It costs money to turn down a digital signage project but saying “yes” to the wrong digital signage clients is equally as costly. A/V and system integrators have only so many hours they can devote to their profession, and working with the wrong people means you don’t have time for more enjoyable—and potentially more profitable—jobs.
Client screening should be an important part of your intake process. As a business person, you are obligated to be discerning and make sure the client is a good fit.
Drawing upon our direct experience with digital signage deployments and conversations with CIOs, CTOs, IT directors, project managers and system engineers, we’ve identified 6 client red flags to watch out for to make sure you don’t end up as a regular contributor to www.ClientsFromHell.net:
Clients that don’t have clear expectations and objectives
This is perhaps the single most common red flag in digital signage projects. Not every client will come to you with a clear idea of how and why they want to use digital signage.
Instead of jumping right into the purchase phase, you need to work with clients to develop and define a clear picture of exactly what the technology will do and how success will be measured.
If the client is more focused on buying than developing a strategy, then you need to hit the brakes. While they might be more than happy to jump right into implementing a solution, you may find yourself in trouble down the road when they ask for proof of performance or value.
Unrealistic expectations about costs
While it is important to work with clients to find solutions that will help them reach their goals but still stay within their budget, businesses should also have a realistic idea of how much digital display technology, signage software and content programming costs.
If you find that a client is more focused on keeping costs down than implementing a solution that best fits their needs, you may be set up for failure. The focus should be on the return on investment or return on objectives and not biased to the CAPEX only.
Unwilling to recognize and address potential problems
Undertaking a new project and working towards implementing a new solution that has the potential to improve a business is an exciting step. However, enthusiasm can cause blind spots and confirmation bias. If clients are only looking for data that reinforces their ideas, then they may be unwilling to recognize and address potential problems.
It is important to be able to explore all the potential pros and cons of different solutions in order to future-proof the digital signage network. If clients are only looking at the positive and not willing to engage in proactive problem-solving, then you have encountered another red flag in digital signage projects.
Clients who are focused on quantity over quality
Another red flag for digital signage projects is clients that are more focused on peppering their building with digital signs instead of strategically designing and placing them.
More isn’t always better, and it almost always comes at the expense of quality. Technology is only one aspect of digital signage. These projects rely heavily on intelligent design that increases engagement and targets a specific audience.
Clients who don’t want to consider future operational challenges
Again and again, you will find clients who are more focused on meeting immediate goals and aren’t interested in planning for the future.
As an integrators, you have a responsibility to educate your clients to make sure that they are positioned to adapt to trends and enjoy a scalable design that will be relevant for years to come. If they aren’t willing or interested in future projections, then you may want to pass on that client. Digital signage isn’t simply about where the company wants to be in the coming months, it should factor into the overall communication strategy for the next 5 to 10 years.
There is an unclear chain of command
Another red flag in digital signage projects is an unclear distribution of responsibilities. Developing and implementing a successful digital signage campaign takes a team. When you have questions about different aspects of the project, you should know exactly who to contact on your client’s team.
If you find that your client isn’t quite sure where to direct your communications, or your point person is constantly passing on responsibilities to someone else on the team, then you might be headed for trouble. At the very least, you project will take longer than scheduled and guess who’ll get blamed? You.
Many of these issues can come down to uneducated clients, which points back to the responsibility of integrators to educate clients. It’s your job to help them make the right decision that’ll bring them and you the best possible ROI.