top of page

Client Relationships

Hanshake B&W.jpg

Whether you have key client flight-risks, relationship concerns, or want to ensure your relationships are the best they can be, we can help. 


We’re experienced in salvaging and transforming customer relationships from ‘flight risk’ to success stories. We’ve achieved this with big clients such as the big four banks, to smaller boutique clients. Essentially, the principals are the same:


  • Listening 

  • Providing solution(s)

  • Ensuring consistency

  • Continued communication and review


Following is our typical process for salvaging and empowering client relationships:


  1. ‘Be’ in their world.

  2. Understand their upsets, concerns and requirements.

  3. Ensure they feel honoured by genuinely caring.

  4. Provide a plan or list of actions.

  5. Let them know how and when we will communicate.

  6. Follow through exactly as arranged and communicated (at a minimum)

  7. Provide consistency. 

  8. Continuously review the level of communication.


Client Relationship Case Studies

ANZ Stargate


The ANZ Bank (ANZ) was in the middle of an initiative to centralise multiple legacy learning and management systems. The project called Stargate, was being delivered by BizEd (a consulting company), and the key stakeholders of both organisations were located across Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra. 



The project status was ‘Green’ one week prior to a specific tollgate, then became ‘Red’ on the tollgate date with no plan or revised resolution date. ANZ lost confidence in BizEd and planned to terminate the project unless BizEd could provide a compelling case to proceed.



I was engaged as Project Manager by BizEd and charged with the responsibility of restoring confidence with ANZ as soon as possible. I met with ANZ the next morning and was able to instil enough confidence for to allow me a window of 2 weeks to define the issues, create a resolution, and provide a plan. 


My priority was to meet with team members individually to gain an understanding of the deeper issues. As is often the case with derailed projects the main issue was communication. Each key team member had concerns but didn't feel safe to communicate them for fear of being undermined. 


I was able to create a safe space for genuine communication as well as a new project plan, which I communicated to ANZ. The plan wasn't pretty, but it was real, and ANZ appreciated the transparency.


The project team felt heard and after two months ANZ communicated that they were happy to proceed as long as I continued as the Project Manager. The technical issues grew as we dove deeper, but I provided regular, consistent and honest updates which were appreciated by ANZ.  


Talent2: NZ Department of Education


Talent2 was implementing a new payroll system for the New Zealand Department of Education (client). The implementation had derailed to the extent that it made the front page of the NZ tabloids. Talent2 was scrambling to remedy the situation.



Talent2 had also sold a suite of bespoke digital training modules for the new payroll system which were now due. These had not been developed or addressed with the client and was going to add fuel to the fire.



I was engaged to manage the situation with the client with whom I’d had no previous engagement. My job was to manage the development of the eLearning (albeit late), without further exacerbating the situation. 


I engaged the client and listened whilst they expressed everything they needed to communicate. I acknowledge what we had done and made sure they felt genuinely heard. I then reassured them that I was now in charge of this component and would not let that happen again. This was only the beginning of our journey and trust had not been restored. 


I then created and communicated a plan of action. We adhered to plan, and I stayed in consistent communication with the client. It wasn’t an easy road. I’d arrived to work early each day to find 5 to 10 angry emails (they were in NZ and were 2 hours ahead). However, their anger subsided over time and the relationship completely turned around by the time we delivered the training modules. It eventuated that this was the only component of the entire engagement that ended positively. 


Discount Drug Stores 


A company I was working with (the Supplier) had undertaken a project to provide a dashboard for Discount Drug Stores (the Client) that would provide daily data analytics and business intelligence. 



The Supplier wanted to look after the Client and deliver the dashboard as soon as possible, so proceeded with development without clarifying and formalising requirements. This resulted in a misalignment in expectations, which lead to hundreds of unaddressed emails. The engagement was in a downward spiral and the client sent an email to the COO threatening to terminate the engagement and appoint a competitor.  



I was engaged to salvage the relationship promptly. I had limited context but could see the Client had lost all confidence in our ability to deliver. Despite our best intentions, they felt disrespected and abandoned. I knew it was going to be tricky, but I knew I could do it. 


I read the 130+ emails and categorised them into 17 disparate issues, which I spreadsheeted and prioritised. I then met with a key Client stakeholder, apologised on behalf my company, communicated that I was taking over, and then let them vent. I listened, listened, and listened, absorbed all their upsets, and made sure they felt genuinely heard. I acknowledged their experience and took ownership for what we had done. We then used my spreadsheet to confirm the issues and priorities, and I made a promise to:


  1. Tackle each issue methodically and in priority order.

  2. Meet with them every week and provide an update (as well as stay in communication during the week).

  3. Take their feedback and apply it to issues register. 


The key stakeholder gained confidence and became my internal champion within a relatively short time. After a month I travelled to Queensland to meet with the rest of the stakeholders. The full-day meeting comprised 17 client stakeholders (most of whom were still angry) a techie, and me. I went the same process but this time I had my champion on my side. The day was tough, we didn't walk out singing Dixie, but we did gain traction. By continuing to provide my 3 promises the relationship eventually turned around. We didn't deliver all the functionality because that was not possible, but we did reach a compromise based on truth and rigor, and the client never threatened to leave again. 

bottom of page