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Contract Management as a Customer Service Discipline Donald E. Shannon, PMP, CPCM

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Presentation on theme: "Contract Management as a Customer Service Discipline Donald E. Shannon, PMP, CPCM"— Presentation transcript:

1 Contract Management as a Customer Service Discipline Donald E. Shannon, PMP, CPCM

2 What is Customer Service? Customer Service is: Customer Service is: Fulfilling the customer’s needs quickly, professionally, and satisfactorily the first time Fulfilling the customer’s needs quickly, professionally, and satisfactorily the first time Being a partner with the customer to identify needs and devise the least painful route to fulfilling them Being a partner with the customer to identify needs and devise the least painful route to fulfilling them NOT a license to circumvent procedures or regulations. Rather it is assisting your customer in navigating that maze. NOT a license to circumvent procedures or regulations. Rather it is assisting your customer in navigating that maze. Recognizing that the customer is your reason for going to work each day Recognizing that the customer is your reason for going to work each day Recognizing if the customer can’t fulfill their needs through you, they will find another way … usually to your (or their) detriment. Recognizing if the customer can’t fulfill their needs through you, they will find another way … usually to your (or their) detriment.

3 Who is Your Customer? Knowing who you serve is the first and most basic step in good customer service Knowing who you serve is the first and most basic step in good customer service After all … they pay the bills After all … they pay the bills Direct charge to program Direct charge to program Overhead position Overhead position Staff agency Staff agency Know their organization Know their organization Structure Structure Mission Mission

4 How Does One Measure Customer Service? Do your customers get what they need Do your customers get what they need Quickly Quickly Reasonably priced Reasonably priced High quality High quality Is your organization responsive to their requests Is your organization responsive to their requests Do they listen when you talk? Do they listen when you talk? Do the respond Do the respond Quickly Quickly Effectively Effectively Do you put them in contact with the expert who can fix the problem? Do you put them in contact with the expert who can fix the problem? Do you follow-up to make sure the problem has been fixed? Do you follow-up to make sure the problem has been fixed?

5 Contract Management as a Customer Service Discipline Contract Manager supports the Program Manager Contract Manager supports the Program Manager Advisor for contractual matters Advisor for contractual matters Acquisition strategist Acquisition strategist Contract/subcontract type Contract/subcontract type Competition requirements Competition requirements Small business participation Small business participation Proposal or solicitation support Proposal or solicitation support Terms and Conditions review Terms and Conditions review Teaming agreements Teaming agreements

6 Contract Management as a Customer Service Discipline Manage business matters for contracts 1 Manage business matters for contracts 1 Invoicing Invoicing Funds availability Funds availability Purchase approval Purchase approval Manage subcontracts and consultants 1 Manage subcontracts and consultants 1 Agreements/subcontracts Agreements/subcontracts Payment Payment Non-disclosure Non-disclosure 1. Contract management roles and responsibilities vary with each organization.

7 How Does Your Customer Perceive Your Support? Are you responsive to their needs? Are you responsive to their needs? Do you represent their interests in the acquisition process Do you represent their interests in the acquisition process Are you available to meet with them at their place of business? Are you available to meet with them at their place of business?

8 Fight for Feedback When was the last time you asked customers for an evaluation of your support? When was the last time you asked customers for an evaluation of your support? Just the act of doing this sends an important message Just the act of doing this sends an important message When was the last time a customer thanked you for replying promptly or going the extra mile? When was the last time a customer thanked you for replying promptly or going the extra mile? Of course the reply should be “doesn’t everyone do that?” Of course the reply should be “doesn’t everyone do that?” Does your boss ask key customers for input for performance reporting? Does your boss ask key customers for input for performance reporting?

9 Walk a Mile in Their Shoes See yourself as others see you See yourself as others see you Spend some time at your customer’s office Spend some time at your customer’s office Become familiar with their plans and requirements Become familiar with their plans and requirements Put faces and names together Put faces and names together Attend departmental meetings – especially if an acquisition topic is on the agenda Attend departmental meetings – especially if an acquisition topic is on the agenda New or renewed contract New or renewed contract Funding requirements Funding requirements

10 General Techniques to Improve Customer Service Go on “walkabouts” (Manage by Wandering Around) Go on “walkabouts” (Manage by Wandering Around) Promotes informal communications with PMs and team Promotes informal communications with PMs and team Improves understanding of technology and potential issues Improves understanding of technology and potential issues Demonstrates approachability and willingness to be a team player Demonstrates approachability and willingness to be a team player

11 General Techniques to Improve Customer Service “Own” the contract / procurement process “Own” the contract / procurement process Help set reasonable schedules and then be accountable for meeting deadlines Help set reasonable schedules and then be accountable for meeting deadlines Represent Contracting at acquisition team meetings Represent Contracting at acquisition team meetings Offer solutions not roadblocks when problems arise Offer solutions not roadblocks when problems arise

12 General Techniques to Improve Customer Service Be knowledgeable Be knowledgeable Know the FAR, agency supplements, case law and policy Know the FAR, agency supplements, case law and policy Apply that knowledge to customer issues Apply that knowledge to customer issues Be proactive Be proactive Stay informed about upcoming acquisitions Stay informed about upcoming acquisitions Offer assistance without being asked Offer assistance without being asked Keep your customer informed Keep your customer informed

13 Consider Organizational Changes Are you a centralized function? Are you a centralized function? Could you better support your customer by embedding your operation with theirs? Could you better support your customer by embedding your operation with theirs? Do you have teams assigned to specific customers or organizations? Do you have teams assigned to specific customers or organizations? Who is your customer’s “go- to” person or is it the contract manager de jour? Who is your customer’s “go- to” person or is it the contract manager de jour?

14 Summary Contract management is a customer service profession. Contract management is a customer service profession. Know your customer and their needs – try a little empathy. Know your customer and their needs – try a little empathy. Fulfill those needs promptly and professionally. Fulfill those needs promptly and professionally. You are the one with the knowledge and ability to guide your customer through the maze of bureaucracy and regulation that is contracting. You are the one with the knowledge and ability to guide your customer through the maze of bureaucracy and regulation that is contracting.

15 The Contract Coach Albuquerque, NM (505)


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