Maybe it is my Midwest values, but I always thank my clients for providing me the opportunity to serve them. I am surprised when they are appreciative and wonder whether this is a common practice among consultants.
Both client and consultant are giving and getting something out of the engagement. The client retains the consultant to make his or her organization better and the consultant provides services in exchange for learning and remuneration. A job well done, on either party's part, deserves some show of appreciation.
There are a few issues, however. First, when is the right time to express thanks? At the outset of the engagement is a good time to create some goodwill with a genuine expression of appreciation for the opportunity to provide service. Then again, once it is clear that the service has been provided, was well received and benefited the client, another thank you is appropriate. Second, how should this appreciation be expressed? At the outset of an engagement, a verbal thank you is appropriate, even for an existing client. At the conclusion of an engagement, a verbal thank you is acceptable but a written note, not included with the last invoice, is the preferred approach. Tip:
Even beyond thanking your client at the beginning and end of the engagement, consider another option. Several months after you have concluded your engagement, review the engagement and write a note to your client. Include some observations you make given some distance from the engagement, offer some additional recommendations for how their organization might further improve their condition, and again offer a thank you for the opportunity. This will certainly let your clients know that you consider them part of a relationship and not just a contract. This will raise your stock in their eyes.© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA