Tales from those on the front lines of dealing with clients. Tales of difficult clients, complex situations, relationship management - and how massive client management problems were solved, and what they learned. Largely those running agencies, but all across different professional services.
That time when the boss used us as training troops to drop his telephone sales bombshell (with Catherine Llewellyn)
Listen in as we speak with Being Space's Founder, Catherine Llewellyn, and discuss her greatest client horror story. In this episode, Catherine discusses disappointing traits and tactics of business executives that may prompt even loyal employees to resign.
During the 1980s, Catherine traveled the countryside as a trainer with her team. They were distinct from the sales team. The sales team would acquire clients, close deals, and contracts, and then brief Catherine's training team to execute the training.
They were assigned to conduct a two-day telephone sales training for a travel agency. Upon arrival, they were met with a derelict training room with walls full of plaster and a dusty, filthy floor – which they spent hours cleaning! Worse, upon the arrival of the participants, their faces were slack and utterly unhappy because (surprise!) they don’t perform telephone sales in their line of work.
It gets even worse as when they tried contacting the primary client, he was on holiday. It turns out that this client just didn’t want to be there for his employees’ reaction to letting them take telephone sales training. There just wasn’t any hope of breaking it to them gently. They were going to be handling telephone sales upon return, but Catherine’s team had to be the ones to give the news.
You are in for a treat with this episode full of surprising twists and valuable lessons. Get ready to explore what it takes to thrive in the business world and learn from both successes and challenges.
That time when you just want to complete a project but cultural differences get in the way so you end up abandoning the project halfway through (with Colin Duff)
In this episode, we have the privilege of hearing from Colin Duff, the CEO of Mosaic Innovation. He shares with us an unprecedented client horror story that sheds light on the challenges of managing a diverse team of individuals. It's evident that this is no easy task.
Colin worked with a big hardware company that suddenly decided to become a digital company, something they knew totally nothing about. This project ran for 9 months, and a lot of individuals and experts were hired left and right to complete the project successfully.
Naturally, we all want to work as a team, but one project manager didn’t want to accept any help and went on his merry way only to have outputs that just weren’t done right. To make things worse, during meetings, they couldn’t decide on anything that would give them something to continue because of so many cultural differences. Some say, “In Germany, this is the least priority,” “In India, this is how we do it,” and the list goes on.
Frustrating, isn’t it? Well, there's more to the story. In this episode, Colin takes control of the situation, and you won't want to miss how he did it. The lessons he learned are valuable and definitely worth your time. Tune in to discover more.
Colin's Company Website
That time when you performed a routine investigation only to find out that the billing error was close to $40 million dollars (with Sam Drauschak)
Join us in this episode as we hear from Sam Drauschak, the Chief Process Scientist at Truvle, as he shares a shocking story. He sheds light on an undetected billing error that ultimately led to the discovery of the role of politics in every business, big or small. It's a fascinating tale that you won't want to miss!
One day, Sam was sent out on a routine investigation to check on a possible billing error in the finance system. Lo and behold, he found that, indeed, an error existed and that it was close to $40 million!
As part of protocol, Sam escalated this issue to his manager who then went up to the partner of the office to check and validate it. Subsequently, the matter was brought to the attention of the CFO and the Chairman, causing a ripple effect that was difficult to take hold of. Eventually, they presented the relevant data to the Chairman, who, after the presentations, just gave them a nod of thanks and asked them to leave the room.
They were blocked from taking further action to help the organization as the CFO was given charge to take over the issue once again. Despite this, the company ended up losing the money and replacing the CFO 18 months later.
As the episode ends, Sam and Morgan engage in a thought-provoking discussion regarding what they’ve gleaned from the story. They delve into the contrasting perspectives of big and small companies when it comes to handling finances, the intricate political factors at play, and how it feels to discover something big. Watch the episode to gain a deeper understanding of these topics!
That time when you thought you landed your miracle client and ended up in the depths of court’s hell… (with Ameet Khabra)
In this episode, Ameet Khabra, owner and founder of Hop Skip Media, is going to take Our Beloved Host, Morgan Friedman, and us on a roller coaster ride of her story from seven years ago. You’re in for a treat as we delve deep into a mix of lawsuits, health issues, heartbreak, and reconciliation all in one go.
In 2015, while Ameet was working for an agency in Edmonton, she had an epiphany and realized that the 8–5 job was not for her – she hated being asked to come in at fixed hours and just wanted to be in control of her life. She decided to quit her job and find her place in the universe.
Eventually, a friend introduced her to an accountant that was interested in running ads and improving his business. Without a second thought, she took his offer and just went for it, saying that she was capable of doing everything he needed, and the client happily paid for the whole thing then and there.
While signing the contract, the client proudly told her that he wasn’t happy with an old agency he hired, and he complained so much that he ended up getting three months of services for free after threatening the company with a negative review online. It seemed funny at the moment, but according to Ameet, “I saw the red flags but just ignored them.”
