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Old 11-26-2009, 04:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Four telltale signs of a nightmare client

For all those people wanting to start thier own computer repair business.

Four telltale signs of a nightmare client | IT Consultant | TechRepublic.com
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Four warning signs of a nightmare client

Unfortunately, nightmare projects are not rare. If you can see the warning signs about the nature of a client — which Ruhl says often show up during negotiations with potential clients — you might be able to avoid a catastrophe.

Here are Ruhl’s four warning signs of a nightmare client:

1. The client is not clear about what he or she wants but somehow expects you to produce it without their detailed input. If they are too busy to either describe the project or to put you in contact with the people who can, watch out.

2. The client reports having had a lot of problems with previous consultants — a pattern of “problem” consultants might be a sign of a problem client.

3. The client is ignorant about technology and has no competent staff. This client may expect you to wave your magic wand to give them some magical business advantage, while having no understanding of the complexity or expense of serious computer systems.

4. The client makes it clear that they are looking for a bargain and focuses entirely on cost in your early contacts.

Turning the tables: How to stop a nightmare before it begins

“Problem projects come with the territory,” Ruhl said. “Companies that manage their internal IT functions well are not as likely to need the help of consultants as those that do not. Successful consultants excel as much at handling the ‘people side’ of a project as they do the technical aspects.”

To keep a client from becoming a nightmare, Ruhl said the consultant must be extremely clear on what he or she needs from the client at each step of the process and must communicate this to the client as tactfully as possible. The most effective way to communicate these issues up front is during the negotiation stage. Ruhl said it’s important to have a detailed contract that discusses any and all issues that might lead to problems.

“The contract is written during the ‘honeymoon’ period of your relationship with the client,” Ruhl said. “But it gives you a chance to discuss problems with the client before they occur.”

It’s also important to write your contracts in such a way that both you and the client understand exactly how payment will be handled if things do not work out. This will help you to make a graceful exit from the situation.

Ruhl also offered these additional tips for dealing with problem clients:

* Don’t let problems build up. They are much easier to solve when they are small problems.
* Document major concerns in writing.
* Explain the impact of difficult client behavior on schedules and deliverables.
* Avoid blaming a particular client employee for the problem, but do explain how his or her behavior has adversely affected the project, if that’s the case.

Learn from your mistakes

One consultant who is a TechRepublic member said his experience with the nightmare client prompted his company to change the way they do business.

“We’ve developed our own internal guidelines regarding projects….We offer to take over the entire project, and if we are just needed to staff a project, we make it clear that we are more than just hired hands.”

He offered this advice for other consultants facing nightmare projects: “Take it as a learning experience….[Make it an opportunity to] try out different skills.”
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Old 11-26-2009, 04:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Four telltale signs of a nightmare client

I always love the "My computer is acting funny. can you come and fix it."
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Old 11-27-2009, 12:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Four telltale signs of a nightmare client

Haha ya, the i don't know what is wrong with it, it just doesn't act the same way it did before.

Or my favorite is when a customer wants you to support a server and software application that is no longer supported by the manufacturer or software vendor. Like an old school database program that uses DOS and the site has to run old software on their client PC's because they are running an older server because anything newere would break their outdated software program.

Then they want you to come in and support it... umm no sorry. I'm not supporting something that the actual software company isn't even supporting (or because they went out of business 10 years ago).
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Old 11-27-2009, 06:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Four telltale signs of a nightmare client

The old person that happen to have that pre-pentium computer that they will not give up. Like a going prices on a Pentium IV 2.0Ghz PC is about $150 with a copy of Windows 98 / 2k. You explain that one and they feel that they are trying to rip you off or insult thier intelligence or both.

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Originally Posted by Lexluethar View Post
Then they want you to come in and support it... umm no sorry. I'm not supporting something that the actual software company isn't even supporting (or because they went out of business 10 years ago).
The nightmare I have with my one of my regulares that has just purchased a Touch Screen Hospitality Resturant System for $1200 (hardware + software) from some one else, and it's not working. So I am keeping the well away from that job. He's described the problem and it's a data base problem. My client keeps talking to me about that one when I am over at his Pizza Bar and I keep reminding him that it's not my software, not my problem, come see me when you want to purchase a real Hospitality Resturant System.
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Old 11-27-2009, 07:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Four telltale signs of a nightmare client

Lol, hooray for Micros....

Sorry we support some POS systems at my work.
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Old 11-27-2009, 08:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Four telltale signs of a nightmare client

I do a lot of POS work. Personally i rather sell cash registes mainly because
1. People don't mess around with it.
2. People don't expect the world of it either.
3. You really got to trash a crash register for it to stop working.
I love the number of times i get some one getting a compairing my products to some thing that they can get from the USA for a fraction of the price. Fine. Go Ahead. I am sure that the Australia Tax Office will love to hear from you during your quartly BAS statement.
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Old 11-28-2009, 12:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Four telltale signs of a nightmare client

Company I work for does a lot of work with POS systems, one is an inhouse system and another is Micros. Both use cash drawers but have a computer system keeping track of of sales and what not.
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