There are times when we are asked to work on projects where the client’s ideas are wrong or what they want to do is not producing the desired results. This is a common problem in our industry and the reason why many eLearning courses (and training programs for that matter) are ineffective.
The challenge is figuring out how to keep the customer happy and get the right product out the door.
Here are three quick tips to get you moving in the right direction.
Manage customer relationships
There are two key aspects to the relationship you have with your customer. The first is to set the aspirational tone. Build enthusiasm and anticipation for project success. Create a portfolio of successful projects to show how things can be and push them beyond pedestrian expectations or what the customer considers typical e-learning,
The second aspect is providing excellent service. Be approachable first and give people more than they expect. You’ve built enough courses to anticipate some of the problems that come up or common obstacles. Be proactive in dealing with them. You will be considered a pro. Which leads to the second point, probably the most important.
Become an expert
Maybe you’re just starting out or you’ve already built a hundred playgrounds. Regardless of the number of projects you have under your belt, it is important to present yourself as an e-learning expert. That’s why you’re there.
Understand the main objectives and how the proposed solution fulfills them. Be confident in explaining your ideas and why they are appropriate for the course. I also like to collect eLearning design resources and books that support my ideas. This provides research-based information that can be used to answer any customer questions or challenges.
I remember an earlier time in my career when I didn’t speak up due to lack of experience. And we delivered subpar products because I let the customer push me down a path I didn’t agree with.
You are the expert. They want you to build a playground. Promote this expertise.
Create a timeline and stick to it
Working with the customer to set definitive goals and expectations is a great way to save time and avoid disappointment. It also helps keep the project on track and avoid scope creep, a common problem with eLearning projects.
Keep the customer in the loop, avoid surprises, which builds on the previous point about anticipating potential problems and solving them before they become real problems.
There is much more to managing customer expectations and creating a successful project. The three tips above should help you.
What else would you suggest to a new eLearning designer?