6 Tips for Effectively Communicating Project Delays

6 Tips for Effectively Communicating Project Delays

It doesn’t matter how effective you might be at team management; it’s all but impossible to avoid the possibility of something going wrong with projects sometimes. In many cases, problems might be completely out of your hands. Delays are not uncommon, a survey has shown that a staggering 77% of projects run late, with 75% going over budget.

Although delays can be infuriating for all involved, project management will need to keep their focus and concentrate on what to do next. An important part of dealing with delays is communicating them with the client. This can be tricky to do and get the desired results, so here are 6 top tips on how to communicate project delays effectively.

1. Update The Customer as Soon as You Know

Having to tell a client that their project is delayed can be an awkward situation and something that a lot of people would try to avoid if possible. This might lead some people to try and delay telling the client, but this is only likely to worsen the situation.

It’s best to make the client aware of any delays as soon as you know. Doing so will help you maintain your professionalism despite the delay. It will also help give the client time to make other necessary arrangements. If you leave it until the last minute, you can leave the client in a tough situation with no time to fix it.

2. Keep Records

If there is a delay, the client may have questions. In such cases, it’s best to have all the answers available to you. 
Keeping productivity records will ensure you can show the client that you’ve practiced strong team management to keep the project running on time. You can also consider using project management software like the PK4 Time

Project Management in the PK4 TimeTracker

PK4 TimeTracker Gantt Chart

Tracker to help ensure you can show your client that your team has been working hard to reach the best possible performance levels.

Using a project management tool like the  PK4 TimeTracker can help you manage projects, organize tasks and build confidence within your team. You don’t need to shuffle between complex spreadsheets, email and other tools to keep your projects on course. Everything happens within one integrated system. And you’ll have all the time that your team has spent on the project, right at your finger tips. So you can present accurate data to your customer to back up your efforts.  And you can make it easy by giving your contractors access to the PK4 TimeTracker Mobile or Web app, so that tthey can track their time to the project as well, without needing to be in Salesforce.

3. Have a Solution Ready

Before you let your client know about any delays, it’s best to have a solution available. When you have a solution available, it helps to demonstrate that you’re doing what you can to rectify things as soon as possible.

Having a solution is one of the most important aspects of workplace management. Telling the client about your solution will help to take the edge of the bad news and help them to focus on the positives instead. It also allows the client to have their say about your solution, allowing them to contribute to making it work.

It’s important to remain positive yourself. Remember, you’re the professional and project management is what you do best, so you should always give the impression that you’re in control even when overall performance doesn’t go to plan.

4. Don’t Blame Others

Blaming other people for poor performance is a sign of poor team management, no matter how accurate you might be. If the client presses you for specific reasons regarding work priorities or similar, you should be honest with them, but it should never be done to try and deflect blame away from yourself.

Blaming others will make you look very unprofessional and will achieve nothing. It can make you look as though you’re unwilling to accept responsibility yourself, which could make your client concerned about how the rest of the project management will go.

There’s no need even to mention why a project has gone wrong or who is to blame in most cases. The client will usually only be concerned about what is being done to get everything back on track as much as possible. 

5. The Client Is Not Your Enemy

It’s entirely understandable if the client is frustrated at delays. After all, they have their time management and other issues to worry about. However, this does not mean a client becomes the enemy if they express their frustration.
Remember that the client will want the project completed in good time more so than you do, and they will likely cooperate with any attempt at getting things going again. You will likely need their cooperation to keep productivity high and get the project back on track, which means not making enemies.

You should certainly avoid saying it’s the client’s fault; doing so will only make them defensive. Instead, try to focus on work priorities and do what you can to get the client and team members working together to reach the same goal.

6. Update Often

In the case of a delay, it’s a good idea to keep the client regularly updated. They will be eager to know what progress is being made and will likely become frustrated if kept in the dark. You don’t necessarily need to keep in touch with them every day, but you should at least keep them posted on significant developments.

By keeping the client updated, you can help put their mind at rest while also giving them the opportunity to contribute. They may have a way of helping to make everything run as desired, so it’s a very good idea to have them fully on board. 

Summary

While communicating project delays can be awkward, you can make things go much better if you communicate effectively. Remember to communicate as quickly and as honestly as possible and be ready to present a solution. It’s also essential to always remain professional. Avoid blaming other people and instead focus on what you intend to do to overcome the problems you’re facing.

