CONSULTING – Understanding some major reasons for dissatisfaction…and how to avoid them! 0
Posted on 15, May 2013
in Category Management Consulting
Seller’s not Deliverers: There are too many Consultants or Consulting organizations that focus on their own mandates. “When you only have a hammer…everything looks like a nail”. Squeezing your specific needs into their narrow area of expertise generally means they can’t deliver. At EnPower we let our customers purchase our services when they need them, to their benefit and not to meet any sales quotas.
Scope Creep: Each consulting mandate should have a clearly defined scope of at least: What is to be done? By Whom?, By When?, How it is to be done?, How Much it will cost?
Too often clients allow consultants to expand or broaden the scope of a project so they can continue billing. This is done by both big and small consulting firms. Many consultants are not comfortable selling, therefore once they secure business from a client they do not want to, or can’t afford to let go. Independent consultants are too frequently trying to find a job under the guise of a consulting mandate, while large consulting firms are under constant revenue pressures. Good firms constantly remind their clients of the scope, and what, if any, additional scope can be included without affecting timelines or price. If the timeline or price would be affected then you should be advised immediately and asked for direction.
Varying Deliverables: Deliverables must be clearly defined and any changes (if necessary) must be approved. One company, upon delivery of their Strategic Plan also received an unapproved detailed survey for a potential market and an additional invoice for more than the original mandate. You need to partner with Consultant Firms that consistently adhere to the defined approved deliverables. Many times firms such as Enpower Group expand the deliverables at no extra cost or time to the client.
The Pricing Trap: Many Consultant Firms, big and small, quote based on an hourly rate. In some cases estimates are provided. All too often the estimates are far lower the actual final cost for the mandate. Some call this a bait and switch. The bait is the low estimate, the switch is the final cost based on the extended hours. Choose a firm that can quote a fixed price per mandate. This provides you with certainty and keeps the consultants sharp. A fixed price is a direct result of clearly defined Scope and Deliverables.
The Cancellation Trap: This is a very common complaint due to the fact that many companies have felt they were trapped into completing a failing project only because they were going to have to pay to cancel it. At EnPower Group from day 1 our terms are “All projects are cancellable by either party at any time without any penalty or cancellation fee.” We have to constantly earn our right to come back and complete the project. On occasion we cancel the mandate usually due to the fact that the client cannot meet their project obligations.
Project Value: Given the consistent dissatisfaction with consulting projects, organizations often (~ 43.7 %) feel that they were promised champagne and got beer.
Even with clearly defined scope, deliverables and price controls, the Project Return on Investment (PROI) can be vague. At EnPower we not only measure the PROI with our clients but we warranty that our clients will realize savings greater than our fee within a limited specified period of time. Often savings exceeding our fee are realized before the project is complete.