Spokane Medical Research

What is your Value in Relationship to Your Client’s Demands, Part 1

Filed under: Wellness — Tags: , , — Rudolph @

Recently I’ve been in an ongoing struggle with a client who constantly asks for favors. Every project becomes a disorganized, chaotic, drama. For months my company has worked hard at bailing them out of each predicament which seemed almost daily, if not hourly. Just recently, when this client received their invoices they were appalled and disgusted that we could charge this amount of money for these services. But after trying for months to bring to their attention these ongoing problems and mounting expenses, it took June’s invoices for them to finally stop and take notice.

Although angered by the invoices after reviewing the documentation, they could not dispute the charges. However, they did ask me for another favor, they asked if I would be willing to reduce the amount being charged on certain invoices. Since they have been a long standing client I immediately felt obligated and at the time I really didn’t see any problem with giving them back some of the money. However, as I prepared to establish an amount I was willing to give back, I noticed myself becoming angry. I was feeling bitter and disgusted with the whole situation.

Over the years I’ve learned when these kinds of feelings come to the surface, they need to be addressed because if wait and bury them, eventually they’ll come back to bite you in the butt. So, after some deep soul searching I gained the clarity I needed to see the REAL reason behind my anger and the courage to address this fear with the client.

The following is a letter I wrote in response to returning the money. I have changed the name of the client for the sake of privacy, but it will give you an idea of how I chose to handle this situation.

To: ERJ & Associates
From: Barbara Harris
Adset Graphics

Re: Compensation for June invoices

This letter is in response to our discussion on Thursday, August 10, 2000. At the closure of the meeting I was asked to review invoices, calculate my overhead and determine if it would be possible for Adset to withdraw some of the charges issued on the June invoices. This withdraw was asked, solely to be done as an act of kindness and was in no way a reflection of wrong-doing on the part of Adset.

After careful consideration and many hours of soul searching, I have arrived at a decision. Adset will be unable to release any form of payment for these invoices, but before making a quick judgement I hope you will continue to read this letter. In it I offer an understanding for this position and an alternative we are willing to provide.

Adset has been in business for over 22 years and has grown not only in experience, but also in the wisdom of operating a business with integrity, kindness, compassion and truth. Not an easy thing to do in advertising. When ERJ approached Adset in April of this year, I sat with you in a meeting making very clear the additional charges you could expect as the work load shifted from your in-house art department to an outside vendor. Although we have been doing business for many years, I believe you could not have had a clear understanding of the time or the complexities involved in doing the type of graphics you requested. As previously discussed, your former art department had no accountability for their actions, and you truly had no idea of actual costs involved.

As time went on and the chaotic workload mounted, I tried desperately for weeks to bring attention to the increasing un-manageability of certain accounts and the excessive expenses being incurred. Week after week I sought a solution but received little concern or feedback in resolving the on-going dilemmas.

I was told, just one more week, then it was just one more week, and then just one more. So Adset continued week after week to do what we were hired to do, layout and produce ads suitable to run in print, get them delivered on time, with the correct information.

It wasn’t until the final weeks of July after Rudi got directly involved with the Wilson account did I see a noticeable change in the account management, but by this time it was to little, too late.

And it wasn’t until reviewing June invoices that you finally got to discover the consequences of avoiding these problems. Problems I tried so urgently to bring to your attention.

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