You tell your client that you need ten pieces of information to complete a project. They provide the easiest five and ask “what else do you need?
”Does this sound familiar?
“I need the other five pieces of information….Aargh!”
Incomplete information may be the single biggest obstacle to your success as a service provider. How so, you ask?
It’s about how your business handles incomplete information. Many service providers don’t have a thoughtful process in place to deal with this situation. Very often, instead of going back to the client for the rest of the information, they spin their wheels trying to figure out an answer without the complete picture. Then what happens?
You ultimately have to go back to the client to get the rest of the information. When billing, you’re explaining to your client why it took you and your staff so long to complete the project and why you didn’t get back to them sooner to get the missing information. This is a lose-lose situation.What can you do?
Like all of us these days, clients are overwhelmed with requests for information. While you can’t stop the craziness where everyone seems to ask for too much information, you can be different. Train your staff. Coach your clients. Invest in a process by which you determine what information you really need when you need it and from whom you should request it. It may not seem easy, but the payback will be substantial. Your clients will appreciate it.
And by the way…limit your firm’s heroic attempts to figure stuff out. It doesn’t work. A quality product requires complete input.