ASA Central Network

  • 1.  Committing to Helping Clients During a Pandemic

    Posted 09-28-2020 13:13
    Hello ASA Family!

    I was wondering if I could pick your brains on something.  We have just recently started contract renegotiations with our largest account.  The client has asked us what help/assistance we can commit to with respect to Pandemic Relief in the event of something like covid happening again in the future.  Whether the help/assistance be in the form of operational help through onsite services, financial help by giving discounts, etc.  My thoughts are to include in the contract something general without committing to any dollar amount since the state of a pandemic is temporary and strongly unpredictable.  Thoughts?

    Thank you,

    Meghan Gannon
    Corporate Operations Manager
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  • 2.  RE: Committing to Helping Clients During a Pandemic

    Posted 09-29-2020 09:59
    Clients never cease to amaze me. They want to know what help/ assistance you can commit to the NEXT pandemic? You are supposed to conclude what you can do to help in an unknown situation?  That is so ridiculous.

    I would not offer discounts. Perhaps the unknown issue causes you more work and expense. You have to pay for an excellent level of service.

    I would keep the commitments very general. Perhaps things like:
    1. We will keep informed of the new situation and all related advice via the 'experts' such as the CDC, WHO etc. and ensure we implement as much as possible to protect our candidates and clients.
    2. We will commit to ensuring excellent communication is maintained between ourselves and candidates regarding latest advice etc. for staying safe. We will inform the candidates what we are doing to keep everyone safe. We will also over communicate with our client on what we are doing, discuss any risks we see in their process, share feedback from candidates etc.

    I would focus on things you can control like being knowledgeable and sharing that with candidates and clients.  Perhaps you can add pivoting quickly and making changes as new information becomes known just as you have during covid.

    You could potentially point to an issue and resolution you have encountered with covid and apply same logic to the next pandemic etc.

    Knowledge, Communication and Commitment to work through the issue is all you really have in your arsenal.  

    Good luck!

    Renee Fulton CPA
    Talis Group Inc.
    Louisville KY
    (502) 581-9861

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  • 3.  RE: Committing to Helping Clients During a Pandemic

    Posted 09-29-2020 16:54
    Good advice from Renee. Some other things to consider:

    • What is the "trigger" that opens the door to this "pandemic relief?" Be clear on how that is defined and obviously make it favor your firm as much as possible. I would also be more clear on what other events would fall into this category (if any), as you mention it as "something like covid."
    • Can the "relief" be limited to a specific time period? Something like a thirty-day window, then reviewed by both parties before continuing? Can you limit your exposure that way?
    • If you are forced to give a rate concession, I would limit it to new placements made after the "trigger" takes place. All current staff would remain at their current rates.
    • How long have you serviced this client? Are you meeting/exceeding their expectations? How is the business priced now? Are you the exclusive provider? All of these things will determine how much "leverage" you have in these negotiations.
    • What will you get in return for providing "pandemic relief?" If you're going to give something for a potential future event, what can you get in return now? Can you increase current rates? Extend the buy-out window an additional 30-60-90 days? Extend the length of the contract renewal for an additional 1-2 years?
    • You should discuss this with your legal counsel. They can provide some additional feedback and recommendations.
    Best of luck!

    Jay Mattern
    Villing + Company
    South Bend IN
    (574) 277-0215

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