Handling Disgruntled Clients

By Kirk R. Menard
Menard’s Investigative Services, LLC

In the investigative business, we cannot satisfy everyone. There is going to be times that clients will not be satisfied with your services. We have not had too many disgruntled clients, in fact, I can only think of one (1) that we had that was not satisfied.
A lawyer phoned us from Florida and said his client’s husband was flying in to Louisiana and she wanted him watched. This lawyer was referred to us from a new investigator that we just recently hired. Since she referred the case, we allowed her to work the case. To make a long story short, she messed up on the case because the client phoned and said that his client’s husband was at a strip club all night and the investigator did not note that in her report because she lost him. I agreed with him and told him that this case was not worked properly. I comforted the client and told him the truth. What we did not know was that the investigator was an alcoholic and was already in trouble with the board for soliciting clients without an agency license. The client appreciated us for admitting she worked the case in the wrong way and told us we were stand up guys. To this day, this person is still our client and the board pulled the investigators license under the charges of soliciting clients and working cases on her own without an agency license. We did not know this before we hired her so we waived the rest of the client’s fees.
Listen to the client and let them talk. If you get angry with them, you will only make them angrier. Ask them and assist them in determining a way to make them satisfied. Ask them for their opinion. If their only gripe is that the investigator the subject, explain that this is part of the business and at times we do lose subjects or if we feel the subject is getting suspicious we back off and try another day. No need to jeopardize a case when we do not have all the evidence yet.
The client will have a lot to say. Listen with an open mind. While they are not investigators, they will feel better talking about their unsatisfaction and it will help in easing the situation. Don’t try to protect the case investigator, even if he/she was right in their judgment, that will only cause a more tense situation. Let the client know that you are listening and you will solve the problem.
Let the client know that you want to handle their unsatisfaction quickly and fairly. Offer to replace the investigator with someone else, waive that day’s fee or reduce the rate, offer an extra day at no cost to the client even if you have to work it yourself. Usually, if the client observes that you are trying to make amends then that will calm the situation down and you are performing damage control.
Apologize to the client and let the client know that you see it from their point of view. Even if the investigators judgment was correct, apologize and reassure the client that their concerns are being taken seriously. Remember that we work for the client and its their money. Let the client know that you have their best interest at heart and many times, you may have to explain how investigations work and how mistakes can be made such as losing a subject, subject’s getting suspicious, and let them know that these things happen in the industry.
Follow up with the client and let them know that their concern is being handled/was handled and apologize again but ask if the situation was handled to their satisfaction.

These ideas generally work well. Imagine if you hired an attorney and you were not satisfied with the service, you would also address your concerns with the attorney. It works in the same way. Too many times, we know the problem but don’t come up with the solution. Good luck to all and have a prosperous year!!
Kirk R. Menard
Menard’s Investigative Services, LLC
510 3rd Street
Jennings, Louisiana 70546
(337) 824-4004
(337) 246-0933
 Kirk R. Menard
Menard's Investigative Services, LLC
510 Third Street
Jennings, Louisiana 70546
(337) 824-4004 (office)
(337) 616-0512 (fax)
(337) 246-0933 (cell)
LA. Lic#5716-040104-LA