When discussing about project management offices (PMOs), one of the most important factor is often left untouched- customer service. Outside the world of PMO, customer service is often associated with sellers who are trying to escalate their revenues by adding as many customers as possible. Their aim is to attract all kinds of prospective buyers to purchase their products and services.
The fact is that PMOs should operate in a similar fashion. However, they need to focus on reducing costs rather than increasing revenue. Their emphasis should be on consistently delivering value rather than aimlessly acquiring more customers.
PMOs are essentially service groups who carry out the sale of products and services to customers. These include the various PMO divisions, IT departments, project groups and business teams. PMOs should never sell processes, especially the complex ones. The PMO is seen as an expensive exercise from the business point of view when there is too much focus on the process.
How PMOs should help Customers
PMOs need to ‘add value’ to every project and deliver the products/services to various categories of customers. Here are some ways through which PMOs can help their customers:
- Make Life Easier for Customer: In order to achieve this, a clear and well-formulated value proposition must be offered by the PMOs. This could be a direct statement of benefits of the PMO accompanied by the approximate cost to be borne by each category of customers to enjoy those benefits.
- Delivering Value: Concrete and visible value should be delivered by PMOs when selling products and services to customers. Various important outcomes are a direct result of this process like better execution of project, higher productivity, better investment decisions, greater value, reduction in cost and so on.
- Segmenting Customers: PMOs work very well when they divide their customers into various segments and deliver products and services specifically to meet the requirements of a particular segment.
- Minimum involvement of Senior Members: It is not necessary to involve senior members as their real interest lies in making sure that the investment in a particular project leads to competitive business advantage.
- Targeting Products: It is extremely crucial that the PMO focus on the products that it is selling to a particular customer segment. The right segment must be addressed with the right product at all times. It saves both time and cost.
It is important to standardize and correctly size the solutions offered under PMO. This helps in both building customer relationships and lowering the overhead costs of the project. Last but not the least, good leadership is extremely important to build a customer enthusiastic PMO at all times.