One of our clients has missunderstood a contract item to be way more robust then what it really says.
we cann’t point the source of the misunderstanding but we see that the contract is way off then what the demand from the customer is.
it might have grown in the sale process or in the mind of the customer.
but the real question is, since the blame game is off, what to do?
there are a few options that can be applied spanning between:
1. Drop the bomb and say no way!.
2. Bend and see this waiving as a stratigic advantage.
In the agressive option there are costs in the long term that are obvius. you have to remember that the customer wont apriciate the action and will probably look to differant suppliers to get the next project.
you have to see the potential of the project to affect the whole client account.
If the full potential of the client is not truly affected then this is the way to act since it puts you in the position of the reasonable supplier that doesnt bend.
but what happens if this project is really a first step into the clients area?
the first thing that comes into mind is take the direction of option 2 and make the project count stratigically.
but isnt it the way you will weave your relationship with the custometr?
wont he try to do that in the next project?
what happens if you get lots of projects and in some of them the customer will push to get more and pay nothing? you probably wont even notice. your people will be tuned for giving.
sould you not take a better way and say “this is extra, i wont stop the service but i want this ammount of money for it”?
i belive that the customer is reasnoble first of all and then opportunist.
i think that you can even go to the aggressive option of blowing it up if you want to escape the project and client or if you think that the customer will understand the action and will take it as it is and not as an act of war.
i think you should take the last option only if you think that there is no other way and the customer will kick you out the minute he will hear “i am not opbligated by a contract”.
otherwise there is no reasn not to take the direction you want in the relationship to be non abusive.