TZL 1461 (web)


JUSTIN SMITH , from page 1

that studied how professional services companies could better understand customer desires and how professional services providers could optimally align their services to the expectations of their customers. The 2012 study concluded that the key to creating and sustaining high-value customer relationships lies in the service provider’s ability to continuously meet or exceed customer expectations. In addition to prior research, the kicker is that this is true whether customer expectations are known to the provider or not. Your project’s business starts by uncovering and understanding your client’s expectations as much as possible. These are the metrics your clients will use to evaluate your value as a service provider. Whether you know of them or not, they are there, and they are the measuring stick for your firm. UNCOVERING EXPECTATIONS. When working with companies, we often start with a deliberate discovery process. The discovery process serves two purposes for us as a service provider: 1. It helps us to understand their expectations and goals. 2. It allows us to ensure we can meet them. Challenges exist when expectations are not well-articulated. These challenges are nobody’s fault, and they occur for various reasons. The key is to identify what kind of expectations you are working with and make them known to you so that, by meeting them, you can deliver a high-value project experience. A research study on expectations management for professional services providers studied this topic and provided a framework for making unknown expectations known to you. This study indicates that client value is derived through focusing, revealing, and calibrating expectations, then delivering services that meet those expectations. What does this look like in practice? We want to focus the fuzzy, reveal the implicit, and calibrate the unrealistic, and open-ended questions are one of the best ways to do that. The key is to ask the questions in plain language and then allow your client to describe their ideal outcome in their words.

Interested in learning more

about the projects and ideas driving the AEC industry forward? Learn more with Civil+Structural Engineer Media.

PO Box 1528 Fayetteville, AR 72702

Chad Clinehens | Publisher Sara Parkman | Senior Editor & Designer Shirley Che | Contributing Editor Liisa Andreassen | Correspondent Tel: 800-466-6275 Fax: 800-842-1560 Email: Online: Twitter: Facebook: Group-1030428053722402 Published continuously since 1992 by Zweig Group, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA. ISSN 1068-1310. Issued weekly (48 issues/year). Free electronic subscription at © Copyright 2022, Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

(Ojasalo 2001) When done well, this process helps you understand what your client expects throughout the project. The only thing left for you to do at that point is to deliver, and I have yet to meet an AEC firm that is not willing to bet on itself to deliver. So back to the beginning of this article. Why does this issue keep coming up? Are the expectations fuzzy, implicit, or unrealistic? Regardless of the reason, you now have one more tool in your toolkit to derive value in your projects and, hopefully, one fewer problem to solve. Justin Smith, P.E., is an advisor at Zweig Group, specializing in project management and leadership development. He can be reached at

PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR AEC PROFESSIONALS Attendees will learn to identify and track key project data, to structure project interactions to get information to the right people at the right time, and the interpersonal behaviors that build successful teams, and will leave armed with a process framework that can be adapted to their firms so they can immediately begin driving greater project value. Click here to learn more!

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.


Made with FlippingBook Annual report