Sometimes, the client is just annoying.

ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 3709 PostsPosts: 4,141
We have a client who, let's just say, fires the starting gun every day around 9AM. (He's a very heavy drinker)

He is also a wealthy person who insists upon the finest gear he can have.

Consequently, we do a LOT of service calls to his place to deal with issues related to his inability to hold life together, let alone run a complex A/V system.

To boot, he's also a bit of a 'mean' drunk and is somewhat absusive to the people who go help him.

One of our techs apparently reached the end of his patience on a call where the client had been having repeated trouble with his "Piece of S**T remote"

The tech was instructed to leave an instruction sheet on changing the batteries on the remote. This is what he wrote. It, fortunately, didn't actually make it into the hands of the client. Another tech caught it and intervened.

enjoy!

Comments

  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,898
    What a blow-up that could have been had it made it into the hands of the client.

    I'm not sure if this is just a joke or not . . . but with my sense of humor, I'd give the tech an "A+" for creativity and delivery, but an "F" for customer service. I would never leave or condone leaving anything like that for a client . . . but sometimes don't you just want to? Luckily I've only had to deal with a client like the one you're describing once or twice, but have always remained cool and calm. He once said to me, "So did you go to school on how to f*** things up?" I looked at him with a smile and said, "Yep!" He seemed not to bother me after that for some reason. Maybe because my answer was so simple and just once word? I don't know...

    I guess the thing to remember is - never let the client push your buttons, and if he does - don't let him know that he is.
  • John GonzalesJohn Gonzales Junior Member Posts: 609
    Sad when you meet a person like this client, or the one JJames mentioned. Glad the other tech was able to keep his cool and make sure this letter didn't get delivered. I miss the days when you could "walk" a client like this.

    --John
  • glr-ftiglr-fti Junior Member Posts: 286
    I had a client like this. He died and that was the end of it. I don't know if it was his liver or smoking through his tracheotomy that did him in. Now anytime this happens I state "the last person that treated me this way is dead!" The look is priceless.
  • mpullinmpullin Obvious Troll Account, Marked for Deletion Posts: 949
    jjames wrote: »
    He once said to me, "So did you go to school on how to f*** things up?" I looked at him with a smile and said, "Yep!"
    "They kicked me out though."
  • tracktoystracktoys Junior Member Posts: 46
    Ahhh memories of residential AV life. I applaud anyone who sticks with it because I have a fairly short attention span for people.

    That letter is completely hilarious and while some view it as a breakdown in customer service, I see it as a sign to the company doing work. When I left the commercial integrator I was working for, they had a philosophy in development. That philosophy was basically, some customers are not worth having. While some may scoff at the notion and push to retain every possible customer, stop and think about the long term relationship. There are far too many variables associated with the decision making process, but they are pretty self-explanatory. Think about some of the past customers you've experienced and apply the logic. It kind of fits a small percentage of clients in my years of experience. To tell a customer that they are no longer welcomed to have a client/business relationship is difficult, but sometimes necessary. not to mention the priceless look on their face when you take the high road. A couple gems that I recall needed to be given the boot were a drug-dealing, dog and wife beating piece of crap, some guy who threatened me harm because his wife decided called him to ask a question about some DVD warranty.

    When people come to work for me at the University, I try to accommodate them. I'm not perfect, but meeting an installation/service crew with coffee and donuts seems to be the start of a good relationship. I fully expect quality service and have no problems calling someone out when the situation calls for it, but to get drunk before noon and pay people to come to your house and provide "entertainment" is pretty ridiculous. It might be time to fire your client.
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 3709 Posts Posts: 4,141
    tracktoys wrote: »
    Ahhh memories of residential AV life. I applaud anyone who sticks with it because I have a fairly short attention span for people.

    That letter is completely hilarious and while some view it as a breakdown in customer service, I see it as a sign to the company doing work. When I left the commercial integrator I was working for, they had a philosophy in development. That philosophy was basically, some customers are not worth having. While some may scoff at the notion and push to retain every possible customer, stop and think about the long term relationship. There are far too many variables associated with the decision making process, but they are pretty self-explanatory. Think about some of the past customers you've experienced and apply the logic. It kind of fits a small percentage of clients in my years of experience. To tell a customer that they are no longer welcomed to have a client/business relationship is difficult, but sometimes necessary. not to mention the priceless look on their face when you take the high road. A couple gems that I recall needed to be given the boot were a drug-dealing, dog and wife beating piece of crap, some guy who threatened me harm because his wife decided called him to ask a question about some DVD warranty.

    When people come to work for me at the University, I try to accommodate them. I'm not perfect, but meeting an installation/service crew with coffee and donuts seems to be the start of a good relationship. I fully expect quality service and have no problems calling someone out when the situation calls for it, but to get drunk before noon and pay people to come to your house and provide "entertainment" is pretty ridiculous. It might be time to fire your client.

    I agree with this.

    When I was working in the music industry full time, my life changed when I finally figured out how to say 'No' to taking on some clients. My general rule nowadays is to follow my belly-button meter closely. If something doesn't add up, I walk.

