When does our responsibility end?
Shanghai, 12th July 2010
🙁 A sad day for Dutch soccer, but admittedly Spain in the end was the better team. Credit where credit is due, The Dutchies were brave and gave a spirited fight only to go down in the last few minutes of extra time. A worthy and just finale of an exciting world cup soccer tournament. With the result on the board, both teams (and the general public…) now have to prepare for life after Africa 2010. Though the coaches and players have different outcomes, both still have the professional responsibility to move on to represent their country in the future win or lose (unless they are sacked of course…).
We could compare the end of a project to that of a soccer match. It can be a great win or a disappointing outcome with either happy or unhappy clients. We can be on a long winning streak but may then suddenly be confronted with a bad result. Whatever the outcome, we have to deal with it in a professional manner. Some clients of course are more difficult then others and milk you for every cent, but regardless we have to maintain our professional integrity as much as we can even when the client is pushing us to the brink of utter frustration! I was once told that a happy client talks maybe to three people, but an unhappy client at least to ten! So showing goodwill to remedy a situation generally helps to contain a potentially nasty getting client…
Our contracts may vary depending client needs, but at times we remain involved throughout the defect and liability period of 12 months that normally follows the commissioning of a project. This means that we remain on standby for the client to administer and supervise any remedying of faults or incomplete installations. Projects invariably have start up problems and need fine tuning of the lighting to actual usage needs. Often this only becomes clear after several months of usage. Providing this “after sales” service is crucial for our long term client relationships. Knowing that we do not run away from our responsibilities is a re-comforting thought for a client as too often people are nowhere to be found after the official commissioning and handover (sometimes even before!). I think our responsibility as lighting designers remains for the life of a project…maybe not direct and personally but certainly morally.