Working sessions with the client (sick client, cancellation, meeting confirmations)
Carolyn, As You Like It Consulting
Pros: I love going to people’s houses and seeing how they live. I have a 2-hour minimum for house calls because it’s not worth my while to come for just one hour. The down side is that a 2-hour session with an individual client is very intense and exhausting, but I have gotten used to it.
Cons: As I’ve mentioned before, there are some situations that I just can’t deal with. Often it has to do with hardware incompatibility or pirated software, but I never know until I’m there whether or not I can help them.
Greatest challenges: Sometimes it is hard to be patient, but it’s also absolutely essential. Because I deal with a lot of elderly people, there’s always a possibility that they will become ill during the session or even die.
Approaches to meet the challenges: I took CPR in Seattle. Usually there’s another person in the house with the client.
Mike, On The Same Page Technical Communications
Pros: Face-to-face expedites the processes; opportunity to network with the client company to spread the word about your services.
Cons: Cancellations, illness, client not prepared, I’m not prepared.
Greatest challenges: Fulfilling the objectives for the on-site visits; last minute changes.
Approaches to meet the challenges: Agree on the frequency and duration of travel; explain that on-site sessions are project driven; devise a telecommuting plan addressing activities for working remotely, including tasks, completion dates, and delivery methods; identify back up contacts in the event primary contacts are unavailable; project dependencies (such as equipment and personnel); if you are working on a project for a company having limited working area and other resources, such as a computer, be sure to bring your own computer (laptop suggested), diskettes, drives for backing up larger amounts of “softcopy”, and other supplies you will likely need; obtain agreement on what you realistically can complete while on-site given the amount of time available; before leaving your client’s facility, review your objectives with the team participants and obtain confirmation from them that these objectives were accomplished.