Scope creep might be a phrase you have never heard or something you have heard but don’t really know what it means. However, once you know what it means, you want to do everything in your power to avoid it. It can cost thousands of dollars or more a year for companies.
Scope creep is when a project grows bigger than it was originally contracted. An example of this would be if someone is hired to come clean your kitchen once a month and while they are there you ask them to clean your bathroom and vacuum as well. You would expect them to charge you more correct? Yet many times, scope creep in a professional relationship is something expected by a client and can even be purposefully introduced into the relationship without you being aware.
One time I had a client who contracted me to monitor her online presence. All I was supposed to do is make sure her listings were correct and post once a month to her platforms and provide a monthly report on her services. One day she called asking me to help her post a job opening with the business. I helped her. Then she called because she couldn’t get an ad to post. I helped her. Then she called because she wanted to post something but couldn’t format it correctly. I helped her. And the list goes on. After a month of this, I was approached by my supervisor asking why I was doing all these extra things without being contracted to do so. I responded with I wanted to give great service and help the client. My supervisor had added up the amount of time I spent with the client that was outside of the scope of the contract and then showed me how much we actually made off the client that month. It turned out we had paid the client to work with us because of the amount of time I spent. It was at that point I really understood scope creep and the damage it can cause. In this case I don’t know if the client was doing it on purpose or not, but it was up to me to know the lines and stand firm to them.
There is a line between offering good customer service and allowing a client to take advantage of you. This is where a contract comes in handy. A contract should clearly outline as many of the tasks and aspects of the project as possible. There should also be a section that talks about potential work or charges that may be incurred so that they are disclosed ahead of time and there are no surprises.
Every business owner wants to offer the best service possible. However, it is important that is balanced with the services offered in the contract. That way both the client and the business can benefit from the relationship and be completely satisfied. For help with your business call VA on the Spot today!