When a new business relationship is created, one thing that may not be factored into planning or outlook is the potential for conflict to arise between business partners. Client conflicts and problems within a project do come up, but sometimes get lost in the planning and forecasting of a deal.
Unfortunately, there are times when you have to handle these issues head-on, limiting exposure and loss along the way. However, there are steps you can take to cut down on the potential for disputes to happen, thus retaining a solid working relationship and getting a project done on time.
Here are some ways to prevent client conflicts:
Communication is Key
A major reason why conflict arises with a client is lack of communication. Having an updated communication line with the client can help to alleviate stress around confusion or someone feeling like they were left in the dark on a topic. While misunderstandings happen, it’s in your best interest to make sure that the communication line is open and flowing so all parties involved are in the know.
Be sure to have a point person for the client to take their calls and emails, and be able to help out when the client has a question or can reach out to the client if something comes up. Just by doing this you can keep everyone aware of all the moving parts.
A project has a lot of elements that make it tick. From budget to the timeframe to getting people paid on time, everyone needs to have a clear understanding of what to expect and what was agreed upon.
- Overall scope: When a project begins, it’s important that everyone understands what’s included in a project fee and what isn’t. Also, it’s important to list all details out so there is no confusion about what is being provided.
- Expectations: Clients may have thoughts of their own when it comes to agreeing on a project, but it’s important to manage those expectations. Let the client know that if they don’t follow through with their expectations that it can possibly delay the work or increase the overall cost of the project.
- Time and Pay: Time is money, so it’s important that clients get a solid timeframe of the project that includes different milestones to hit on certain dates. Also, with money on the line, you should paint a clear picture of how much a project is going to cost and when payments are due. While this is a sensitive subject, it’s a business transaction at the end of the day.
In some cases where money is at the center of a conflict, clients feel they have every right and reason to sue a project partner. If you are running behind on a project and the ball is in their court, you could find yourself on the receiving end of a big legal issue. One way the impact of something like this can be reduced is by investing in local professional liability insurance CT programs that can provide the funds and resources necessary to stay covered, pay for claims, and even find an effective legal counsel that can limit the damage.
Tips to Cut Down on Conflicts
Not everyone handles conflict the same way. But the best way to handle an issue is to nip it in the bud and come to terms. While some may try to find an opportunity to avoid conflict at all costs, some issues have to be handled quickly in order to cut out the potential for even bigger messes.
- Stay calm: The first thing to do is to take a second and gather your thoughts. A lot of conflicts can be overblown by our own emotions and personalities, so take the time away to regroup first.
- Asses: try to see the conflict from all angles if possible and consider what the client may be feeling and thinking. Assess whether you’ve covered everything or if you may be to blame on something serious. It’s important to be honest and fair in this situation.
- Be professional in responding: No matter the issue, it’s always in your best interest to respond as professionally and calmly as possible. Try to not take attacks or accusations too personally as this is a business deal. Be polite and direct and always be careful what you say.
- Stick with the plan: When conflicts escalate, it’s up to you to determine what needs to happen next. Are you able to resolve the conflict and get everyone on the same page? Will this end the project entirely or just set it back a day or two? No matter what needs to happen, it’s up to you to make a decision and execute it.
About Byrnes Agency
At Byrnes Agency, we offer insurance solutions that can be tailored to meet your specific needs. Whether you’re looking for personal policies or commercial coverage, we have the right coverage for you. To learn more about our products, contact us today at one of our two locations.
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