Keeping time management details and other useful records can also be very beneficial. Doing so can help you identify where things went wrong, and they can also show to clients that you’re doing your best if you’re pushed to give explanations. Regardless, it’s best to keep on communicating clearly and do what you can to keep the client and your team working hand in hand with you. 

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

 

Great Customer Service Productivity Metrics

Great Customer Service Productivity Metrics

Customer service productivity metrics are essential for any business that wishes to remain competitive. However, not just any productivity metrics will do because it’s essential to get feedback on what helps drive your business and keep your customers happy.

The need to use the right metrics leads to the question of which metrics you should use, so let’s take a closer look.

Staff Productivity

Case Console with automatic timer

By staff productivity, we mean time spent by staff on productive tasks rather than time-consuming, menial tasks that offer little value. It’s not to suggest that employees are necessarily lazy, but some processes might take up much of your team’s time without you realizing how inefficient your processes are. A survey has shown that around 89% of people waste time every day at work, making it an issue that clearly needs addressing.

One way to help ensure your staff are working productively is to track how much time they spend on particular tasks. Sophisticated time tracker software like the PK4 Time Tracker makes it seamless for you to track how long your staff are working for, including a breakdown of which tasks they are working on. Armed with this information, you can refine and streamline your process to help ensure your staff get more done during their working day.

Time tracker software can also help reduce time spent on other tasks like updating systems with cases that were worked on during the day. Such features help to reduce the workload on staff, giving them more time to focus on more productive tasks.

Ticket Volume

Even the hardest working and most efficient staff are only human. If there are too many tickets to process, some customers will be left waiting too long for a resolution. Monitoring your ticket volume will help ensure your customer service teams can cope with their workloads. When monitoring ticket volume, you can get helpful information like which days of the week are busiest and whether you need more staff to help.

In addition to looking at ticket volume, you should also monitor ticket backlog. If the backlog is building then, it’s a clear sign that you need to take action, especially if there are tickets not being resolved at all due to staff being too busy.

First Response Time

Making customers wait too long for a response from customers services makes a bad impression. Make them wait for too long, and you may end up losing them altogether. The need to make a good impression makes it essential that your customer services department delivers a good response time.

Monitoring first response time will help give you a good overview of how effectively your case management is and whether you have enough staff to cope with the workload.

Average Resolution Time

Responding to queries is a good start, but how long it takes to solve resolutions is another critical metric. If issues take too long to resolve, customers are likely to become frustrated, which could easily mean they choose to do business with your competition instead. Calculating your average resolution time is easy. Simply divide the total time spent on resolving tickets by the total number of tickets processed, and you have your figure. Automatic case time tracking software will help make this easy for you.

You can improve average resolution times in several ways. For example, empowering your agents with an appropriate customer relationship management (CRM) platform will help ensure they have quick and easy access to all the details they need. Another potential solution is to check that your agents have sufficient training in resolving customers issues.

First Contact Resolution

The holy grail for customer service teams is to solve customers’ problems on the first contact. Customers may begin to get quite frustrated if they must call or message multiple times to have their problems solved. Like average response time, the first contact resolution metric will help you gauge how well trained and equipped your agents are for case management.

Customer Satisfaction Score

The customer satisfaction metric probably speaks for itself and is one of the most powerful customer service metrics there is. This metric involves asking customers how satisfied they were with your customer service department. It’s also an opportunity for you to discover what you could be doing to improve the experience for your customers.
In many cases, customers’ opinions can be gathered with help from automated messaging systems or similar. At others, it might be necessary to run customer surveys to gauge how satisfied or otherwise your customers are with your service.

Customer Churn Rate

No matter how much effort you put into solid customer services, some of your customers will still leave. The number of customers who stop doing business with you is known as churn rate, and the lower the churn rate, the better.

Churn rate is an important metric because it helps you look deeper into why your customers might be leaving. If a customer says they are happy with the service they received from your agents but still left, it suggests another underlying issue that you need to address.

Summary

If you don’t monitor how well your customer service department is doing, it can be easy for standards to slip, which could be very bad for business. Above is a selection of metrics that you can use to help ensure your business remains effective at case management, maintaining customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

It’s important to remember also that technology has transformed the way we communicate in recent years, and your customers will expect you to adapt accordingly. Not only that but using the right technology can help you keep your staff productive by monitoring which tasks they are working on. The right technology will also help ensure your customer service agents have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively.