“Customer Service” doesn’t apply to Project Managers.

Or… does it??

Have you ever been in a situation where you are so excited about getting a new product that you choose to ignore subpar customer service to get the item?

Unfortunately, I think we have all been there more than once. Our desire to acquire the item is so intense that we are willing to overlook the momentary inconvenience of a distracted or rude sales person.

However, two things normally follow these experiences: first, once we have successfully procured the product we make a point to avoid returning to that business for future purchases, and second, we share our bad experience with family and friends.

I realize that this may not be new information to you, but the implications of this scenario affect us everyday in our personal and professional lives.

This dynamic manifests itself whenever we interact with other people, impacting that relationship beyond that moment. To prove the validity of this point, substitute from this scenario the product and replace it with a service or maybe the act of buying something for a conversation with a colleague at work or perhaps a stakeholder.

If the experience is less than optimal, chances are that either of you or both will have reservations about working or collaborating together in the future.

Some will read this and think that it is not a big deal, but I hope the next few lines will change that opinion. Although it is true that we do not have to attract every potential customer to be successful, why would anyone willingly work to counter his/her own efforts? The idea is to stack the deck in our favor, not against.

If you are a fan of military movies, perhaps you have heard the saying:

“High Speed – Low Drag”

Obviously popular among aviation enthusiasts, it identifies the dynamic that exists between the speed at which the aircraft travels and the resistance of the wind acting against it. Most people focus on the flashy part – the speed – but the drag is always present and must be considered.

Online marketing has increased the “speed” at which your customers procure your products and/or services. User experience can serve to increase customer loyalty or create an antagonistic relationship “drag”.

Millions of people today can and do share their opinion about everything they like or dislike with their friends and thousands of others in an instant. These expressed opinions can affect the opinions and actions of others towards a company, a product or service, or a person.

The truth is, everyone in the organization is or should be concerned with Customer Service and User Experience. This is because every interaction with another person creates an indelible user experience that fashions their opinions about us and it either increases satisfaction (speed) or dissatisfaction (drag.) This is especially true for project managers, because they have internal andexternal customers and stakeholders.

Project Managers always seek to craft the win-win scenario in every relationship and at every opportunity. The most effective way I have found for crafting the win-win scenario is by adopting a customer service approach, which I want to share with you.

I (PM) will help you (stakeholder, customer) get what you need (result) and then I will receive what I need (acceptance, success).