Educating Clients is a Waste of Time

  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I give up on trying to educate people. Nobody wants to know how anything works, or anything other than how much it is going to cost and when it will be done. From now on I'm just going to agree with everything they say, tell them a completion date half as far into the future as I anticipate, and just spout off ridiculous numbers that I would crap myself if anyone agreed to pay.

So much for trying to be reasonable.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • mindfullsilence
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Post 3+ Months Ago

you sound a bit upset :)
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Relieved actually. I think I've been doing things the hard way this whole time.

When I painted houses the only thing I ever had to explain was why the color of a wall looks different depending on where the sun is in the sky.
  • mindfullsilence
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Post 3+ Months Ago

well, really if all the client is interested in is how much time and cost they'll have, then that's all the info you need to give them. Unless of course they want something outrageously impossible, then you might need to tell them why it's impossible. For the most part though, just give them the minimum.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I think I'm going to stick with agreeing with everything, promising the world, and coming up with unreasonable numbers for awhile.

It's time to aim so high that I can point at the ground and explain how the curvature of the earth has made the floor the new ceiling.

Ok maybe not that extreme, but I definitely had to write that down anyway. :lol:
  • genux
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Post 3+ Months Ago

TBH. if a client asks me to do some work, I just say either the cost/time, or cost/time/contents of work, since all they appear to want to know is how long will it take and for how much. On the rare occasion that they want to know what I am doing they will ask and I am happy to hand over a list of items that I will be following out, but on the main the reason why they have come to me is because they want something done and I can do it so I do not need to explain what I am doing just the cost/time..

But mainly it is just the cost, if the time is longer than 1 week then they will "sit up", but apart from that it is just the cost.

So yeah.. trying to educating the clients on how and why, is kinder pointless, unless I am talking to a IT guy that wants to know, but it is mainly to the CEO and on the how he only cares about the results at the end, nice graph anyone..!!.. (I do NOT do graphs!!! ). if they ask for a graph, I walk.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I know exactly where you're coming from. Apart from that, I have also learnt a few other things. For example, if the client I am working with tells me that they were at another developer and he/she could not do the job as he/she had expected I tell them that I do not want to help them. Not because I don't think that I can do it, but because I then immediately know that the client is absolutely uber-rediculous and their project will never finalize.

Also, if the client comes to me with a scope that they have set up themselves I will then re-write the scope so that it makes sense to me and the client and let the client sign off on the scope document to confirm that that is exactly what they want. I will then not alter from that scope until the project is completed. The same goes for designs.
  • tommygun
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hello, I'm new here and felt compelled to reply to this message.

I think you are both right and very wrong a the same time.

You're right: client do not care about the technical details, what is involved or what it takes to make their rediculous idea come to life. What they want to know is how long and how much.

You're very wrong that it stops there. What clients really need help with is how their technology investment will help their business. Most of my clients are not in the technology business and don't want to be. But my value add is being able to convey to them the peices of technology that can be implimented to help their business at the best value.

I learned this the hard way working for a large financial institution, I would make comments like "That user is completely clueless..." One day my boss asks me, "how much do you know about what he does?, he's the head of global tax management..."

Technology is a tool for clients to be more successful in their business. And sometimes it's not. I have had potential customers ask me to justify an investement in technology for their business. And there are times when it is hard to justify from their persective.

For me it's like my accountant or lawyer. I don't care what paperwork or filing I need to do.. where do I sign and how much should I make the check out for. (sound familiar)
  • Orajames
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I use Access to log all clients I work with and give a brief summary of what I did for their computer. This way if anyone ever asks me to do something again I can see what their problem was before and relate the issue. Should they need more information, it's a print away. I won't give anymore than I wrote in the summary, if they ask more, I'll tell them google it. The answers are out their... they have the means to obtain them.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

@tommygun -- Educating them is still a waste of time. You can tell someone they need to do X because it will save them Y dollars every year and that should be enough. Anything more and they're looking for an institute of technology, not a developer/designer/etc.
  • graphixboy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Interesting POV on this topic from Smashing Magazine I have to say I kind of agree with the article. I don't think clients are made bad but we do have a responsibility of sorts to make sure the relationship doesn't go that way...
  • kc0tma
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Post 3+ Months Ago

My "client" (a teacher actually) that consistently causes me problems* is pretty different. She always, always gets things wrong and doesn't know jack *plum* about what she is talking about and expects me to agree with her. Some of the stupid things are like printers and drivers, she looks at her printer and it says 4600n for the model number, then she looks at the computer and it says PS for a post script driver, she cannot tell the difference between a printer model number and a driver. Another thing is with smart boards (interactive whiteboards). She swears up and down that the big long VGA cable that goes from her computer to the projector in the ceiling is what controls the smartboard and not the USB cable between the PC and the smart board. So I unplugged the USB to show her that the smart board would quit working which it did, but she still denies that is what the USB cable is for. This lady teaches computer and technology classes too, very scary.

After our problem yesterday I went home and called my dad for some inspiration, and his suggestion was to just keep doing as I'm doing and when she needs work done in her room to do it and show her my progress when it is finished. Don't try and talk tech jargon with her, don't tell her when she is wrong and I am right, just nod my head and do my job.

*I actually went home sick yesterday because of her. I have a blood pressure problem as it is, but something she said yesterday made me angry enough that my head started feeling like it was expanding outwards and my lips and fingers were getting all tingly and my hands and knees were shaking. I went home early to chill out and cool off, and having a blood pressure spike is legitimate use of sick leave.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

graphixboy wrote:
Interesting POV on this topic from Smashing Magazine I have to say I kind of agree with the article. I don't think clients are made bad but we do have a responsibility of sorts to make sure the relationship doesn't go that way...


I didn't like the way it pitted designer against client.

My main thing here is that I don't need to be trying to explain things as often as I like to. It's like having the life guard at the beach explain why they're going to drag you out of the water and give you CPR before they do it. It just wastes valuable time.

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