How to recognize a problem client?

How to recognize a problem client?

Not all clients are worth fighting for. Here are a few signs that a customer will bring you more trouble than money.

  1. The client has everything "easy" and "quick." You've probably met clients who "urgently need," for example, a "simple website," or a "little mesh," or a "quick licensing." Some think it's easy, because they have no idea about web design, or networking, or licensing. Others just try to save money by downplaying the value of your labor. In any case, you need, without going into technical details and specifics of work, explain to the client why the project takes as much time as you need and why the project costs as much as you said the first time. Look at his reaction and decide how to proceed.
  2. The client promises new projects. Some clients try to lower the price by promising you a long-term partnership. It's up to you, but if this is a pilot project, no one can guarantee that you will ever meet the client again. If he really does intend to work with you on a permanent basis, and you feel he has good potential, work well with the client. Long-term cooperation should be mutually beneficial, right? But it is better to implement a pilot project, and then decide whether to continue cooperation with this client.
  3. The client sets unrealistic deadlines. Be careful with clients who need everything done as soon as possible. Sometimes you have to sacrifice current work (and other clients) to meet their deadline. If a customer asks for a pilot project to be done on a tight deadline, it's likely that subsequent projects will have the same deadline. Find out what's causing the rush and whether you'll always have to work in rush mode.
  4. The client is not satisfied with your prices. If the client tries to haggle, that's fine, but if they accuse you of overpricing, that's not good. The client needs to understand that you set a fair price based on the scale of the project. It's entirely possible that your competitors may have lower rates, but that doesn't mean you're cheating him. Setting a contract price is one of the toughest parts of the deal, but it's a good test of your ability to communicate with your clients.
  5. The customer broke the previous contract. You will probably be told only one version of what happened, in which the contractor will naturally be at fault. Although that may have been the case. Ask why the client broke the previous contract. He is not satisfied with your work? Maybe he had inflated requirements or unrealistic expectations? Or he wasn't satisfied with the terms of the contract? Or maybe it is the requirements of corporate policy, which was imposed on him by a higher authority, and your work is not at all connected with it? Find out what went wrong so that you don't become the next guilty party.
  6.  You do not understand what the client wants. You are an experienced IT professional with many successful projects under your belt. You communicate well with customers and have always understood their needs. Then why, even after several meetings, can't you understand what this new client wants? With a client who cannot clearly express his goals and expectations, it will be very difficult to communicate at all stages of the project. Are you ready for that?
  7. The client periodically disappears. It is difficult to work on a project without feedback from a customer who disappears for weeks or even months. This usually shows up as early as the negotiation stage. Does the customer always return your calls and how quickly does he respond to your messages? Perhaps he has contacted several IT companies and is choosing where it's cheaper, or he's just very busy. If you do decide to work with such a client, negotiate in advance the schedule of your meetings.
  8. The client asks to do a trial assignment. I see nothing wrong with a trial assignment when it means a small, paid pilot project. Or even a free project that helps you understand the client's needs. For example, an IT infrastructure audit as a trial project is good because you can fix any deficiencies you find for the money. But if the client wants to look at the design of their website before signing the contract, chances are that you will spend your time and resources for free. The client should decide on his choice based on your reputation and experience, and if he wants you to do a large amount of work, negotiate on the prepayment. The sooner the parties involved start working together, the better (for everyone).
  9. Customer perfectionism. The most dangerous enemy. It is necessary to explain to the client that the development of sites and Internet marketing - the processes iterative, and it may happen that a year later will come to understand - the site and advertising campaigns needed dramatically different. This will tell the analytics of statistics of visits and data from sales departments.When a company has only 4-5 months to check their business hypothesis, and their pants are about to fall, not to check the commas in the text. We need sales.There is one more aspect of perfectionism that is forgotten: meticulousness usually manifests itself only in the field of competence. For example, the same text will be criticized from completely opposite directions by different specialists. For the proofreader, commas are important, for the publisher - fonts, paper, timing, and for the reader - mostly, the semantic part.Therefore, the main task of development - to give a minimally finished product according to the requirements of the TOR, rather than work for the sake of work. This is a long construction, which eventually, because of the rapidly changing environment in six months will die by itself.
  10. The client is terribly disorganized. Avoid disorganized clients. In order to implement the project on time and within budget, clear organization of work and constant interaction between the performer and the client are necessary from the very beginning. If the project plan is not approved for a long time, or the client does not provide the necessary data, there is a high probability that the project will be disrupted, and you will be blamed.

Trust your intuition, especially if you have already had experience working with problematic clients. If the client is characterized by the above signs, and you feel that there is something wrong, it is better to abandon the project. But in any case, the decision about further relations with the client is up to you.