We'll think about it



  • Our company has a client who used to have 14 of us working full-time for them, developing custom software. We've been writing their systems for over a decade, had a pretty strong relationship, and had a verbal agreement that they'd always come to us when they needed stuff done. Then they went behind our backs to another dev house and got them in to do new systems, with the result that in a year our team was whittled down to 1, part-time, dev: me. This had a significant effect on our bottom line, and resulted in the first time we've ever had to lay people off in company history, which has... strained our relations with this client. (You might say relying to heavily on a single client is foolish, and I'd agree with you, but still - we've saved their dumb asses more than once times, and stuck by them when they've had tough times.)

    Unfortunately, going from 14 developers to 1 in the space of a year doesn't make the problems and needs related to the old software go away. There's at least 6 months' worth of work for me in the pipeline, on top of the standard support - but since I'm only part-time on the project, we're not giving high priority to this client's work. Today this came to a head, when the client's dev manager calls and asks me to drop what I'm doing to focus on getting a certain item of dev done and dusted.

    My boss and I agree that I will work full-time on the required work until it was done, but then the client won't get ANY of my time for the remainder of the month. The dev manager happily agrees to this. Then I remind him about another item of work that also has to be completed by the end of this month, which I won't be able to complete (not enough time) if I do the item he'd just requested. Dev manager counters with "we'll pay you guys for another dev until the end of the month".

    I smile. My boss smiles. He explains to the dev manager that all the other people who could do the work are busy on other work and can't possibly be freed up. (This is true.) He makes sure to mention that, were the original contract still in place, this wouldn't be an issue. There's a prolonged silence from the other end of the phone.

    When the dev manager speaks again he is a man defeated. He knows that the shoe is on the other foot, and there's absolutely nothing he can do about it. "Both these items HAVE TO BE COMPLETED by the end of the month. Our business will STOP FUNCTIONING if they're not done! Is there no way you can spare another developer?" (The dev manager is a straight talker; if he says business will stop if the dev isn't done, it will stop.)

    My boss says he'll think about it, then ends the call. At the end of the day I ask if he's given any thought to the dev manager's request. "About 5 seconds' worth, and the answer is still no." We both laugh.

    I'm looking forward to the end of the month. Coincidentally, that's also when the new software (written by the other dev house) is supposed to be going live... emphasis on "supposed to".



  • Your company and your manager are TRWTF. If you take a client for granted and get all pissed when he looks elsewhere instead of taking this as a challenge and win back his business then you don't understand business. The first person to blame is the account manager in your company who let things slide that badly, and then the moron who's playing sour grapes instead of taking every opportunity to rebuild the relationship.



    So yeah, make fun of the problems that this client is experiencing and look down on the other service provider all you want, that will most definitely put bread on your table.



  • @Ronald said:

    Your company and your manager are TRWTF. If you take a client for granted and get all pissed when he looks elsewhere instead of taking this as a challenge and win back his business then you don't understand business. The first person to blame is the account manager in your company who let things slide that badly, and then the moron who's playing sour grapes instead of taking every opportunity to rebuild the relationship.



    So yeah, make fun of the problems that this client is experiencing and look down on the other service provider all you want, that will most definitely put bread on your table.

    I could see that being the case, but I could also see it being the case that the other company really is fucked-up and did something stupid and maybe it needs to hurt for a bit (and have some of those people at the other company who decided to terminate the contract explain to their bosses why the business has stopped) before they'll learn.


    That said, I still would have done the work, because if dating has taught me anything, it's that the way to nurture an unhealthy dependence isn't to challenge the other party to see if they can live without you. Sure, it's possible they will learn their lesson and come crawling back, like the stupid little worms they are, but it's not certain. Human nature means that this may strengthen their resolve to go on without you, doubling-down on this other vendor and what they claim is his much nicer peni--I MEAN SOLUTION.

