Communicating process is about letting others know where you are in the process of delivering requested information or in completing a task. Most never think about communicating process because they do not see the value in it. However, when you communicate the process, it lets those who are depending on you know that you are working on what they need and whether you are on target or running behind. This is true for both external clients and internal colleagues.
Let’s consider a few scenarios to tease out what communicating process looks like.
In both scenarios, talking to the client frequently and with full disclosure is your best option. It is not always the most comfortable option, but it is best for the client. Leaving a client in the dark and wondering about what is going on is never a good idea. Communicating the process is your best practice for keeping clients engaged and informed, even when the news is bad.
Additionally, communicating process with your colleagues is a good idea. When someone internally is waiting for you to complete a task or deliver information, communicate your process. Keep each other informed as to your progress or lack thereof. If someone emails you a request, let them know you received it and what your plan is for delivering.
What is the client’s experience when working with you? Why has client experience risen to the top of the ladder as one of the most important marketing areas of focus for A/E/C firms? Because people are buying an experience as much as they are buying consulting engineering.
There are 37,274 coffee shops brands in the U.S. Some coffee is good, some not so good. The product varies. However, when you choose a coffee shop you are not just buying a cup of coffee. You are buying an experience. You may value the experience of convenience and efficiency. You may value the experience of a laidback hipster vibe playing indie music. Or you may value the experience of a delicious and consistent coffee flavor.
There are 37,274 coffee shops brands in the U.S. Some coffee is good, some not so good.
The best technical engineers are not always the engineers chosen for a project. This is because even project owners buy experience. And they do not all buy the same experience, similar to coffee drinkers who may buy convenience, vibe, or flavor.
So, the marketing goal is to learn what experiences our clients desire most and find ways to deliver that experience. To gather this information, we must ask. We must have regular conversations with our clients and learn to listen to their preferences. Some clients prefer regular interactions and quick responsiveness. Others prefer technical accuracy and detail. Still, others prefer delivery on time and within their budget.
We have several avenues of discovery for client experience data.
Lesson 70 from The AEC Professional's Guide!
When it comes to marketing content, we take lessons from the best-selling novelists. Did you know that best sellers of any genre have 4.5 letters-per-word or fewer? Most were fewer than 4.3. In fact, the lower it was, the better the seller. Said another way, you should use short words if you want people to read what you write.
However, as engineers and design professionals, you were trained to write using large words and industry jargon. Like writing at an eighth- to tenth-grade level, using smaller words helps your readers. When you use gigantic audacious words in long run on sentences that produce in the reader the necessity to have to decipher the sentence more than a few times before conquering its subject matter, you become unintelligible. Or, when you use big words in long sentences it causes the reader to work too hard.
Why say ‘utilize’ when you can say ‘use?’ Instead of ‘perform,’ use ‘do.’ Rather than ‘inception,’ use ‘start.’ Say ‘move’ instead of ‘relocate.’
As Mark Twain once said, “Why should I write ‘metropolis’ when I get paid the same for ‘city’?”
Gabe Lett, FSMPS, CPSM, LPC