Nothing is more frustrating that being in the dark. When people don’t have a reliable, consistent source of accurate information, they will fill the void with their own beliefs or feedback from other, under-informed teammates. Very often, these are based upon their greatest fears and concerns. This, in turn, creates stress and worry.
The best way to address this is to prevent it in the first place. It is done by ensuring a consistent stream of information.
At CS3, we do this in many ways. Every on-site visit is discussed and scheduled well in advance. All projects begin with a kick off meeting and immediately followed by a project planning meeting.
We also establish and conduct weekly status meetings throughout the life of a project. We support these meetings using tools like Smartsheet to maintain shared team rosters, project plans, activity lists, and project reports to keep all team members updated on project status.
When helping customers with ongoing support, all issues are documented in a service ticket management system. When a new ticket is opened, an email is sent to the primary contact confirming the product involved, the issue reported, and targeted response time. Once the ticket is completed, another email is sent to confirm closure.
With over all communications, all CS3 team members are directed to confirm meetings the day before they occur, whether held in person, on the phone, of via WebEx. When arriving on-site, consultants are expected to check in with their customer contact and to then check out with them before leaving. During the check-in, we discuss the objectives for the visit and schedule side meetings if needed. When checking out, we review what was completed, outline open issues, confirm assignments left with team members, and schedule the next follow up.
All of this is done to keep everyone on the same page and rowing in unison.
Keeping everyone informed not only prevents people from having to guess, it demonstrates professionalism for yourself and respect for the customer.