Does the word ‘client project management’ send you off into a frenzy?
Well, as a project manager, handling internal projects is one thing, and handling client project is another! With different clients wanting different things from the projects, it can be undeniably challenging to streamline all requests while fulfilling their requirements.
However, winning over clients by delivering projects as expected is a rush no project manager can deny, right?
And, guess what? Delighting clients is easier than you think. Yes!
Simply by implementing client management tips and adopting the right project management tool for your services. This is all you need for effective client-facing project management and smooth running businesses.
In this blog, we will look at the difference between client-side project management and project management, along with some tips to positively impact your relationship with your clients.
So, let’s get started!
What is Client Project Management?
Client project management refers to involving clients in project execution such that projects are delivered in harmony with client expectations without compromising the profitability of your business. And, this is possible when you and your clients work together to set, monitor, and achieve realistic outcomes for multiple client projects with maximum ease.
Difference Between Client-Side Project Management and Internal Project Management
Client-side project management and internal project management are two different things. However, both walk hand in hand with each other, i.e., if one falls behind, it is bound to impact the other. So how do you ensure that both walk-in unison with each other, enhancing the overall results of the final outcome?
Let’s break it down for you!
|Client-Side Project Management||Internal Project Management|
|1. It focuses on building long-lasting client relationships.||1. It focuses on implementing effortless project management techniques.|
|2. Fosters a friendly client relationship with the project team.||2. Fosters a collaborative work environment within the internal team in an organization.|
|3. Analyze client project goals and their competitors to deliver project outcomes.||3. Analyze organizational goals, team skills, and capabilities that can contribute to delivering better project outcomes.|
|4. Get a thorough understanding of what the team is capable of and convey the same to prospective clients.||4. Covers in-depth understanding of the project portfolio of the organization to determine scope, budget, and other KPIs.|
|5. Align client expectations with company goals for realistic results.||5. Align projects, processes, and people for streamlined workflows.|
|6. Its core responsibility is to manage client expectations by handling their requests, answering queries, and overseeing the timely implementation of their feedback by the team at work.||6. Its core responsibility is to create, monitor, and deliver projects across teams and departments.|
Read More: 20 Best Project Management Software For 2022
10 Best Client Project Management Tips to Successfully Manage Client Projects
It’s not surprising that 73% of companies with above-average customer experience perform better financially than their competitors.
Your clients are your customers at the end of the day, right? To retain happy customers, it is crucial that you work effectively in unison with your team to deliver successful results and strengthen client relationships.
Inspite of this, most client project managers often struggle to keep their clients happy. They are constantly juggling multiple client expectations while ensuring that projects are delivered within the defined timeline and project budget.
Well, client management does not have to be so complex. All it needs is to follow some easy tips and tricks so that both clients and team members work in conjunction with each other for individual benefit. Is that even possible? Well, yes!
Here are some client project management tips that you can implement for improving client relationships without putting in too much effort.
1. Engage With Your Clients to Build Better Client Relationships
There’s more to clients than their project briefs and approvals. If you think that merely approaching clients for project-related queries will serve you well, then you’re in for a surprise. Clients have a life beyond work too. And, when you make the effort to know a client’s background and try engaging them outside of work, you develop a reliable bond with each other.
This bond will act as a deterrence to easily leave your services in case things go awry on the work front. As such, if a client does find something that they may not like while working with you or your team, they will talk it out and try to resolve the issue internally first. Thus, find areas of common interest and build a friendly and fair relationship.
2. Adopt a Professional Services Tool to Manage Clients Effectively
Things are bound to slip through the cracks when managing project information for multiple client projects. Thus, storing all project data in one spot is always convenient. For this, a client project management software comes in handy. It helps manage projects by tracking every project detail in an easy-to-access platform.
Using an ideal project management software for clients, such as ProProfs Project, you can feed client briefs as a task description alongside a task. You can even attach docs and files to each task, making locating task files easy.
Also, you can create project workflows by creating tasks, assigning resources, and defining due dates within seconds. This allows you to manage all project data on a platform and loop in clients to help them stay up-to-date with real-time project progress, simply by adopting good project and client management software.
