The client is not always right…

One of the projects I am working on is coming to completion. I was hired to work on the Construction Administration portion of the project. Apparently, the client was not satisfied with the person who was working on it.

We moved the client into his apartment on Monday with a crane. That was a stressful day. The client had returned from his trip and was present at the job site. Normally this would be fine but this particular client was just unpleasant to be around. He was yelling at people while they’re trying to do their job and being frustrated with everything. He was completely ignorant and unappreciative of the efforts people were making. He was throwing tantrums at everyone and no one.

This particular client is wealthy and resides in a building with other people of wealth and some of them with fame.

I am told the client must be hopped up on drugs most of the time, which explains his explosive temperament. Personally, I think he’s just bi-polar and will most likely develop some mental disease if he isn’t already.

During the day of the hoist, the client goes about yelling about the movers and how they were doing everything all wrong. Two of the movers were present when the client was yelling. They didn’t say anything. I knew his was not going to be good so as soon as the client left the room I tried to smooth things over with the movers. I told him to just ignore them and don’t pay attention. They shrugged and continues to work.

Well, those movers told their manager and he was pissed off. He wanted to speak to someone. He had no problems speaking to the client and in fact the manager wanted to speak to the client about his bad mouthing the movers and expressing his lack of appreciation for the work they were doing. I knew asking the client to come down was not a good idea so instead, I asked the assistant to come down and speak to the manager instead. The last thing I needed was an explosive argument and the movers to quit. They had just one more thing to bring up and it was crucial that they get it up there.

The assistant helped to smooth things over with the manager and they resumed work.

Later, the assistant told me that she spoke with the client and explained to him the situation. Supposedly he took it well and even apologized. I wish I was there to witness the client eating humble pie.

Today, the client reacted to an email I sent him (which was also copied to relevant people) and asked me to call him. Basically, a furniture maker that we are currently working with did not deliver everything he was commissioned to do. There are still some outstanding items but he was close to getting it finished.

I called him knowing very well the client was going to be disrespectful and unreasonable. After he finished ranting about how poorly I was managing this guy to deliver everything, he wanted to know it taken so long. I knew why it had taken so long but it wouldn’t have mattered. He was upset and anything I would have said would have only added to the flames that was spewing from all his orifices. So I waited until he finished. It was quiet and then he said, “Hello?”

I responded with, “I don’t have an answer for you.”

I guess he was taken aback because there was a half second pause from him. He then said, “That’s not an answer!” and demanded that my boss call him.

I eventually spoke with the furniture maker after I advised him how pissed off the client was. He personally called him and tried to have a conversation with him but the client was unreasonable and wasn’t listening to what the furniture maker offered as a solution.

I’m not sure what the client’s motivation is to behave in such an abusive and childish manner but it’s not constructive or productive. I look forward to closing out this project and never having to deal with that client again.

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