A few days later, after a lot of work has been finished, the client sent her a message at 7PM saying, “There’s an issue with the website.” She asked what it was and was terribly met with these exact words: “If you can’t figure out what the issue is, maybe you’re not that good at your job.” Really?
It gets worse! As Amit couldn’t identify anything wrong with the website, the client said four hard words she could never forget – see you in court.
The next day, stressed and panicked, she asked her lawyer for advice, and they immediately served her client with a civil claims lawsuit. Within 21 days, Ameet’s client decided to countersuit for the maximum amount of the civil claims, which was $50,000 in lost revenue. In Ameet’s head, she thought, “As an accountant, I’m pretty sure you know that it’s incredibly illegal to cook your books. So, how exactly are you planning to prove the $50,000 lost in a span of 45 days?”
It took quite some time before anything resulted out of their lawsuits, but while she was waiting, Ameet went through so many things. She felt sharp pains in her chest and shoulders, was diagnosed with diabetes, and when she was given treatment, the pain still didn’t go away! Eventually, she was referred to a psychiatrist and got diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. She had to take a break to heal and find light again.
Finally, Ameet and her client went into mediation, and her civil claims agent brought a thick bunch of papers containing all the emails her client sent her in 45 days. The client said nothing the entire time. They either had to settle or go to court.
A week later, the client sent an email to give her x amount so they can call it a day, but she needed to give him his website. That was fine – this wasn’t worth fighting too much for, so she countered and eventually got an amount that made her moderately happy.
While that may sound like a full story, you’ll be surprised of the amount of feelings unpacked in this episode. Hit that play button to know more!
That time when you thought you’d receive a whole box of fully functional goodies but get slapped with the reality that you aren’t part of their inner circle to deserve it (with Irina Poddubnaia)
In this episode, Irina Poddubnaia, founder of TrackMage, is going to share her craziest experience in the retail industry with us. From numerous counts of deceit, misspelled brand names, and defective items, to missing orders, you’ll be shocked by her revelation.
There was a time in Irina’s life when she decided to start a new life and move to China to start her business. The experience was immensely eye-opening as she finally had the chance to travel and discover the beautiful – and not-so-beautiful side – of cultures that were way different than what she grew up with. During this big decision, Irina was faced with multiple challenges in dealing with various suppliers for her business.
One time, they decided to sell knock-offs of designer shoes and requested an order from the supplier. Lo and behold, they got the Valentinos but the name was misspelled! Pfft, no problem – it’s manageable. Irina continued to find other products to sell and had her eyes set on electric hookahs. It started perfectly as everything worked when they tested it out. Unfortunately, their new batch was extremely defective – one even blew up when a customer used it!
Irina then decided to switch to selling clothing where, upon receiving the batch from their supplier, she found out some colors were missing! Unfortunately, her business ended up not having any loyal customers because of poor service. No one wanted to trust them.
After living in China for a while, she learned that they have certain beliefs about inner circles and how when you weren’t part of it, there were just some perks you’ll never be able to receive. This meant that receiving a whopping 50% discount on their service resulted in you receiving half of your orders defective and useless.
If you’re eager to learn more about Chinese culture, you better tune in!
That time when you’ve been working your butt off for a project but your client decides to disappear off the face of the earth because he can no longer afford to pay (...) (with Sherrilynne Starkie)
In this episode, Sherrilynne Starkie, Social Media Expert and Host of the 50 Women Over 50 podcast, is going to tell us a horror story no business owner would ever like to go through. It’s an experience like no other, which involves talks about money, paperwork, and legalities.
Sherrilynne has been in marketing and communications approaching 30 years of experience, and during this time, she established her own public relations agency at the dead center of the Irish Sea.
She got a call from a tech guy looking to launch his own business. This figure had been introduced to Sherrilynne by a long-term and loyal client, and he was looking to launch a new telecommunications service. Sherrilynne was intrigued and took on the challenge, working with the new client on a monthly retainer for around 5–6 months.
At first, things were going great. Sherrilynne was crushing it, and the client seemed to be thrilled with her work. But then, disaster struck. The old client who had referred Sherrilynne to the new client reached out, wondering if they had been paid since they hadn't been receiving payment for their own services. She decided to give her client the benefit of the doubt, but alarm bells were going off in her head and instinct pushed her to do some more digging.
Sherrilynne soon found out that the new client had been consistently late with payments, always with some excuse or another. Eventually, the client stopped taking her calls and responding to her altogether. What a nightmare! But this didn’t faze Sherrilynne.
She decided to take matters into her own hands and took the new client to court, hoping to get the payment she was owed. However, it seems like it was never meant to be. The client filed for bankruptcy, and Sherrilynne was left with nothing to show for all her hard work and trouble in court. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but she knew that she had given it her all.
The story doesn’t end there though. Listen to the full episode to know all the important details!
Great interview style and lessons for every service provider!
Morgan has a fun interview style. I like that he uses “client horror stories” to share things we all experience as marketing and communications professionals, and give actionable lessons and red flags to pay attention to when working with - or thinking about working with - clients.