3. Listen to Your Clients’ Expectations
If you have spent a good amount of time interacting with clients, then you already know that client expectations can be fair, surprising, strange, or outright unbelievable! Whatever it is, be ready to listen first.
As project managers, we all have faced situations where jumping out the window seemed better than listening to the client’s issue. Yes or no? Well, take a breath and relax because you’re just about to change the way you handle such situations hereon. Wondering how? Simply by listening and being patient. Being patient with your client is the first step toward maintaining good client relationships.
Also, having a UCAAS System ensure that you won’t miss an important conversation with your clients across multiple channels. Remembering
important conversation details greatly strengthens client relationship too.
Try to understand where the client’s need is coming from and what really is the problem at hand. Often, clients can get all fired up without understanding the crux of the problem. Thus, assure that you sit down with the client and trace what caused an issue and why.
4. Be Transparent in Dealing With Your Client
Maintaining the right amount of client transparency throughout a project’s life cycle will save you both time and effort by eliminating the tasks that do not require specific attention. Thus, it is undeniably important to involve the client in managing projects.
A client is paying up for your organization’s products or services, so they will consequently need an update on project progress from time to time. You cannot deny the client access to project status.
So, how do you find the perfect balance between client involvement and seamless project execution without disturbing the flow of your team’s everyday workflow? You can do this by setting crystal-clear channels of client involvement right from the beginning.
Brief your client about the key phases when you actively involve them in the project to receive insightful feedback regarding the quality of the work. This will ensure that your team follows a set project workflow and that clients don’t interfere with how your projects are progressing every couple of days. You may use a project and client management software to involve the client in the project tracking process to maintain transparency.
Read More: Tips & Tricks: Keep Your Client Updated
5. Request Timely Feedback for On-Time Project Delivery
On one hand, there are clients who want to interfere at every step of the project, while on the other hand, there are clients who want to see the final results of their projects with perfectly matching results. The problem? You don’t want to mess with either!
An overly enthusiastic client who needs every task update can interrupt your ongoing workflows and break the continuity of the project. Also, a client who only wishes to see the final result can send your project off on the wrong track.
This is because such a client refuses to oversee whether the project is progressing as desired and whether it is derailing from achieving the set goals and targets. Thus, set regular intervals at which your client must review a project to gain effective feedback and continue on the ideal project execution path. Here again, you may utilize a project management software with client portal to receive instant feedback through the task comments.
6. Respect Your Client’s Time
Come on, we all have scheduled spontaneous meetings with clients merely to pretend that we care about their issues. Such meetings are nothing but just a way to delay project execution while trying to arrive at a solution for their rising concerns. The result? More frustrated and dissatisfied clients.
We all may face hiccups while managing projects. We may also falter while delivering client projects as desired. However, not having the right intent to resolve these hiccups and address client concerns can end up closing a project and losing a client forever. This may further multiply by losing potential clients by way of hearsay.
And that is the absolute last thing that you want for your business, right? Thus, ensure that you spend each minute with your client so as to enable a smooth-running project that delivers results as expected on time and within budget.
7. Turn Down Client Requests Politely
Do you find it difficult to deny a client request and end up overloading your resources with more work? Or do you forcibly have to tamper with a project’s quality just because it is what the client demanded? Such instances are not uncommon.
If you ever get into a similar situation again, then know that there are ways that can help you manage clients and their requests easily. Firstly, listen to their requests. If you feel you cannot implement it, don’t be afraid to politely say no to it. Ensure that you do not sit on the request and reject the request at the last moment.
Be proactive to reply at the earliest so that clients are aware of their rejected proposal right from the onset. Make sure that you appreciate the clients’ requests or suggestions, and then explain why you think that its implementation will not be a great idea. Also, identify the problem and suggest an alternative solution to gain better project outcomes.
8. Show Sincerity Towards Fulfilling Business Needs
Sometimes, words fall short. Show your clients how each of your projects matters and how each of them contributes to the profitability of your business. Quote the statistics that these projects have brought in. Improved team efficiency or increased task visibility, it can be anything that you have noticed while executing projects across your organization.
Why do your clients need to know all this?
This will reiterate your interest in scaling your business with better-performing projects that can not only fulfill your business needs, but your client needs as well.
9. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
You do not have to be the ‘one-point solution’ for everything that a client asks for. Remember that it is completely alright to not know everything on the planet.