    You may have just killed any chance of reconciliation with the client because you've put him in a position of sinking-or-swimming without you, and now he's damned determined to make it without you, even if it hurts at first. While helping him out of this jam might wound your pride a bit, it will pay off when he's left a quivering mess who is utterly dependent on your company. I mean, this guy can't get 10 feet from you without breaking down sobbing. And it will all feel worth it when all he can do is lay in bed and stare at the ceiling and he periodically calls out your name just so he knows you're still there. And sometimes you don't respond at first, you let him call a second or third time, his voice getting more frantic and strained, before you reply. That's real power.



  • I'll never understood why some people choose to get all uppity about how other people treat "the client", especially in amusing anecdotes like this. Yes, losing their business means less money for yours. Yes, it probably could have been handled in a way that resulted in no business being lost. Does any of that really matter? Sometimes people like to vent, and you had to go ruining a funny story with your pro-client negativity. I frequent ClientsFromHell.net, where this behaviour is pretty common, and I've come to the conclusion that people who defend these clients are either a) guilty of the sins the story is highlighting themselves or b) paid to care, by someone, for some reason. It's like the client can do no wrong. Did they go behind your back, then come crawling back because the other contractor they hired is awful? Your fault for not giving them what they wanted in the first place. Did they cancel your contract because you failed to provide a solution to an impossible problem? Your fault, should have provided them a possible solution to the impossible problem. Did they cease all communication with your firm, choose a new firm, then demand that you fix the problems caused by the new firm's inexperience? Your fault for not forcing them to talk to you (you could have found out where they live and tortured the answers out of them!).

    Plus it sounds like the other company screwed the OP's first, so now they don't really HAVE to care about losing their business since it is already gone. And even if it isn't already gone, would you really want to continue working for people who would sooner go behind your back then discuss the issues they're having with your company? I wouldn't. Then again, I'm not motivated by money so I don't understand those who are.



  • @aapis said:

    I'll never understood why some people choose to get all uppity about how other people treat "the client", especially in amusing anecdotes like this. Yes, losing their business means less money for yours. Yes, it probably could have been handled in a way that resulted in no business being lost. Does any of that really matter? Sometimes people like to vent, and you had to go ruining a funny story with your pro-client negativity. I frequent ClientsFromHell.net, where this behaviour is pretty common, and I've come to the conclusion that people who defend these clients are either a) guilty of the sins the story is highlighting themselves or b) paid to care, by someone, for some reason. It's like the client can do no wrong. Did they go behind your back, then come crawling back because the other contractor they hired is awful? Your fault for not giving them what they wanted in the first place. Did they cancel your contract because you failed to provide a solution to an impossible problem? Your fault, should have provided them a possible solution to the impossible problem. Did they cease all communication with your firm, choose a new firm, then demand that you fix the problems caused by the new firm's inexperience? Your fault for not forcing them to talk to you (you could have found out where they live and tortured the answers out of them!).

    Plus it sounds like the other company screwed the OP's first, so now they don't really HAVE to care about losing their business since it is already gone. And even if it isn't already gone, would you really want to continue working for people who would sooner go behind your back then discuss the issues they're having with your company? I wouldn't. Then again, I'm not motivated by money so I don't understand those who are.

    I'm not sure if you are yourself venting but anyways grow up. If someone does not like handling clients he should not become a service provider, there are plenty of other career paths available. It's like a receptionist bitching about the phone that keeps ringing. Get real.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    I could also see it being the case that the other company really is fucked-up and did something stupid and maybe it needs to hurt for a bit (and have some of those people at the other company who decided to terminate the contract explain to their bosses why the business has stopped) before they'll learn.
    No. Bad clients are bad. Let them back in and they'll screw you again, whether maliciously or out of stupidity. If you charge them extra to compensate, you'll end up losing reputation because they'll tell everyone you're really expensive. It's just not worth doing business with them, in almost all cases.


    Never forget that a bad client often makes you look bad.



  • @aapis said:

    ClientsFromHell.net

    The first hundred "Make it this ugly color, and oh I can't pay you" stories were funny. After that..

    @aapis said:

    ...and I've come to the conclusion that people who defend these clients are either a) guilty of the sins the story is highlighting themselves or b) paid to care, by someone, for some reason.

