If I sat down and made a list of the frustrations I’ve had with consultants I’ve worked with since I left the corporate world, I’d burn out that pencil. See those teeth marks toward the tip? There’d be a whole lot more of them.
Seems to me that the concept of serving the customer is absolutely foreign to folks who have never worked in a large or more formally structured organization. If they’ve always had low-level jobs or worked for themselves, they’ve never been exposed to what I call “the disciplines” and it makes me insane to work with them.
It does. I have to admit it. In-fugging-sane. And here’s why:
They can’t meet a deadline to save their lives.
Well, maybe to save their lives. Maybe if it were that. But normally? They take deadlines as “suggestions.” Maybe they’ll make it but probably not.
Things come up.
I love the excuse “something came up.” Or they have a long tale of woe.
They don’t understand that I don’t care about their tale of woe. My tale of woe began when they missed my deadline. So now, I’ve got my own tale of woe.
Note to consultants and other service providers: your client does not care about all the reasons why you missed a deadline. Just meet the damn deadline.
“Done” does not include checking their work.
Do not give me work that has not been proofread. Or checked for accuracy. Not too long ago I got a work product back that was more than 50 percent wrong. Completely fugged up. Completely. Seriously wrong. Creating horrible time crunches. The consultant clearly had not checked their work. And never had.
If I had treated clients like that when I was a consultant, I’d have had very few clients. It’s very hard to recommend someone who can not meet deadlines or deliver an accurate product. I wonder if they know how many times I could have referred them and either didn’t, or was honest about their strengths and weaknesses.
Communication? What’s that?
Oh, those long silences, in which I thought work was being done but actually “things came up.” Deadlines also came up … and went. Whooshing by in a flash.
Another time a consultant gave away my small account to another consultant she’d trained to take her overflow. She had gotten way too big and important for what I had on offer. Of course, I hated working with her because she was so difficult and I liked the new consultant better. Far better. But she never had the courtesy to call me and have a discussion about it–she just handed me off and send me a short email about it. I wonder if she knows how many times I could have referred people to her in her newer venture and didn’t. Or how many of her former clients have commiserated about how awful she was to work with.
These are more than frustrations. They’re another indication that the disciplines, the courtesies and customer service have disappeared in the 21st century and that there are a whole bunch of people who have never been exposed to them–and have never thought of them on their own.
As I wrote this, I was ready to scream. I had two consultants who are lagging in delivering work product. They’ve missed numerous deadlines. It was too late to find someone else. I just had to push and prod. And pick my battles.
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