Client Management

We have learned over the years that one of the most critical aspects of our work is Client Management.   You must always know how your client is perceiving your services and if they value those services.  Recently we reengaged with a past client to solve immediate problems with their project.  We already had a bad experience with the client previously due to two aspects of our work.  The Client “did not understand the scope of work” we were providing and “did not see value in our product”.  When contracting with uneducated Clients, those not familiar with phases of design, like Concept, Schematics or Design Development you had better expect some complications.  We have focused most of our work in “Concept Only” and help the client set a good direction for their project.  We have learned that some clients think Concept means everything they need to know to complete the project, which is just not the case.  Many clients buy creative concept and then ask 20,000 questions that need to be answered in additional passes of work.  Some just expect everything for nothing.  It is always important for the client to understand the big picture and clearly understand what to expect in concept, what to expect in Schematics and what to expect in Construction Documents.  Unfortunately many client want the whole of the information but want to just pay for concepts.   When ever we encounter the Concept only type we must accept that is all they get and not continue to expand concept by answering continuous lines of questions.  These concept only guys think they can fill in the blanks and never pay for full design docs, but it never works out.  Our recent client paid for concept only and then wanted detail design but on limited number of hours.   Sure enough 30% into the site demolition they needed help, what is this dimension, what is that dimension, how are we suppose to to something or another.  They then added to the problem by hiring a cheaper version of Project Manager to fill in the blanks.

What a disaster!  But we blame ourselves for jumping back in to try and right the ship!  Now it was a disaster with us on board!  The ship is sinking and no one has a bucket to bail.  Needless to say always clearly define for the client what he is getting as well as what he is not!  He will certainly want all the answers but you have to mange the Clients Expectation.  If you don’t manage them well the client will fail and the project will reflect badly on everyone involved.  Inspire others to dream and run like hell when they start to micro mange the information and build from a concept only set of design documents.

Have a few drinks and move on!                         Disney Fantasy in Tortola