If you ever find yourself in a situation wherein you do not have the answer to a particular query, don’t hesitate to ask for help from a better-informed person. This way, you can learn something new and deliver the right solution to the task at hand. Also, this will equip you to handle similar queries more confidently the next time they hit you!
10. Have Fun With Client Experience!
Don’t miss out on the most important part of managing clients and their projects – Having fun while doing it! Remember that it is a job at the end of the day, and clients are human too that need a personal touch to their everyday work ethics.
Thus, when dealing with a challenge, simply approach the client, discuss roadblocks, and probable solutions, and deliver client expectations with both sides closing the project happily.
Best 5 Project Management Software With Client Portal
A project management software helps monitor workflows and stay on track for on-time and on-budget project delivery. And, a project management software with a client portal helps keep clients in the know about how the projects are moving forward and whether they are going as expected.
Here are the top 5 project management software with a client portal.
ProProfs Project is a power-packed software that helps you track real-time progress and deliver projects as expected. Its easy-to-use interface makes client onboarding seamless and quick. You can add clients to your project by inviting them as guests. This allows the client to access project information in real-time and steer the project execution in the right direction in case it starts deviating from the set path. Thus, involving clients in the project management process this way helps enhance overall transparency and run projects efficiently from start to finish.
Key features of ProProfs Project:
- View project progress via Gantt chart, Kanban board, and more
- Get rich insights into key project metrics instantly
- Set up task alerts and notifications to always stay up-to-date
- Give instant feedback using task comments
- Share files with stakeholders on the go
- Generate accurate invoices with reliable time tracking
Starts at $39.97/month.
Accelo allows clients to gain access to their projects, contracts, and services in one place. Clients can log in securely and track ongoing issues and projects. They can even raise their own issues or service requests via the 24/7 self-serve access portal. Also, you can collaborate with clients by letting them track selected file notes, emails, and documents and providing instant feedback.
Key features of Accelo:
- Upload and store revisions and large documents
- Keep a record of client’s billing history
- Share documents with clients
- Set up notifications of client actions, say sign-offs or approvals
Plus – $24/product/user/month
Premium – $39/product/user/month
Monday.com offers a fully customizable platform that allows clients to get involved in the project execution phase. Using this tool, clients can view progress and step in to tailor any workflow for better results. Its multiple project views make it easy to visualize where the project is headed using Gantt chart, Timeline, Chart, and Map views.
Key features of Monday.com:
- Drag and drop tasks to suit project requirements
- Automate repetitive tasks to focus on more important ones
- Integrate with your favorite third-party applications instantly
- Monitor progress via real-time insights on its intuitive dashboard
Individual – $0
Basic – $8/seat/month
Standard – $10/seat/month
Pro – $16/seat/month
Enterprise – Available on request
Wrike offers powerful Calendar and Gantt charts to help clients get access to real-time project status without approaching the project manager to take task updates every now and then. Besides, its customizable statuses and workflows allow your clients to stay in the know of which task is at which stage of execution at a glance.
Key features of Wrike:
- Use custom intake forms to intake client requests
- Get customizable reports on project progress in just a few clicks
- Get started with project execution faster with ready-to-use templates
- Keep clients informed with shareable project dashboards
Free – $0
Professional – $9.80/user/month
Business – $24.80/user/month
Enterprise – Available on request
Easy Projects provides a robust platform that helps centralize all client information in one spot. Its Guest Portal helps bring clients on board and ensures that clients take a good look at project progress. This enhances client interaction as clients get more confident about how tasks are moving forward. Also, you can allow your clients to take part in task discussions for better outcomes.
Key features of Easy Projects:
- Let clients submit issues and requests easily
- Allow clients to add or download files using the tool
- Set up milestones for better deadline tracking
- Use baseline tracking to check any deviation from the pre-set plan
Team – $24/user/month
Enterprise – Available on request
Keep Your Clients Happy With Better Project Outcomes
Client project management is easier than it seems. Treat your clients as partners and discuss your concerns right away. Focusing and improving client relationships will show results in the form of enhanced project results and increased business profitability.
Couple the above-mentioned powerful tips with a client-facing project management tool, and you’re good to set up your projects for success with positive client relationships.
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