You have conducted your investigation. Conducted interviews, reviewed countless hours of video, written documents, and other potential leads that will help you identify the suspect. Unfortunately, no suspect has been identified. So how do you handle your client?
Your client expects results. Your investigation has hit a dead-end with no results. You still need to get paid for your time, maybe your client will not agree. You need a game plan to respond to your client, providing them with the bad news.
1. Complete your report. You need to establish, in written form, all of the steps you have taken to successfully conclude the investigation. Your time records are important as well. You need to clearly identify the time you have invested in the investigation.
2. Be prepared. Expect your client to be unhappy. After all, in their mind, they contracted you to find the suspect, or to identify and recover the loss they experienced. When you are ready to present the final investigation to your client, expect them to be upset. As a private investigator you will need to control yourself when faced with unkind comments. Allow them time to vent their frustrations, some of their frustrations will target you.
3. Explain your investigation. Prepare an overview of your investigation. Include the steps you took, the interviews you conducted, and more importantly, all of the areas you covered. Your expertise may be challenged by the client, you need to be prepared to respond to their inquiries about your investigation.
4. Avoid speculation. When faced with criticism, you may want to argue, provide an explanation of why you could not locate the property or identify the suspect. If your argument is not based on facts, then don't say it. Speculating on the investigation could lead the client to deciding that you are not competent in your duties. Worse, they may act on your speculation opening you to potential civil actions if they take adverse actions against employees.
5. Expect threats refusing to pay you for your services. Again, you will need to exercise restraint. Your interpersonal skills will be put to the test. If you have a contract in place, let it work for you. Avoid getting in arguments, or responding negatively to their comments. Often threats will be made during a bout of emotional stress. You can address non-payment at the time they actually refuse to pay you. If they do, you may need to contact legal counsel to help you pursue the payment for your services. Save this action for the last resort, and most importantly, allow them time to cool off before you make any threats of taking legal action.
Unfortunately, there are times that your investigation will not come to a completely successful conclusion. You need to be prepared, have your documentation in order, and to deliver in accordance with the terms of your contract.
Pro PI staff
Experienced professionals and trainers.