[thelist] Your opinion: managing clients who miss deadlines

Francis Marion francis.marion at sfroy.com
Wed Sep 7 21:16:40 CDT 2011

On 2011-09-07, at 4:28 PM, Joel Canfield wrote:

> Two thoughts:
> 1. loosen schedules.
Check. Done.

> 2. make goal dates based on a timeline, not an actual date. "you deliver X,
> and 4 days later, we'll have Y done." requires tracking the timeline, but
> puts the onus where it belongs: on whoever has a deliverable due.

OK, and how exactly does one determine X days after delivery when you've got 18 concurrent projects AND you've promised X days after delivery to those who DO deliver? I'm not sure that I know how to deliver 4 days after deliver from ImLate Co. when it would interfere with delivering to ImTimely Inc.

> 3. if these instances are rare, the right answers is communicate clearly,
> and suck it up. if they're common, the right answer is vet your clientele
> better so you're not working with folks who don't deliver.

Communicate clearly. I'm totally with you on that one. I'm just not sure what to communicate to ImLate Co.

> it's a big broad vague question, and the answer is NOT codifying and rule
> making. it's better planning on YOUR side ('cause you can't control the
> other guy) and overt obvious clear communication every step of the way.

I agree. One thing that gave me an idea:

Today, we received an email from one of the printing houses we deal with, went something like this:

Dear client,

Thanks for your business. We've recently institute a new policy:

For 0 to 3 changes to your work, there is no charge.
For 4 or more changes, we charge an extra of $15 per change, per document. (i.e: revision 4 has three changes, that's $45.00 extra)

When I read that I thought: "Of course, makes perfect sense!". Then I went annoying the designers to see what we could do to keep it under 3 changes.

I was not offended, I saw perfect human and business sense in that. I perceived that they had a problem with *some* clients and took action.

I was thinking that one idea might be to creating escalating delays. Late once per project is forgiven. Next X days of tardiness costs you up to 2 times your tardy days. More than three you basically wait until we can fit you in.

But I'm not sure how that would be perceived by current and prospective clients.

Humans are the most difficult part of business :)


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