Some of the client expectations are listed below, in no particular order and have been tested over many years for relevance;
- Sound reputation and proven track record – the client wnats to know that the consultant has succeeded before, has sound references and an impressive, relevant resume.
- Understanding of the client’s business, needs, opportunities, challenges and problems – the consultant should have contextual knowledge and capabilities – this is also highlighted in the ISO 20700 Standard, which is covered in a seperate course.
- Specific knowledge, skills and experience relevant to the current need – this is related to the previous point but addresses even more specific knowledge, which could be functional or specialist in nature.
- Integrity and Honesty – especially bout problems, challenges and difficult situations. This goes without saying and is core to the ethos of management consulting. It is also embedded in the professional code of conduct. The key question a client would be asking him or herself is; can I trust the consultant?
- Independence and objectivity – This characteristic is embedded in the definition of management consulting and relates to whether the client will get the advice he or she needs, not what they may want. It also encompasses the consultant’s ability to step away from the challenge and see it as it should be seen, without unnecessary filters
- Responsive, reliable and open communication – this is core to any leadership or professional interaction and is very much about letting the client know what they need to know when they need to know it. It is also about directness and not avoiding difficult topics or situations.
- Skills transfer for a specific intervention or prior to disengagement – many clients complain that consultants build “dependency” into their engagements, resulting in never ending fees. A professional consultant should build a skills transfer plan into the engagement, so that the client can continue without the consultant’s assistance or involvement; should they choose to do so
- On time/On budget delivery – meet the contract – this is a core element of successful project delivery; the elements are typically referred to as time, cost and quality.
- Dependability and reliability – the client should feel that they do not need to micro manage the consultant and be able to rely on commitments made by the consultant.