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Case Study #4 

Turning “Bad News” to Good Use 

The Problem

The Partner on an important client thought things were going fairly well.  This was based upon not only the observations of the client team but also the results of a written survey that the client had recently completed.  Nevertheless, the Partner desired further confirmation and wanted to know how well the client team was positioned for additional work. 

A few minutes into our in-person interview with the President, he said, “I’ll never hire them again.”  And the Senior VP stated, “Not only did they pull a bait and switch on me – which I resent – but if the current engagement doesn’t get more attention, it will fail.” 

The Resolution

Our Client Survey Report detailed the client’s four key complaints together with a list of recommended actions, one of which was that the Partner devote more time and attention to the client.

Nine months later, our follow-up interviews with the President and the Senior VP revealed that the Partner satisfactorily addressed the four complaints, the prior engagement was completed successfully and the Firm had been awarded two additional engagements.

The Conclusion

A rather dramatic, but true-to-life example of how at variance a Partner’s perceptions can be from those of his or her client.  Also, an interesting contrast between what written questionnaires and face-to-face interviews can reveal.  In the written survey, both the President and the Senior VP had provided a fairly good rating (a 4.0 out of a possible 5.0) on the Firm’s overall performance.  So, even if most interviews do not disclose such sharp contrasts, how many surprises can your firm afford among its “key accounts?”


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