    I've come to the conclusion that people who complain about clients are incompetent and usually can't manage simple tasks. They scoff and say "That's not possible" and go back to making Wordpress themes because that's all they're qualified to do. Meanwhile, non-ignorant people swoop in and solve the problems and are successful doing it.

    @aapis said:

    Then again, I'm not motivated by money so I don't understand those who are.

    Well you're clearly not motivated by customer satisfaction, so why the hell are you doing your job? I mean, if somebody wasn't paying me, I sure as fuck wouldn't be doing my job.



  • @TDWTF123 said:

    No. Bad clients are bad.

    But do we even know they are bad? Admittedly, I'm inclined to trust the OP, but skepticism requires me to point out that they all they did go to another vendor.

    @TDWTF123 said:

    Never forget that a bad client often makes you look bad.

    shrug Depends on the client. There are plenty of "bad" clients I've had that were just fed up with the shitty company I was at. I didn't blame them for hating us.



  • @TDWTF123 said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    I could also see it being the case that the other company really is fucked-up and did something stupid and maybe it needs to hurt for a bit (and have some of those people at the other company who decided to terminate the contract explain to their bosses why the business has stopped) before they'll learn.
    No. Bad clients are bad. Let them back in and they'll screw you again, whether maliciously or out of stupidity. If you charge them extra to compensate, you'll end up losing reputation because they'll tell everyone you're really expensive. It's just not worth doing business with them, in almost all cases.


    Never forget that a bad client often makes you look bad.

    No evidence whatsoever of the client being "a bad client" has been provided. Their only crime was to stop relying exclusively on the OP's company and then come back to them when they got in trouble. Childish.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    I've come to the conclusion that people who complain about clients are incompetent and usually can't manage simple tasks. They scoff and say "That's not possible" and go back to making Wordpress themes because that's all they're qualified to do. Meanwhile, non-ignorant people swoop in and solve the problems and are successful doing it.

    Hey now, no need to wrap WordPress themers into this. I handle clients just fine.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @TDWTF123 said:
    Never forget that a bad client often makes you look bad.

    shrug Depends on the client. There are plenty of "bad" clients I've had that were just fed up with the shitty company I was at. I didn't blame them for hating us.

    Those sound like good clients to me, not bad ones. Not good for your company, necessarily, just good clients in general.


    I've worked on projects where my company's work was excellent, but which I don't mention because they have the stench of failure floating around them. Despite our best efforts, the clients screwed the projects up in notable ways, such that merely being associated with them is severely detrimental to my reputation. Those are bad clients.



  • @Ronald said:

    No evidence whatsoever of the client being "a bad client" has been provided. Their only crime was to stop relying exclusively on the OP's company and then come back to them when they got in trouble.
    Evidence? Eh? This isn't a court of law, and generally we accept posters aren't flat-out lying. Anyway, in the original post, the 'crime' was going behind a long-standing business partner's back, rather than fronting up and letting them know. At least that was the way I read it. They made a stupid decision, but they burnt their bridges by screwing the OP's company - again, according to what we've been told.



  • @TDWTF123 said:

    @Ronald said:
    No evidence whatsoever of the client being "a bad client" has been provided. Their only crime was to stop relying exclusively on the OP's company and then come back to them when they got in trouble.
    Evidence? Eh? This isn't a court of law, and generally we accept posters aren't flat-out lying. Anyway, in the original post, the 'crime' was going behind a long-standing business partner's back, rather than fronting up and letting them know. At least that was the way I read it. They made a stupid decision, but they burnt their bridges by screwing the OP's company - again, according to what we've been told.

    It's like switching from Cox to Dish after 10 years and having Cox getting their panties in a bunch because in the survey last year I said I was happy and would keep using them. This is ridiculous. Business relationships based on a lousy "verbal agreement" or on things like hour banks shitty lock-in contracts don't work, and going for greener pasture is far from being a "bad client" move.



