Equip Your Support Systems
The specific tools that make up your system depend largely on your industry, but it’s helpful to start with a basic framework and build out your database as needed.
Here are seven features a good support system includes:
1. Project Management Offices
Project management offices supply industry-specific models to support project management. For example, a global ingredient manufacturer I worked with focused on resources concerning best practices for using its ingredients, while a large software developer created its knowledge center to support the implementation of the agile software development method.
2. Process Maps
Process maps will articulate the unique developments you’re cultivating to improve the client’s experience. Specific objectives can be mapped to offer a visual understanding of processes, as well as spark new ideas, identify pain points, and illustrate areas of growth. Process mapping is viable across all industries, from preparing a restaurant menu to developing project budgets.
3. System Models
System models will inform clients where they are in the use of new skills and how they interrelate. They also identify points for maximum leverage of new behaviors and places where engagement might give you significant return on any time or effort you expend.
4. Templates for Action and Coaching Others
Providing how-to templates for doing specific activities is a great way to leverage your subject matter expertise in your absence. Clients appreciate clear explanations that can guide them as they try applying new processes and concepts in their work roles or with their teams. Providing templates for managers and leaders to use as coaching materials also helps create a more robust performance environment for your clients.
5. Thought-Starter Articles, Audio Files, and Videos
Get creative with using different mediums to communicate new concepts, ideas, or next steps to your clients. For example, you can use a podcast to update your client on the status of his new business venture. The more creative you get, the easier it will be to keep your client’s attention.
6. Risk Management Guides
Risk is a fundamental reality of running a company, but by giving your client a run-through of the basic dos and don’ts, you can (hopefully) mitigate that risk. Create a simple precautionary checklist that clients can reference to prevent disruptions.
7. In-Case-of-Emergency Kits
No matter how infallible your risk management guide is, mistakes still happen. Prepare an emergency kit, and make it as specific to a client’s situation as possible. If clients need to use them while you’re away, they will be surprised and delighted by your foresight.
These tools are a great starting point for any client support system, but you should examine each client’s unique needs and tailor resources accordingly.