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#193: How Your Clients Should See Your Performance

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Updated: Wednesday, December 9, 2009
On long engagements, I always worry that increasingly familiarity leads to clients no longer highly valuing my services. Even if I am not "going native," how do I assure clients continue to value my services?

For those not familiar with the term, "going native" means spending so much time at a client site you become considered one of the staff. For example, if you are asked to be a member of the committee to plan the annual picnic, you have long ago gone native. Every consultant wants to provide high quality, relevant and timely services. Doing so will mean that your services maintains their ""wow" factor and leads to client appreciation of their value. What can happen, however, is that your highest value services are delivered at the beginning of the engagement and later services are seen as less valuable.

At some point, management and staff start to see your services as something that they can provide. One way this can happen is that the capabilities of the client organization improve so much that they truly can conduct activities originally thought to be only possible by the consultant. You may have underestimated their improvement, or overestimated their need for your expertise. Either way, when your services lose value in the eyes of the client, it is time to reset your engagement plan. Ultimately, the client gets to choose when your services are in demand.

Tip: Florence Nightingale once said about nursing, "Nursing is… an honorable calling. I must not crave for the patient to be always recognizing my service. In the contrary—the best service I can give is that the patient shall recognize my presence MOST by recognizing that he has NO wants." Have you done such a good job that clients no longer need your services?

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client service  consultant role  engagement management  ethics 

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