    Bad clients don't pay. Bad clients try to steal your employees and threaten you not to renew your contract if you don't let them. Bad clients bully you in providing them with hookers and coke. Hiring another company after hiring only your company for 10 years? That's a wake-up call not a betrayal.



    As for burning bridges, the only ones who did it was the OP's company. Getting a second guy there was a start and properly done it could have helped to rebuild the relationship and bring more business over the years. Telling them to fuck off had an emotional payoff only, and companies who put emotional payoff before the bottom line are doomed. Look at Samsung and Apple: nemesis yet successful business partners. No magic, just leave the ego at home and deal with actual issues instead of getting emotional.



  • @TDWTF123 said:

    ...and generally we accept posters aren't flat-out lying.

    We do?



  • @Ronald said:

    Bad clients bully you in providing them with hookers and coke.

    Or, at the very least, don't share.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Ronald said:
    Bad clients bully you in providing them with hookers and coke.

    Or, at the very least, don't share.

    Here is an example of a bad client. I could not find the scene where the agent has to steal some coke for another client but this one gives the general spirit, and as anybody can see, it's a totally different game than "breaking a verbal agreement".



  • @Master Chief said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    I've come to the conclusion that people who complain about clients are incompetent and usually can't manage simple tasks. They scoff and say "That's not possible" and go back to making Wordpress themes because that's all they're qualified to do. Meanwhile, non-ignorant people swoop in and solve the problems and are successful doing it.

    Hey now, no need to wrap WordPress themers into this. I handle clients just fine.

    I just found a new game to play with vendors.



  • @Ronald said:

    It's like switching from Cox to Dish after 10 years and having Cox getting their panties in a bunch because in the survey last year I said I was happy and would keep using them. This is ridiculous. Business relationships based on a lousy "verbal agreement" or on things like hour banks shitty lock-in contracts don't work, and going for greener pasture is far from being a "bad client" move.
    No. While it's still business, there's a layer of trust from having been in the same working relationship and working closely together for a period of time. How often do you call Cox tech support? Hopefully not daily or weekly, or even monthly. It's not the same.


    We've got great working relationships with the reps from the company that makes our network gear. However, that gear is damn expensive. We've been cutting back and our management has looked into purchasing used equipment and interfaces without talking to our reps. I specialize in ISO/OSI layers 1-7; I handle nothing outside of those by choice. I don't think our reps are being treated fairly here, considering the working relationship we've got. I'm not anxious to see the damage to those relationships should the truth come out.


    "It's a business decision." Yes, it is. But add in the relationship we have with our reps -- a relationship that has benefitted us greatly over the years with large discounts -- and I think it's a dick move.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @TDWTF123 said:
    ...and generally we accept posters aren't flat-out lying.
    We do?
    Hey, that's exactly what I was arguing about recently with my buddy George Clooney while we were cruising around the Bahamas in my 150 ft yacht.



  • @Anonymouse said:

    Hey, that's exactly what I was arguing about recently with my buddy George Clooney while we were cruising around the Bahamas in my 150 ft yacht.

    Oh, that was you with George? I would have said high to you guys, but I was too busy having an orgy with Victoria's Secret models on my 160 ft yacht.



  • @Ronald said:

    No evidence whatsoever of the client being "a bad client" has been provided. Their only crime was to stop relying exclusively on the OP's company and then come back to them when they got in trouble. Childish.
     

     There may be one : the equip was divided by ~30, which hint that the client were paying 10 time less. Still, it appear that the workload wasn't 10 time less given the 6-month queue on the remaining ressource, while the client was not ready to abandon ship. It was asking for trouble. If you order a new car that should be here in two year, do you stop repairing the old one immediatly or once you have the new one ?

    Of course, maybe the client was still paying the same and the firm of the OP was TRWTF.

     



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Anonymouse said:
    Hey, that's exactly what I was arguing about recently with my buddy George Clooney while we were cruising around the Bahamas in my 150 ft yacht.

    Oh, that was you with George? I would have said high to you guys, but I was too busy having an orgy with Victoria's Secret models on my 160 ft yacht.

    WHAT!!!!!!! oh wait I thought you said Victoria's Secret Angels but if it was regular models who cares.



