Chapter 2. Characteristics of the consultant, customer-customer and their relations
2.1. Relationship between the consultant and the client-customer
The relationship between a consultant (consulting firm) and a client can have its development in one of the following cases.
1. A client (an individual or a legal entity) has encountered a problem that can not be independently resolved, and its own knowledge, experience or internal resources do not suffice to resolve it. He understands that assistance is required from outside and refers to an already known consultant (consulting firm), whom he knows from the positive experience of the previous work with him, or on someone's recommendation to a consultant who is known in the field of client activity and has a good reputation in business circles. And if the consultant is ready for cooperation, concludes with him a contract for the fulfillment of a specific task, the financing of which is planned. The client in this case becomes the customer, and the consultant is the executor. The consultation process takes place within the framework of the concluded contract. The risk of non-fulfillment of the task is reduced in such a case to a minimum. The relationship between the client and the consultant is shown in Fig. 2.1.
2. A client (an individual or a legal entity) has encountered a problem that can not be independently resolved, and its own knowledge, experience or internal resources do not suffice to resolve it. He understands that urgent is needed for
Fig. 2.1. Customer relationship with a known or recommended counselor
the power from outside, but does not know who can help him. Either he knows nothing about the existence of the institute of consultants, or he heard about it from others. In any case, he is looking for an experienced professional, able to help him solve individual problems or the problem as a whole. In this situation, the client applies for information to the consulting services market, where he finds a consultant (consulting firm) who is ready for cooperation and with whom he signs a contract for the performance of a specific task. Financing in this case is planned. The client becomes the customer, and the consultant is the executor. The consultation process takes place within the framework of the concluded contract. In a sense, the client risks, because he does not know the consultant, his professional experience and his ability to perform the task. The risk of non-performance in this case is increased in comparison with the first case. The relationship between the client and the consultant is shown in Fig. 2.2.
3. The consultant (consulting firm) in the search for the client widely advertises and offers its services: in the market of consulting services, at conferences, meetings, seminars, meetings, exhibitions, etc., at meetings with representatives of various enterprises (organizations, firms, etc.), at personal meetings. Together with this consultant shows: the likely ways of reconstruction of organizations in order to increase the effectiveness of their activities, the introduction of science
Fig. 2.2. Customer relationship with an unknown consultant
technical achievements, possible diseases organizations and methods of their possible treatment, the experience of previous consultations, etc. Thus, the consultant gives an opportunity to think about the state of affairs in his organization and the possible involvement of a consultant to carry out work to improve its activities. The consultant acts as the initiator of possible works. When there is a disease in the organization the client, probably, will conclude the contract with the adviser if the following conditions are fulfilled:
- the client liked the consultant with his manner of communication and his convincing arguments in favor of improving the work of the organization and increasing the effectiveness of its activities;
- the client agrees to implement ideas or only some parts of the consultant's ideas on the possible improvement of the organization's work;
- the client is ready to trust the consultant in the part of the planned work;
- the client has free funds for the proposed contract.
The consultation process takes place within the framework of the concluded contract. The risk of non-performance in this case is maximum in comparison with the above-described other situations. The relationship between the client and the consultant is shown in Fig. 2.3.
Fig. 2.3. Consultant's relationship with a potential client
4. Some company (budget organization, foundation, public organization, etc.) has some approved program of providing consulting services for a certain period of time to a certain part of the population or a certain (or unspecified) part of legal clients with the funding of works. For example, a state program for the retraining of retired military personnel, or a program for retraining farmers. The company finds an appropriate consulting firm for the implementation of this program and concludes a contract with it for the execution of works. It can indicate a specific circle of clients to whom the consulting firm should provide certain services, or it may not. In the latter case, the consulting firm itself attracts customers and renders them with prescribed services. Thus, the initiator company acts as the customer, and the consulting firm acts as the executor. Moreover, the latter concludes an agreement with customers on the provision of gratuitous services, which are the basis for reporting to the client company. Relationships in this case between the company, the consulting firm and the client (s) are shown in Fig. 2.4.
Fig. 2.4. The relationship between a company ordering services, a consulting firm and a client (s)
It should be noted that there are situations when a client organization should not involve consultants in solving its problems, and those in turn should not take up their decisions.
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