As much as 80% of project problems are due to a lack of proper communications between the client and the integrator, according to the results of a recent survey in which the 1800+ system integrators listed in Control Engineering‘s Automation Integrator Guide were asked to share their top tips for ensuring the success of an automation project. For more information about the survey, see How Communications Help Integration Projects Succeed.
So consider creating a communication plan for each project. Who are the primary stakeholders of the project? What information do you need to provide on a regular basis? For instance, you must document and communicate those things that will impact the schedule or the client’s overall satisfaction. Your plan should include how often information is to be communicated and the preferred vehicle for that communication.
Speaking of customer communications, you should consider creating standards and a template for all communications. At a minimum, it should include the project ID, but may also require a confidentiality clause. And, remember any customer interaction is an opportunity to build your services brand. So, a well-designed template will not only improve your professional image with your clients, but also serve as a gentle reminder to your staff that they are always representing your company when communicating with your customer.