When Tom Searcy’s company was unable to provide the results that it promised, he was faced with the challenge of salvaging his working relationship with the client. His first reaction was to return the fee that he had been paid and then tried to figure out what the next step was. The idea was to take the money off of the table. Even though the client ended up giving the money back, the gesture showed that Searcy’s motivation was successful completion of the project (even if it took more effort than originally intended) rather than money.
For CBS’ BNet, Searcy outlined his experience. His tips for dealing with such unfortunate (but inevitable) situations are as follows:
- If it’s a small problem, fix it – don’t bother your client if it is something that you can handle on your own
- If it’s a big problem, tell your clients – you have to tell them ASAP and give them your plan to fix it
- Be aggressive in your over-communication – give your client step-by-step info on the project’s progress and improvements
- Immediately schedule an internal “process review” session – improve your process
- Schedule another “process review: with your client – inform them of how you have improved your internal process and improve how you work together with them