7 Strategies for Reducing the Risk of an E&O Lawsuit
1. Over-communicate with clients. Knowing exactly what your customers want can be difficult because of the IT – layman communication gap. Your clients understand the results they want but don't have the technical
expertise to know how to get them. You have that expertise, but may not be clear on your client's vision. When in doubt, over-communicate, ask questions to verify, and check in at various points of a project to ensure you're on the right
2. Actively manage deadlines. One of the biggest challenges for IT pros is estimating and meeting deadlines. Customizing software, for example, can be incredibly complicated and difficult. A client's preexisting
IT infrastructure, the regulations in their industry, and the structure of their company will complicate your task.
3. Warn clients about delays. If you do miss a deadline, keep your clients in the loop. Should you hit a road bump in development, inform them if you think it might cause a delay. This lets them plan ahead to avoid losses
4. Test software iteratively. It may seem like more work, but because iterative testing helps nip problems in the bud, software engineers often find it saves them time in the long run.
5. Use contracts that pass legal muster. Contracts help define the limits of your liability and clarify your responsibilities in a project or business relationship. But not all contracts are created equal. Make sure the
contracts you use (especially for hiring freelance or 1099 workers) have been approved by a lawyer so you know they'll hold up in court. Hiring a lawyer can be costly, but you may be able to save money by having an attorney approve a few template
contracts that you can adapt over and over again.
6. Build strong customer relationships. It's a cliché that business is built on personal relationships – but it's true. Being friendly and professional with clients ensures clear communication. Strong
customer relationships prevent misunderstandings that can lead to lawsuits.
7. Educate your clients. With a third of all data breaches caused by employee errors, it's vital that you educate your clients on data security. Remember that you can be sued for a data breach even when a client is responsible.
It shouldn't surprise you that these tips are about doing your job well. What might surprise you is how many of them have to do with client relationships. Communication and education are nearly as important as the choices you make about software
and hardware. Understanding the personal aspects of your business as well as the technical is a key part of avoiding Errors and Omissions lawsuits.
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