  • @Ronald said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    @Ronald said:
    Bad clients bully you in providing them with hookers and coke.

    Or, at the very least, don't share.

    Here is an example of a bad client. I could not find the scene where the agent has to steal some coke for another client but this one gives the general spirit, and as anybody can see, it's a totally different game than "breaking a verbal agreement".

    "Emotional pain"... man, that was too funny.



  • @nonpartisan said:

    We've got great working relationships with the reps from the company that makes our network gear. However, that gear is damn expensive. We've been cutting back and our management has looked into purchasing used equipment and interfaces without talking to our reps. I specialize in ISO/OSI layers 1-7; I handle nothing outside of those by choice. I don't think our reps are being treated fairly here, considering the working relationship we've got. I'm not anxious to see the damage to those relationships should the truth come out.


    "It's a business decision." Yes, it is. But add in the relationship we have with our reps -- a relationship that has benefitted us greatly over the years with large discounts -- and I think it's a dick move.

    You have a good relationship with salesmen so you think it's a reason not to look for a cheaper solution without telling them? Are you serious? What have they done to deserve that loyalty, send you a box of swag and a custom Christmas card? Come on you're falling for the oldest trick in the book, making the client feels like he's part of the family.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Anonymouse said:
    Hey, that's exactly what I was arguing about recently with my buddy George Clooney while we were cruising around the Bahamas in my 150 ft yacht.
    Oh, that was you with George? I would have said high to you guys, but I was too busy having an orgy with Victoria's Secret models on my 160 ft yacht.

    I knew they really hadn't all come down with Shingles that day.  Damn you Morbs, stealing my womens!!!



  • @The_Assimilator said:

    Then they went behind our backs to another dev house and got them in to do new systems, with the result that in a year our team was whittled down to 1, part-time, dev: me.

    While Ronald has a point, there's something to relationships in business. If they went out for quote, and included you, and you lost, that's one thing. Expecting to be a sole source forever is ridiculous. OTOH, if they simply cut you off without any indication, it's definitely a bad sign that the relationship wasn't all that you thought it was. I'm sure nonpartisan's sales reps have been told that their stuff is pricey (otherwise, why would they have given big discounts?) by the people who negotiate that sort of thing. It doesn't seem to be the same situation at all as the OP.

    I can see value in trying to make an accommodation to get their stuff done, and I can see value in not screwing over your other clients or your employees by not asking how high to jump. This is the sort of situation where I'd look to change plans and find some temporary work arounds that are suboptimal but better than stopping business.

    I don't get the bit about "relying too much on one client." This argument is basically that you should only do small things, because doing big things is risky. There's always risk, it's just different. Having larger projects / customers means that if you lose that project, a lot of people are affected, but relying on small stuff means you really need a lot of churn to keep a similar volume. Like most things, diversification is important, but no panacea.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Anonymouse said:
    Hey, that's exactly what I was arguing about recently with my buddy George Clooney while we were cruising around the Bahamas in my 150 ft yacht.
    Oh, that was you with George? I would have said high to you guys, but I was too busy having an orgy with Victoria's Secret models on my 160 ft yacht.
    Yeah, I had to make do with my "little paddle boat" as I affectionally call it because my aircraft carrier was undergoing regularly scheduled maintenance at the time. At least I still had some room left for some of my Dior model fighter pilot ninja bodyguard concubines, so the trip was not a total loss.



  • @Ronald said:

    Your company and your manager are TRWTF. If you take a client for granted and get all pissed when he looks elsewhere instead of taking this as a challenge and win back his business then you don't understand business. The first person to blame is the account manager in your company who let things slide that badly, and then the moron who's playing sour grapes instead of taking every opportunity to rebuild the relationship.



    So yeah, make fun of the problems that this client is experiencing and look down on the other service provider all you want, that will most definitely put bread on your table.
     

    So, you're saying that the other devs working for this company (if there are any) should drop their other projects (which you know nothing about) to finish an emergency request for a company whose actions caused over a dozen people to be laid off?



