Driving Business Outcomes through Better Engagement: A programmatic approach
Consulting is ever-changing, but at its core is the relationship between people – clients and consultants working together to achieve goals. Regardless of the technology stack or methodologies, success depends on the effectiveness of these human connections and how the two parties work together to achieve an outcome.
Have you ever hired a consultant for an important project? You spent substantial time evaluating resumes, interviewing candidates, and making what you believed to be the perfect choice for your project. You felt confident with your decision. Then you found that results still varied; sometimes, the consultant’s actual contribution exceeded expectations, yet other times, you were underwhelmed, causing you to question the contribution and return on investment (ROI). So, what led to the different outcomes? Were there opportunities to course-correct and realign expectations along the way?
As a consulting company, CC Pace has always been sensitive to the needs of our clients and consultants. However, the pandemic forced us to rethink our engagement approach completely. The shift to remote and hybrid work highlighted the need for a more intentional program to foster alignment, improved communication, transparency, and value between clients and consultants. As luck would have it, I had just completed my graduate degree in leadership and management, which required considerable research into workplace motivation, engagement, and performance.
These factors became the catalyst for reevaluating how CC Pace engages with clients and consultants to ensure an outstanding consulting experience, leading to the design and implementation of our new Client Success program. This program nurtures purposeful, collaborative interaction between CC Pace, our client hiring managers, and consultants across engagements – from onboarding to project completion.
We recognize that a successful consulting experience hinges on aligning consultant capabilities with client needs – finding the ideal synergistic fit of skills, working styles, and values. In theory, this sounds straightforward, but after working in consulting for over a decade, I can say without hesitation that it is much harder than you might think. Every project has unique team dynamics, organizational cultures, and expectations that span an array of projects and environments. But one element that remains constant across all projects is the client-consultant relationship. My goal as the Director of Client Success is to proactively address and mitigate challenges, support optimal consultant performance, and increase the likelihood of a positive ROI throughout an engagement.
Since implementing this program last fall, we have seen tangible value for our clients and consultants. On the client side, we have proactively mitigated risks and avoided potential financial consequences by aligning project roles, expectations, and desired outcomes. For our consultants, the program has increased engagement, commitment, and alignment with client initiatives. As for CC Pace, this model has enhanced our relationship with clients and consultants, opened more doors to collaborate effectively, and given us a platform to demonstrate our commitment beyond our core satisfaction standards.
Here are a handful of outcomes achieved for clients and consultants.
Reduction in Attrition: Client Success reduces attrition risk, delivering improved resource stability and increased consultant engagement by aligning expectations. Ongoing communication ensures consultant skills remain aligned to evolving client needs, promoting performance and increasing job satisfaction. For clients, this validation process prevents disruptive and costly departures. For example, we had a senior developer who was asked to lead a functional team, and the request did not align with the consultant’s skill set. He contemplated leaving the project; however, after working with the client manager, we created a solution that prevented attrition, which has financial repercussions, and achieved a positive outcome.
Improved Performance: Client Success identifies opportunities for consultants to expand their skills and consulting aptitude, enhancing their contribution to client initiatives. It provides coaching and training to expand performance in areas clients need, empowering them to excel and enabling clients to get more value. For example, a junior business analyst was working on a complex, high-profile initiative, and we provided mentoring on stakeholder management. As a result, the consultant could contribute at a higher level.
Stronger Communication Channels: Client Success fosters a culture of transparent, responsive communication between CC Pace, client managers, and consultants by establishing open channels for ongoing dialogue and feedback. Proactive outreach creates opportunities to gather input, anticipate challenges, and collaboratively implement solutions, strengthening partnerships. Historically, there are examples where consultants are reluctant to share their feedback with client managers, especially in the early stages of an engagement. Our structured check-in process creates a forum for open dialogue that allows us to share perspectives and build trust.
Greater Consultant and Client Satisfaction: Client Success supports the achievement of professional and personal objectives. As the program’s director, it’s personally rewarding to hear a consultant say, “I appreciate CC Pace’s proactive approach. I was reluctant to take on performance testing but feel supported by the company,” or a client state, “Thank you for taking the time to understand my business initiative and goals. Your consulting approach is adding value and making a difference.” These statements demonstrate how consulting organizations play a pivotal role and influence the success of consulting engagement.
As we head into the second year of our Client Success program, we continue to evaluate, refine, and improve program components – creating a positive experience for the consultant and a great business outcome for the client. Consulting engagements live and breathe through the relationship between client hiring managers and consultants. The CC Pace Client Success Program ensures that our consultants meet the needs and objectives of our clients throughout their engagements by fostering proactive, collaborative, transparent relationships across our projects. Our program may be new, but it is built on 45 years of experience and a commitment to shared success for our consultants and clients.
For additional information on our Client Success Program click here!