Who is responsible when client is not happy?

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Last blog, there was some interesting discussion about who is responsible when a client is not happy with results.

There are two possible answers:

1. Both parties inevitably share blame.

2. You as the vendor take 100% responsibility.

It has been my experience that those who take the first point of view are generally less successful than those who take the second.

It may be that #1 is technically true. However, if you take the frame of mind that you are 100% responsible for the quality of your business relationship and the results you produce, word about you will spread quickly.

What does taking 100% responsibility mean?

Lots of things, including:

– Setting clear expectations with client.

– Understanding client expectations of an excellent job.

– Refusing work where you probably can’t deliver, don’t want to work with a specific client, or where scope and commitment are not clear.

– Keeping things on track through constant updates, communication, and great project management.

– Having a can-do attitude throughout.

Yes, many clients are difficult. Many clients even lie. Many look for something for nothing.

But ultimately it is your job as a professional to handle that, and get results.

Are there times when you should fire clients, and not take work from them again? Yes.

Are there times when you should call it quits in the middle of a project, while trying to facilitate a smooth transition? Yes.

But in these cases, you must accept 100% responsibility for the outcome. 100%.

The same is true in a good marriage. Even if your partner isn’t up for taking 50/50 responsibility, if you take 100% responsibility, your relationship will flourish.

I have worked with literally thousands of professionals at this point in my career. There are two types: those who take responsibility for great results, and those who blame others when things go poorly.

The second don’t ever seem to make it very far, even though they are unfortunately more common. Sadly, this commentary applies to all professions, politicians, and an increasing number of people around the world.

Andrew NeitlichAndrew Neitlich
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