  • @Ronald said:

    @TDWTF123 said:
    @Ronald said:
    No evidence whatsoever of the client being "a bad client" has been provided. Their only crime was to stop relying exclusively on the OP's company and then come back to them when they got in trouble.
    Evidence? Eh? This isn't a court of law, and generally we accept posters aren't flat-out lying. Anyway, in the original post, the 'crime' was going behind a long-standing business partner's back, rather than fronting up and letting them know. At least that was the way I read it. They made a stupid decision, but they burnt their bridges by screwing the OP's company - again, according to what we've been told.

    It's like switching from Cox to Dish after 10 years and having Cox getting their panties in a bunch because in the survey last year I said I was happy and would keep using them. This is ridiculous. Business relationships based on a lousy "verbal agreement" or on things like hour banks shitty lock-in contracts don't work, and going for greener pasture is far from being a "bad client" move.



    Bad clients don't pay. Bad clients try to steal your employees and threaten you not to renew your contract if you don't let them. Bad clients bully you in providing them with hookers and coke. Hiring another company after hiring only your company for 10 years? That's a wake-up call not a betrayal.



    As for burning bridges, the only ones who did it was the OP's company. Getting a second guy there was a start and properly done it could have helped to rebuild the relationship and bring more business over the years. Telling them to fuck off had an emotional payoff only, and companies who put emotional payoff before the bottom line are doomed. Look at Samsung and Apple: nemesis yet successful business partners. No magic, just leave the ego at home and deal with actual issues instead of getting emotional.

    OK, we get it, you only work in the public sector, and don't know the first thing about commercial activity. Or, you're just a complete idiot. Or trolling, which seems most likely. When the accountants write it down in the books, and it affects profits, you can be damn sure '<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodwill_(accounting)>goodwill' is a real thing.



  • @boomzilla said:

    if they simply cut you off without any indication, it's definitely a bad sign that the relationship wasn't all that you thought it was.
    No. It's significant, but could work two ways. It may mean the dev company is not doing as well with their customer relationships as they thought, or it may mean that the client is unable to appreciate the value of well-formed relationships.

    @boomzilla said:

    This is the sort of situation where I'd look to change plans and find some temporary work arounds that are suboptimal but better than stopping business.
    Been there, done that. With the bad clients, they'll ignore the fact that you've come up with a creative workaround that saves their business, and complain to other potential clients that you've put in place some kludgy WTF system without explaining the reasons you had to do so. While you're feeling all proud of your Heath-Robinsonesque solution to your client's absurd demands, other people will just see a steaming pile of WTF with your name attached to it.


    It's important in business to know when to say no, as well as when to say yes.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Ronald said:

    As for burning bridges, the only ones who did it was the OP's company. Getting a second guy there was a start and properly done it could have helped to rebuild the relationship and bring more business over the years.

    Can't completely agree. OP said there were layoffs. If he's the only one left that knows the software the client uses, then bringing on a second person is worse than useless, due to the time it takes to learn the software.
    @Ronald said:

    Telling them to fuck off had an emotional payoff only, and companies who put emotional payoff before the bottom line are doomed. Look at Samsung and Apple: nemesis yet successful business partners.

    Except that Apple's apparently finally going to stop using Samsung CPUs next year.



  • @TDWTF123 said:

    @boomzilla said:
    if they simply cut you off without any indication, it's definitely a bad sign that the relationship wasn't all that you thought it was.

    No. It's significant, but could work two ways. It may mean the dev company is not doing as well with their customer relationships as they thought, or it may mean that the client is unable to appreciate the value of well-formed relationships.

    Yes, that's basically what I'm thinking, and especially that a worker bee might not have good awareness of everything that's going on, which could have come down to the client's CEO's nephew picking up the work.

    @TDWTF123 said:

    With the bad clients, they'll ignore the fact that you've come up with a creative workaround that saves their business, and complain to other potential clients that you've put in place some kludgy WTF system without explaining the reasons you had to do so. While you're feeling all proud of your Heath-Robinsonesque solution to your client's absurd demands, other people will just see a steaming pile of WTF with your name attached to it.

