Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.17. Contact Centre client requirements

ryanrori January 26, 2021

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 “What do our customers expect from us?” “How will our client base respond to variation?” “What aspects of production could be changed while not affecting the satisfaction level of customers?” These are the questions to ask when defining customer requirements and expectations. In a market-based economy, there is nothing more important than satisfying customer stipulations and establishing long-term business relationships with clients, which is why meeting or exceeding the requirements of customers, with precision, time and time again, is essential to a thriving enterprise. 

It is important to not compromise that which is necessary to fulfil client requirements. It can be tempting, in an effort to save money or improve cycle time, to drastically alter the means of production or invest in new manufacturing equipment. However, spending a large amount of money and resources with just a hope of modernising or improving facilities only to find that you know longer have a way of manufacturing your product within client specifications is tantamount to sabotaging your own business. This is why it is important to have a clear and concise understanding of the needs of your clients

It’s no mystery or breakthrough that understanding the basic needs and requirements of the client is vital to managing a successful business. It’s a competitive world out there, and attention to detail and being accommodating goes a long way.  Clients have needs. To be truly successful, we need to accurately understand what those needs are.  

Three Levels of Client Needs

But a truly successful you will address all three basic levels of needs:

  • Technical needs. These are needs that can generally be specifically defined, analysed, and addressed through specialised expertise. Technical needs are commonly articulated by the client in an RFP, work order, or contract.
  • Strategic needs. These are needs that impact the overall success of the client organisation. This would include financial, competitive, political, and operational issues. Strategic needs can be more difficult to specifically define, are broader in scope, and require a more comprehensive mix of business and technical skills to address.  
  • Personal needs. Because clients are people, they bring to every project their own set of personal and subjective needs—just as you do. Personal needs often are not well defined unless you ask, and they differ among the individuals you work with in the client organisation. This requires that you talk with each client contact to develop a comprehensive understanding of personal needs. Personal needs include those individual expectations about the working relationship.

The value you provide to the client increases when you are able to satisfy strategic and personal needs. Therefore, your intelligence gathering before the sale or before the project starts should involve uncovering all three levels of needs. And your solutions should also address all three levels.

Going Beyond Requirements

Behind every transaction with the client, there are a set of unstated expectations that will ultimately determine how your client views your performance. Too often these are overlooked. It’s important to recognise the difference between client requirements and expectations:

  • Requirements. Stated explicitly verbally or in writing, typically in the form of an RFP, work order, or contract. Requirements usually define specific, impersonal, and objective criteria for meeting needs and satisfactory performance. Most project managers are comfortable proceeding with only this information. 
  • Expectations. Typically unstated unless asked. These are usually more personal, subjective, and sometimes less specific criteria for meeting needs and providing satisfactory service. Project managers who actively seek to understand client expectations have a crucial knowledge advantage over their competitors. 

As you can see, uncovering client expectations are key to understanding personal needs. Satisfying personal needs is at the heart of providing superior service.