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Giving the Good News

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Mike Cohen
Giving the Good News
on Jul 28, 2009 at 2:20:19 pm

In other words, the bad news.

Even in the best of circumstances, stuff happens. A tape has a dropout during a key shot. A hard drive crashes. You missed a deadline or are about to.

One minor error in an otherwise perfect project can enrage(or at least bother) a customer. Nobody likes giving (or getting) bad news. Been there, done that.

You try to make the best of it...and find a solution.

Do you try to soften the blow, or just come right out and say it? Honesty is the best medicine, but you have to know your customer.

I have found the best way to report the bad news is to offer a solution in the same breath. Admit your error, even if it was out of your control, and make suggestions on ways to remedy the situation. As a manager or business owner, your employee's mistake is your own problem too...and your responsibility to deal with usually.

These things don't happen often, usually a few times in a career, but you gotta be able to deal with it without delay.

That's my opinion, anyway.

Thoughts? Strategies?

This is a general discussion, not an imminent situation.

Mike Cohen



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Mark Suszko
Re: Giving the Good News
on Jul 28, 2009 at 2:30:08 pm

Of course you fess up, and you had beter have a plan B or other recovery plan ready to explain. Sometimes, though, there just plain is no plan B or way to recover. At the very least in that case, you must own up tot he problem, and explain what you've learned from it and how you're going to prevent that from happening again, ever.

The client is not as interested in how you messed up, as in how you're going to fix it, and if it can't be fixed, how it will be prevented from recurring.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Giving the Good News
on Jul 28, 2009 at 4:15:47 pm

Most people, but not all, appreciate the truth, no matter how glaring. However, like taste, there is no accounting for the reactions of others in this world, and you can't control their actions and reactions anyway, but you can control your own. So, integrity is the key in these situations -- so long as you keep your integrity foremost above all other things in your client relations, you will sleep well at night. Sure, if you mess-up you might lose a client, but if you compromise your integrity and lose your own self-respect, you are doomed.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Michael Folorunsho
Re: Giving the Good News
on Jul 28, 2009 at 3:46:08 pm

All you can do is cover yourself the best you can. Depending on the seriousness of the situation, it's probably best to come out clean to the client, while offering the best alternative or solution. if there isn't one, perhaps offer a discount on the agreed fee for the job.

Michael Folorunsho
Clicktone Media
http://www.youtube.com/clicktonemedia



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grinner hester
Re: Giving the Good News
on Jul 28, 2009 at 4:50:24 pm

Negotiations warrent a counter offer. When bad things happen, alternative solutions are usually welcome. Now, I know of no excuse to ever miss a deadline and I certainly never have but when a drop out happens in a key shot, I just remove it. No need to bring the client into it at all, in my eyes. Should the Avid die in session, I just tell em what happened and I work the double or tripple shift required to make everyone happy. I do not soften the blow. I tell them it's dead if it's dead. I just let them know the deadline will be met anyway and they will have no extra costs. That's all they really care about in the end.
I think your question revolves around how much ya want something. I have had bad circumsyances come up in a production that the client never knew anything about because it was not their problem. At the same time, I once had a mother of the bride ask why her daughter looks fat and I told her it was because she was fat. In one instance, the goal was to remain seemless and worry free. The other was my way of telling a lady to scram.
It's all in what ya want.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Giving the Good News
on Jul 28, 2009 at 6:05:09 pm

[grinner hester] "At the same time, I once had a mother of the bride ask why her daughter looks fat and I told her it was because she was fat. In one instance, the goal was to remain seemless and worry free. The other was my way of telling a lady to scram.
It's all in what ya want. "


Ah, yes, another successful graduate of Friendly Bob's School of Diplomacy:-)

(Just yanking yer chain a little, no offense meant)



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grinner hester
Re: Giving the Good News
on Jul 29, 2009 at 4:22:18 pm

none taken. Diplomacy is simply an action that directs a reaction. Act accordingly.

kind of makes ya wish our government went by this fact, huh?



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Trent Whittington
Re: Giving the Good News
on Jul 31, 2009 at 10:06:18 am

Our previous head of department used to tell us 'Don't bring me problems, bring me solutions. Just get it done seamlessly' and thats pretty much the way I work now. In my opinion you should always tell the client that there is a problem after the fact you have done everything humanly possible to try to resolve the problem. Then make sure it NEVER happens again and move on, because there is no point worrying about 'What has been done' but 'How can we avoid it next time.

Trent Whittington - Currently studying Associate Degree in Digital Television

http://www.trentwhittington.com


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