Nothing feels better for an integrator than coming to the end of a big project. After hours of scope work, planning, preparation and unforeseen changes, there is a sense of relief in the air when the last rack screw is set in place or the final piece of code is tweaked.
But wait, that isn’t really the end. In fact, at this point there is still much to be done, however far too often this is where integrators walk away, and perhaps this is why there are far too many systems left in the hands of clients who don’t entirely understand how to use them or what they really have.
While this may sound a bit challenging to the industry norms, I would be willing to say that all too often the dissonance between a customer and their integrator isn’t in the integration of the systems themselves, but really in the way they are handed off to the customer.
There is good news here, this can be easily fixed and will be if you just follow these 5 tips for better project handoffs between an integrator and the end user.
- Final Review: Prior to the final walk through, I always recommend a brief sit down going back through the project scope and reiterating what was sold and what has been delivered. It is important to do this separate from the walk through because there are going to be aesthetics and (usually) some small distractions during the walk through that will need to be adjusted. Those will limit the customer’s clarity during the walk through.
- Final Walk-Thru: After the final review is done it is time to walk the system. Keeping documentation handy and verifying the delivery of what was committed.
- Hands on Demonstration: Let the customer see everything working. Ideally before walking them through whoever is going to do this gets a crash course so they clearly know how to use the equipment. There is nothing worse than when the integrator can’t demonstrate their installation.
- Documentation Overview: Most integrators spend a lot of time putting together a comprehensive document that shows the complete system and its capabilities. While instruction manuals are great, it is nice for the integrator to show the client what is in the documentation. Some integrators create nice quick start guides outlining how to use the most critical system features. This is a great idea in today’s DIY world.
- In-Depth Training: Part of the scope should include in depth training of at least a few internal champions from the client. As we all know, training only one is never a good idea because if that person leaves there is no one that knows how to use the system. This training should be done apart from the walk through and at a time when people can focus on how to use the system rather than any visual deficiencies.
As technology continues to become simpler it is without question that the goal of the integrator is to deliver systems that are almost self explanatory. However, many of the systems we as integrators deploy are complex and capable of doing so many things beyond even what is expected. It is precisely this reason that we as integrators have to follow these five steps and make sure that we have a successful handoff.
With better project handoffs you will have happier customers and ideally a great reference customer and who knows, that little extra training may make all the difference as to who gets the job the next time one comes around.
How does your company handle project handoffs? We’d love to hear from you.