    That's true, but it's hard to say where the OP is. And part of the plan is to make sure that it's a temporary work around. Of course, the alternative is that they smear you as being unhelpful because you refused to the things they asked. Six of one, half dozen of the other.



  • @FrostCat said:

    @Ronald said:
    As for burning bridges, the only ones who did it was the OP's company. Getting a second guy there was a start and properly done it could have helped to rebuild the relationship and bring more business over the years.

    Can't completely agree. OP said there were layoffs. If he's the only one left that knows the software the client uses, then bringing on a second person is worse than useless, due to the time it takes to learn the software.

    Nobody said the client was smart or made a good move, but that does not make them a bad client (aks Walmart). Actually if the OP's company had a 10-year relationship with this client and did not see it coming then they probably just took them for granted, which is a cardinal sin in business. Customer retention is a lot cheaper than customer acquisition so if a service provider has a fair chunk of money coming from one client they should really, really pay attention to this account.



    When all is said and done, the client is the one footing the bill so he can damn well choose his service provider. The OP's company attitude reeks of entitlement and lack of maturity.



  • @Ronald said:

    @nonpartisan said:
    We've got great working relationships with the reps from the company that makes our network gear. However, that gear is damn expensive. We've been cutting back and our management has looked into purchasing used equipment and interfaces without talking to our reps. I specialize in ISO/OSI layers 1-7; I handle nothing outside of those by choice. I don't think our reps are being treated fairly here, considering the working relationship we've got. I'm not anxious to see the damage to those relationships should the truth come out.


    "It's a business decision." Yes, it is. But add in the relationship we have with our reps -- a relationship that has benefitted us greatly over the years with large discounts -- and I think it's a dick move.

    You have a good relationship with salesmen so you think it's a reason not to look for a cheaper solution without telling them? Are you serious? What have they done to deserve that loyalty, send you a box of swag and a custom Christmas card? Come on you're falling for the oldest trick in the book, making the client feels like he's part of the family.

    The WTF, of course, being that you think I'm talking about our salesmen.


    We're an organization large enough to command a certain level of attention. We have one account rep and several SMEs that are basically available to us when we need it. They don't have to do this, but they do because of the great working relationship we have with them. We are a network engineering team that has put in many hours studying up on the products we use. For our environment, in many cases we're as good or better than the SMEs that assist us; there have been times (not many, but some) where we've pointed out features in their equipment that they didn't know exist. The upshot is that when we tell them there's a bug in their product, they take that with great authority to their product engineering staff.


    They don't have to treat us like this -- bugs that we find could go through a frustrating tier 1 troubleshooting and work their way up. But they do treat us like this. Because of the working relationship we have with them, a relationship that has proven itself over the years. We have both benefitted. This is why I think it's a dick move for us to be sourcing equipment elsewhere without telling them. We've told them when we're looking at a competitor's solution before and they come back with a proposal of their own -- a sign that we're being honest and transparent with them. But when it comes to buying used equipment and interfaces, we won't be up front with them. That creates a layer of mistrust and potentially a whole lot of damage in the relationship if they find out.



  • @nonpartisan said:

    @Ronald said:
    @nonpartisan said:
    We've got great working relationships with the reps from the company that makes our network gear. However, that gear is damn expensive. We've been cutting back and our management has looked into purchasing used equipment and interfaces without talking to our reps. I specialize in ISO/OSI layers 1-7; I handle nothing outside of those by choice. I don't think our reps are being treated fairly here, considering the working relationship we've got. I'm not anxious to see the damage to those relationships should the truth come out.


    "It's a business decision." Yes, it is. But add in the relationship we have with our reps -- a relationship that has benefitted us greatly over the years with large discounts -- and I think it's a dick move.

    You have a good relationship with salesmen so you think it's a reason not to look for a cheaper solution without telling them? Are you serious? What have they done to deserve that loyalty, send you a box of swag and a custom Christmas card? Come on you're falling for the oldest trick in the book, making the client feels like he's part of the family.

