I have been a consultant in the fields of records management and information governance for approximately 15 years and I have yet to meet a client that we (I never did it alone!) could not help. That being said, there have been challenges along the way and clients who are “non-believers”.
So, what do you do when a client doesn’t think the tools they have, or are about to adopt for the business, can meet their requirements?
Several things, but one approach is asking why and then properly listening to their concerns. This way you can:
- Determine if their concerns and doubts are legitimate, in the sense that they somewhat know the tool and its limitations, or
- Learn if their concerns and doubts come from past failures with other tools, projects, working with consultants, or other legitimate but not tool-specific fears. If this is the case you can then help to either:
- Dispel their concerns, because the tool will work, or
- Say, yes you are correct, it can’t do that, but let’s figure out a workaround.
This way, based on our knowledge and skills at getting to the bottom of our clients’ needs, concerns, doubts, or worries, we can come up with a solution to help boost their confidence in the tool or provide workarounds.
Educate and Involve
Credit: Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash
If their doubts are because they are familiar with the tool and are uncertain if it will properly work for them and we know it will, we can provide further education on the tool’s capabilities to the client. We can offer demonstrations and provide reading material if available.
Another tactic would be to ask what their top concerns about the tool are, and based on those hold an interactive workshop to educate the client and involve them in learning how the tool can meet their requirements.
For example, if your stakeholder works in IT and has the technical knowledge to participate, you can have them do some activities within the workshop as you guide them. This way they feel empowered and gain confidence that it could be the right solution. Or, if your stakeholder is not in tech but is a key driver of the project, you can ask them to come up with relevant user stories that are meaningful to the business and/or their role. These can then be tested and demonstrated during the workshop.
I suggest asking for the use cases/user stories beforehand, so you know what to demonstrate in the workshop, making it pertinent to your client as well as providing them with meaningful scenarios and potential solutions. As you are demonstrating, prompt your client to provide feedback by asking questions such as, “Do you see how this tool can provide you with the solutions for your requirements?” or “What are your thoughts now on this as a possible solution?” If they are still displaying doubts, take note of them and if you can, alleviate them during the workshop. If not, let them know you will do research and get back to them with answers to their concerns.
Involving the client in finding the solution(s) to their concerns shows them that they are integral to a working resolution and that you are willing to help them gain the knowledge and trust in the tool they need.
Consult and Listen
If it is evident that the tool cannot meet their requirements, that’s when the problem solver hat gets placed upon your head and you find ways to solve the issue. This will require more listening and asking the right questions to find out:
- Do they have the budget to introduce add-ons or licenses if those can help
- Is it too late to “scrap” the tool and go with another one that will work
- If they must implement this tool, are they willing/able to change their requirements so it does work, or
- Can we think outside of the box and come up with ideas for potential solutions that may utilise:
- Other tools they currently have, or
- Expertise (in-house or external) to develop a solution.
The answers will frame the necessary steps for moving forward, but be prepared, they may not be what you want to hear. It could be that the project is stalled as they try to come up with an alternative, or maybe they even discard the idea because what they want is not achievable at this time. If that happens, ensure to stay in touch and even provide additional possibilities that could help get the project back on track.
More likely, the client will be very happy with your ability to hear them, involve them, and willingness to try and suggest other things and will continue to work with you to come up with the best solutions possible. At this time it would be a great opportunity to introduce them to any in-house-developed product that is known to “fill a gap” in the industry, and can be configured to meet their needs. Provide a demonstration of the product highlighting the key areas they need. For example, at Infotechtion, we have i-ARM (Infotechtion Advanced Records Management), “the only product which provides an integrated platform for records and information lifecycle management to meet an organization’s legal and regulatory compliance requirements related to information managed in the Microsoft 365 platform.”
This solution has proven beneficial to several clients and fills a gap in the industry. That, coupled with stelar consulting skills and a team dedicated to change management, places Infotechtion as a leader in the records management and information governance realm.
We are dedicated to helping our clients, even when they don’t think a tool is right for them, because we know there is always a solution. Whether that be our skills, our tools, our knowledge and experience, or a combination of it all—we are here to help and listen.
We know, when you take the time to discuss things openly, honestly, and show your client that you are here to solve their issues, regardless of the tool – you will build rapport which often leads to repeat customers.
And everyone wants repeat customers.