05 Jul 13 Success mantra for working with remote clients
I have been working on offshore projects for 3 – 3.5 years now, and have seen my share of ups and downs. Most projects have sailed smoothly, but some have faced turbulence – delays, frantic firefighting, misunderstandings, unhappy customers and so on. My trials and tribulations have led me to conclude that one of the key success factors for ensuring smooth execution of offshore projects is clear and regular communication between the people involved.
Here are a few tips to avoid unnecessary heartburn…
Mind your bedside manners
Don’t forget the everyday niceties even if you are on different continents. You would regularly greet your colleagues in the next cubicle; so why not do the same for those in other locations. Simple gestures like starting the conversation with a ‘Good morning’ or ‘Good evening’ or ending the week with ‘Have a good weekend ahead’ (whether on mail or during a call) go a long way in building a good rapport with the client. You will not only receive reciprocal niceties, but it will also facilitate a free-flow of thoughts and ideas, ultimately benefitting the project!
Being chatty helps
High degree of responsiveness is very important in offshore projects. It is always a good idea to reply to mails within an appropriate amount of time. Nobody likes it when their questions (or mails) are left unanswered for a long time – it gives them the impression that their mail is not important to you.
So if your reply is going to take a lot of time, then first acknowledge the client’s mail and let them know by when they can expect your reply. In an offshore project, it is important for everybody involved to know what is going-on at the other end. A regular flow of conversation helps achieve exactly the same!
Feedback is always good
Feedback is an indispensible part of every project because it is the only method of conveying how the project can be improved further. As such, feedback helps you understand what the client is thinking and brings clarity on matters. With such feedback in your hand, you can deliver more appropriate results and thereby, build confidence with the client.
A post-mortem need not be done only after death
‘What went right? What went wrong? How do you want it to go? Is this the proper format? Can a different method be used? etc. etc. etc.’; all of it helps us get to know our customers and their requirements better.
At the very core of the matter, the people involved in offshoring have everything to do with its success. Primarily, the one term that sums up the basic requirement of a successful offshore project is ‘communication between people’.
Do you have any experiences to share?