    The WTF, of course, being that you think I'm talking about our salesmen.


    We're an organization large enough to command a certain level of attention. We have one account rep and several SMEs that are basically available to us when we need it. They don't have to do this, but they do because of the great working relationship we have with them. We are a network engineering team that has put in many hours studying up on the products we use. For our environment, in many cases we're as good or better than the SMEs that assist us; there have been times (not many, but some) where we've pointed out features in their equipment that they didn't know exist. The upshot is that when we tell them there's a bug in their product, they take that with great authority to their product engineering staff.


    They don't have to treat us like this -- bugs that we find could go through a frustrating tier 1 troubleshooting and work their way up. But they do treat us like this. Because of the working relationship we have with them, a relationship that has proven itself over the years. We have both benefitted. This is why I think it's a dick move for us to be sourcing equipment elsewhere without telling them. We've told them when we're looking at a competitor's solution before and they come back with a proposal of their own -- a sign that we're being honest and transparent with them. But when it comes to buying used equipment and interfaces, we won't be up front with them. That creates a layer of mistrust and potentially a whole lot of damage in the relationship if they find out.

    I understand what you say. And I'm telling you that you owe nothing to vendors even if the guys are nice and you are led to believe that your problems are fast-tracked on their side (whether it's true or not). If your account is big enough of course the rep will give you his business card with his home phone number hand-written on the back and you'll know their engineers on first name basis. That's good customer service, nothing else. Just like that time when Dell chartered an airliner to ship a single piece of hardware to a customer who had a major incident and the thing was backorder everywhere.



    Good customer service is just that, good customer service. It does not bind you to any kind of disclosure about how you handle your business, and it will not stop because you did give a piece of business to another company (unless the vendor is a moron like the OP's boss). What you describe is called falling in love with a vendor, and that's not healthy. Vendors are like friends with benefits, NSA partners, or booty calls; you'll end up calling the same ones most of the time because they provide the best experience, but don't bring a ring or hopes of building a home together to that relationship.



  • Do you really not understand the concept of a loyalty bonus?



  • While it's stupid to depend on 1 client, it doesn't sound like the OP and his boss are responsible for this non-strategy. Anyway trying to "win back" a party that fucked you over is even worse, of course they're going to fuck you again. Fool me once shame on you, fool me once shame on me.

    I say stay away from them OR wait until they are really in deep shit with the product from their new dev house and then jack up the prices when they have no choice.




  • @TDWTF123 said:

    Do you really not understand the concept of a loyalty bonus?
     

    I don't think Ronald understands the concept of human emotion.



  • @clom said:

    While it's stupid to depend on 1 client, it doesn't sound like the OP and his boss are responsible for this non-strategy.

    Depending on a single client is not stupid, it's a business model that works well in some situations. Just go in the San Diego area and look at all those small vendors who only work for Boeing.

    @clom said:

    Anyway trying to "win back" a party that fucked you over is even worse, of course they're going to fuck you again. Fool me once shame on you, fool me once shame on me.

    Taking business away is not "fucking over" or fooling a vendor. There was nothing in the OP story that indicated that the client ever misbehaved. The OP and his boss are just mad that they lost a big business account. It's called sour grapes.

    @clom said:

    I say stay away from them OR wait until they are really in deep shit with the product from their new dev house and then jack up the prices when they have no choice.


    First you consider that a client taking his business away is "fucking" the vendor, and then you suggest that a vendor should jack up their prices when the client needs them. I can see the logic, unfortunately it's an entitled, bitter wussy logic.



    I don't think business development is for you, so don't quit your day job (provided that you have one).



  • @dhromed said:

    I don't think Ronald understands the concept of human emotion.

    Of course I do. My health coach is helping me with this.




    Here is an example of an emotion: I really really hate her dress/poncho/bedsheet.



  • @Ronald said:

    Here is an example of an emotion: I really really hate her dress/poncho/bedsheet.
    Well, it doesn't make my head explode, but aesthetically it's even uglier than The Shirt, if that's possible.


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