What Clients Really Want from Management Consultants: Evidence from Australia

Journal of International Management Studies
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of International Management Studies, 2011, 6 (1), pp. 22 - 30
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There are various views about the nature of key success factors that influence client satisfaction in consulting engagements. This paper utilizes both academic and practitioner literature in the area of management consulting together with exploratory interviews of twenty consultants to address the one question, Do consultants know what gives clients optimal satisfaction in consulting assignments? In addressing this question, the paper explores clients explicit and implicit expectations and the hard skill and soft skills of consultants necessary to achieve holistic client satisfaction. The paper concludes that the level of technical expertise of consultants is imperative for achieving client satisfaction. This is true for all consultants. However, beyond technical expertise, this paper shows that for consultants to achieve high levels of client satisfaction, they will also need to fulfill the unwritten and often unspoken psychological expectations of clients. If this need is addressed, consultants will be able to enhance their reputation and enjoy a competitive advantage over those who only fulfill the technical or written requirements of a consulting assignment. This competitive advantage translates into future revenue streams for these consultants even though there may not be any immediate impact on income that has been received.
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