    Since then my music clients are much better at some needed skills like 'paying me on time and the correct amount', 'having all thier finances/arrangements in order', 'being prepared and organized, and 'actually working on the project.'

    I've tried to impart that experience here with limited success. But, I'm just the programmer. I get paid the same either way. I just don't like working like that myself.
  • DiogoDiogo Junior Member Posts: 65
    Well, clients are clients,

    Some clients, thank god, a small part of them, are really difficult to work. Sometimes you think, "What I'm doing here". I could be selling coconuts on the beach instead dealing with this guy. This thougts passed a lot through my mind, especially when I was a cobol programmer for Mercedes.

    By the other hand, once a client insisted, everyday working on his house, to sit at the lunch with them, like a member of the family.
    But you tell me, wouldn't you made some "extra programming feature", or answer the "battery hotline" for this client?
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,898
    Like I said above, I've been VERY fortunate to not have to deal with clients like these. They are few and far between for us. Typically, I try not to interface with the client - unless they are indeed very open and personable. I do not like interfacing with clients to begin with, and try to keep conversations to a minimum (even in regards to their panels / features and just get to the point.) There are a few handful of clients who (and I cannot blame them) want you to just do your work, and leave. We have one client whose mother has said on several occasions that their family genes are superior to anyone else's who steps foot into her home; she once made a plummer cry. I have luckily never had to deal with her, but a tech of ours has recently - AMAZINGLY she was very cordial.

    On the other hand, some clients are extremely kind. For instance, one of my current clients has had lunch with us several times, and even let me take his Audio A6 Quattro home and borrow it for a weekend + a few days because my Jeep needed some work (in St. Louis, which is 2.5 hours away from home.) Talk about a very nice and down to Earth client, eh? Another one has offered to "buy" my truck (back when I had it) and cut the interest in half so I could pay it off faster. Some have given me season opener tickets to the symphony (which I do enjoy going to), and one gives you $20 just for stopping by and doing some work (regardless if it was 5 minutes or 8 hours; he has on several occasions tipped me $100 for stopping by on the weekend and after hours.) These clients are just as rare as those who are complete a-holes - so it kind of balances out; these are also the clients that do make my job enjoyable. It's not necessarily the receiving of things that make me like my job, but the fact that there are clients that make you feel "at home" and like a person.

    Either way - I treat them off with respect, and not because they have more money than your god of choice, but because that's how I want to be treated. And as for the a-hole clients . . . kill 'em with kindness. ;)
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    The only time my company ever walks away from a client is when they stop paying. I've many times argued that sometimes the hassle isn't worth dealing with a person, but, in the end,that's not my decision, and I just have to deal with them anyway. It's particularly irritating to me since I generally wind up the point man ... our MO is generally to build the system on site, and whatever testing and refinement is needed after it's built and installed is for me to do on site as well. Which often leaves me the last man there, and the one who has to interface with the client and deal with their questions and issues. It doesn't matter to them usually that I'm "the programmer;" they still expect me to have answers to all their hardware questions, and to field their change requests.

    I've had to deal with more than my share of difficult customers, and I have found a very simple solution to 98% of them: listen carefully and treat them with respect (whether or not they deserve it). If you get your back up, they respond in kind. Never treat them like an idiot (even if they are) and patiently explain things to the best of your ability. Don't talk down to them, and try to see things from their perspective instead of trying to force yours on them. Once you say to yourself "I don't have to take this," you've lost. You are in a service business ... if you are still making a profit, and it isn't outright abuse, my opinion is you do have to take it (caveat: I draw the line at abuse. If a customer was to threaten me physically, I'd pick up and walk away on the spot. But in 30 years in the business, that has never happened).

    I had one particular client who, 20 years ago, treated me like a burglar in his home. His kid followed me around, to make sure I wasn't going to steal anything. Everything I did was questioned and raked over the grill. Today, the same guy is a friend. When he calls, we talk about our families more than the work he wants done. Before he recently moved to a retirement community, I had a key to his house and all his security codes. Yes, he's mellowed a bit with age, but the main thing was I respected him early on, even when he did nothing to encourage it.

    That said, there is that 2% that is hopeless, and nothing you do is "right." From those I would love to walk, but it just comes down to "grin and bear it."
  • tracktoystracktoys Junior Member Posts: 46
    jjames wrote: »
    We have one client whose mother has said on several occasions that their family genes are superior to anyone else's who steps foot into her home; she once made a plummer cry. I have luckily never had to deal with her, but a tech of ours has recently - AMAZINGLY she was very cordial.

    HA! I would have laughed in her face, which is the primary reason I do not work in a face to face environment with clients anymore. Honestly, I don't have the capacity to hold back on a situation like that and would probably lose my cool and and/or job. Best part is, regardless of the resulting unemployment, the only thing that matters to me is pride. No one should allow someone else to pull some holier-than-thou BS and just take it because that's what your boss wants you to do. That has nothing to do with work. I'm sure 100% of us have mortgages or are putting kids through school or whatever the case may be, but how can you not be righteously indignant with someone who portrays their own class status on others?

    Of course the person in question is a woman and prone to an overactive brain (which my wife suffers from), she may even be schizophrenic, who knows? Either way, good for her.
Sign In or Register to comment.