. It’s not worth damaging your reputation should the project not go to plan.
Delivering Bad News Head On
Nobody likes to be the bearer of bad news, but as an Information Technology consultant, it’s your role to keep your client abreast of the situation whether or not things are going to plan. If you have bad news to deliver or news that you think the client will take badly, then make sure that you have all the answers ready to the questions that they are likely to ask.
If you know that you don’t have a resolution yet, explain this clearly with a timeframe for when you’ll have possible solutions and the possible impact on the project costings/timeline, so that the client knows when to expect the next update.
Avoiding this is easy – The key is to communicate the good and the bad and to keep the lines of communication open at all times.
These are all items that have been raised with me by clients over the years and that I think lead to Information Technology consultants as a whole getting a bad name. It doesn’t have to be that way, it just takes the majority to ensure that they communicate effectively and go above and beyond to provide exceptional service.
Do you agree that Information Technology consultants get a bad rap? Share your experiences in the Comments section.
And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to download your free copy of the special report on How to Start a Computer Consulting Business: 6 Proven Ways to Build Your Initial Client Base.
Creative Commons Image Source: flickr Mark Fischer