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I am now training a client's employee because of something

By gstrom ·
I am a consultant that has a client for about 4 years. Last hurricane season he had a network crash and had to pay about 8k to get it all fixed. Now he said he is going to use one of his office people to do the day to day work, and I will do the once a month system updates for about 3 hours as he puts it. He also wants the office person to watch me as I do the updates so he can learn them. Any experience from anyone out there with this type of situation.

Am I about to lose a client to an office assistant, or not?

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How many of us - probably all

by JamesRL In reply to I am now training a clien ...

I am not sure why you mention the 8K from the hurricane work - is that the source of your customer's discomfort?

In any case, it looks like they have already made up their mind. Hopefully you have other clients.

It can be a challenge to train someone to replace you. As much as it pains you, be professional about it, as your reputation and a potential reference hangs in the balance. My suggestion is to get the client to agree to a list of deliverables - documents outlining the various duties. Show some level of flexibility during the transition. Do the training to the best of your ability, refer often to the documents so that when you are no longer available on a daily basis they have something of value to fall back on.

Smile.

James

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I agree

by stress junkie In reply to How many of us - probably ...

I think that Mr. Linn's advice is exactly correct. I've been in several similar situations. I've always done what the client wants without complaints. In the end it's the only reasonable course for you to take.

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Generally Speaking

by maxwell edison In reply to I am now training a clien ...

.
In the corporate world, I've been an advocate of continually "training your replacement". The theory behind this is twofold. First of all, helping other people advance themselves is the best way to get other people to notice you, thereby advancing yourself. After all, if you train someone to do your job, there's nowhere for you to go but up. Secondly, it's just a good way to live your life -- helping other people. And I believe in the notion that whatever you give, you will receive back many times over.

But is this any different in the world of consultants? Well, if you take a step back and look at the underlying principle behind it, no it's not any different. If you rely on that underlying principle, and if you help enough people help themselves, you will be rewarded accordingly. It may not be evident going in, but if you do it long enough and for enough people, you will be able to look back and not only see the rewards that you, yourself, have realized, but you'll have a greater appreciation for them.

So go for it -- work yourself out of a job. But be prepared to have even more to do as a result.

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Yes you are....

by dafe2 In reply to I am now training a clien ...

Others (here) have made some great comment....

So while your trainning this person realize that you'll probably get a LOT of referal business simply by taking great care & ensuring that this person does a great job.

Also, just a thought, why not offer to do this up front for other clients as well? Another revenue stream for your business perhaps.

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A little different

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to I am now training a clien ...

but I trained my replacement, an electrical technician so I could leave a job amicably. In the process I learnt so much about leading and mentoring my next job was as senior developer of a team of five. As long as you leave lots of documentation about and train this person to be able as they can be, you are quids in.

If it turns out they have limits, then you'll get called in to do the 'harder' higher value jobs, so your income stream might be reduced, but that is actually a selling point for other clients.

Alternatively if they've got a hidden genius, who takes to it like a duck to water, then they're going to become more expensive to the company than you are and they'll move on.

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by Choppit In reply to I am now training a clien ...

No, you'll use the client if you refuse. Looking on the bright side, if the office assistant can't handle the job then you'll be in more demand and have a stronger position than you do currently.

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just train the little guy

by degwell In reply to

i am from there, very recently one of my clients decided they wanted to have an admin in -hose to save on costs the guy they have brought me to train is simply not into it one of those guys who think IT is a fashionable thing to do.
from my pooint of view nothing is more fulfilling to me than passing on what i know, personally it gives me so much joy an d the bright side of it is that now i am reallly going to be paid as a consultant each time am clled to bail them out.
i say take the risk and trian him/her/them to the best of yo ability you win in all ways
be happy about it nice day(the whether is very nice down here in africa)

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I think you should push the envelope

by Gast?n Nusimovich In reply to I am now training a clien ...

I think it could help to diversify your service offerings to your customer, as well as raise the quality of such offerings.

If what you have been doing could be delegated to any office employee, it could imply that it might be low value-added work.

Do what your customer asks, and put more energy on selling new high value-added service to this customer of yours.

By the way, watch out for similar moves on other customers of yours, and move ahead of the wave.

Take this as a sign of the times, be there first.

Good luck!

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You can sugar coat manure but its still manure

by gobucksdave In reply to I am now training a clien ...

Everyone is looking at "the bright" on this one. :-) Its propably the toughest thing that you will have to do as a consultant. Sometimes we find that we are not needed anymore and bosses want to lower the Total Cost of Ownership by bringing it "in house." If you perform your duties of training the replacement to the best of your ability - like everyone else is saying here - only good things can come of it. A close friend of mine just went through a situation similar to this, only the company he worked for was taken over by another and he knew he would be fired as soon as they had all of the information that they wanted. Grit your teeth and train train train so that you don't totally lose the custoemr. Documentation is your friend. Document everything. When you're not there and they turn to the documentation. It will cya and make you look good. Then when they find out that they are stuck and can't figure it out they won't hessitate to call you and bring you back for help. (then the fun part stats - you get to clean up someone elses mess)
Keep your head up & do the best that you can.

To the post that said to go proactive and beat other customers to the punch by giving them these ideas to bring things in house - I disagree - thats a bad move - you're supposed to bring in business not ward it off. If the customres are happy with the current situation then why try to change it. I'm from the school of if its not broke don't fix it.
Hopefully you can get a good recomendation and referrals from this customer after you have fulfilled your duties. I wish you the best of luck.

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Time will tell...

by IS Girl In reply to I am now training a clien ...

I think an office person can easily be trained to do the day to day chores like monitoring backups, setting up users, etc, but you are still going to get the call when something actually goes wrong.

I think you will still get called...probably a lot, so be sure to tell them that you charge for telephone consultations and bill in 15 minute increments.

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