communication plans help build strong client relationships


Do you utilize formal communication plans in the execution of your projects? Do these plans reflect the organization's best practices? A good communication plan can help you maintain strong relationships with your clients

Communication plans help establish expectations for who should be talking with whom and to some extent what those communications should contain. These plans should answer the who, what, when and how communication should be handled. For example on any given project there is often a single point of contact both from the service provider and at the client. A formal plan attached to each project can help set the expectations for how often they should be communicating and the minimum amount of information that should be contained in those communications such updates on milestones, deliverables and schedule. The plan itself needs to be communicated with client - is it defined how this is to happen and by whom? That is also part of the plan. On very large projects with the involvement of multiple disciplines there will need to be a more complicated plan. Leaders for each discipline for example may have a different point of contact that is necessary for effective project execution. The communication plan will define this as well who else should be copied on these communications such as a project manager, a firm principle or a quality control manager. Your company's internal best practices will help define these responsibilities in general and how to apply them to specific projects. Note that the most effective plans define these communication parameters at multiple levels of the organization. For example a project manager may communicate daily or weekly, a firm principle may communication monthly or quarterly and the accounts receivable manager may communicate with a client's accounts payable manager bi-monthly. Generally speaking the more you are communicating with your clients the better and stronger the relationship - make sure it is defined and working at all of the levels of the organization where communications occur. Let us know if you need help developing them for your organization.