Change Requests Keep Clients Honest

A friend of mine is part of Cisco’s delivery team. His insights showed how salesteams are viewed the same the world over.

He grumbled along about how their sales people were notorious for informally asking for help, expecting it to be done “by tomorrow”, then not speaking to them for the next six months, before another similar request was made with the same outrageous expectation.

He went on to say he spent much of his time recalibrating the expectations of customers. Apparently there’s often a difference between what they thought they’d signed up for and what was being delivered. How strange.

Usually amendments were done as favours. These had a tendency to get out of hand. Avoidable grief afflicted both sides.

He himself got so fed up with this, that he started to adopt a system where each time something beyond the signed-off scope was wanted, the customer must submit a “change request”. This way, he believed, it was truly “keeping the client honest”. So much so that in one example he gave me of a small project, an initial $150k contract smoothly expanded into a $350k deal, with both parties happy.

It seems a good idea. I fear though for its implementation. Of course, salespeople are renowned for their lack of documentation, and this may prevent another such procedure from being successfully taken up.

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