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“Harmful” clients

by admin

Those who are engaged in business, particularly web development, do not need to talk about "harmful" clients.My comment on this topic in one of the threads caused positive feedback, so I will tell you what I think about it. Namely: how to differentiate clients by "harmfulness"; how (and whether) to work with "harmful clients".

Differentiating customers

First, let’s define who is considered a "harmful" customer. Usually a more scientific term is used: loyalty. In the simplest case, customers can be divided into three groups: harmful, normal and loyal.
Loyal customer delivers the least amount of trouble, usually ordering more than the average customer. In addition, they often make repeat orders. Such customers should be cherished and nurtured, for which you can develop a loyalty program.
A large part of customers can be categorized as normal or average They don’t have much of a problem with them, but they won’t show miracles of loyalty either.
The worst choices are. "unhealthy" or problematic customers. For each organization, "unhealthy" clients are defined differently. In all areas of activity, such customers include those who do not comply in one form or another with the agreements, and, above all, this applies to the financial part. If we talk about web-development, then it is worth to allocate customers who frustrate deadlines: not providing materials, not time to check the work done, and so on.

How to work with problem clients

The first thing you need to do is "hurt" the customer to identify before problems appear. This can be done by making inquiries and in the process of direct communication. Then it is necessary to calculate the possible risks: problems with payment, various delays. In the simplest case it is necessary to mention in the CRM that there can be problems with this client.
Secondly, you have to think carefully: do you need this client Here the approach should be comprehensive, because you need to take into account both the cost and timing of the project, as well as the possible risks. Here is an example from life, the business process of creating a site in web-studio "N" is designed for a short period of time (the final payment is made after completion of work). The client makes it clear that the collection of materials will be quite a long time, but at this time should be working on the site, because the offline advertising campaign is launched. For the web studio, such a project would be unprofitable, primarily in terms of timing, and the client refuses to break it into stages. If there are other projects, this client can be "dumped":
and if the client is completely "frozen", you can recommend him to go to his competitors 🙂
Thirdly, if it is decided to work with a "bad" client, then it is worth preparing a separate contract for this category, which will spell out "how many times he can go to the bathroom during the brief" In all seriousness, the contract should spell out in detail the entire business process, especially, often there are problems with the design. Therefore, the contract should have phrases such as "The Contractor is not obliged to take into account the client’s aesthetic preferences, " "The Contractor will be guided by his own knowledge and experience" and the like. The contract should be clearly spelled out penalties for failure to meet deadlines by the customer, for example, in the form of forfeits. I recommend that the contract is reviewed by a lawyer who has been IT contracts
The next step will be to draw up a statement of work. It will be an appendix to the contract, and must be drafted before the contract is signed The terms of reference should be very detailed, so that there is nothing to complain about in the end. In addition to the terms of reference, you should attach an estimate (or justification of cost) to the contract. I am writing about the cost, because it is necessary to consider possible risks. I will not mention the prepayment – if you work with such customers without it, then you are reading this article for nothing.
Fourth, the sales manager (hereinafter referred to as the MP) must convey all the information in the contract. to the person who signs the contract (let’s call him conditionally "the supervisor") and to the person with whom he has to work directly ("the proxy"). By the way, it is worth duplicating the section "Duties of the Client" in the power of attorney, so that the trusted person will do everything necessary precisely and on time.
Fifth, such a client should be led by an experienced ME to whom the client will not sit on his neck. To do this, the MT must position himself as a tough and tough professional. In my experience this is possible with different types of potentially harmful clients, such as "red directors" or "bratniks".
Sixth, every step of the job needs to be be documented in writing with acts of accomplishment The customer should clearly understand that once the design is approved, it cannot be changed. On personal experience, I say that there may be delays, such as "the head is not in place. On this term of signing certificates should be spelled out in the contract and the right to sign the acts delegated to a person of trust, who will notify the chief.

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