A harsh reality for any Private Investigator is that things do not always go as planned. In the real world, surveillance is affected by the weather, traffic patterns and human nature. There are no guarantees. Television, movies and literature have done much to convince the public that Private Investigators are super heroes. P.I.’s in film never lose subjects on surveillance. They break and enter buildings, hack computer networks and throw uncooperative witnesses through plate glass windows like they are immune to the law.
Because of this, clients in the real world often expect the same results. They don’t understand how private investigators can lose someone on a moving surveillance when it never happened to Magnum, P.I., and he was driving a bright red Ferrari! They don’t understand why investigators can’t get a witness to cooperate and give a statement.
When Private Investigators like us working in Charleston, are not able to achieve the kind of results the client expects, or the results the investigator have obtained are upsetting to a client, they may find themselves having to break bad news to them. The following tips will help the Client/Investigator Relationship:
1. No PI can guarantee an outcome. In reality, a client is paying for a Private Investigator’s time, advice and effort. Private investigators should tell clients specifically what they can and cannot do for them at the very beginning of a job, and give it in writing. This will prevent misunderstandings at the end of the investigation, especially if there is nothing good to report.
A retainer agreement, should state the tasks the Investigator will perform in specific detail. Sometimes the investigation does not go as planned. When that happens, investigators may find clients saying “this is what I wanted you to do” or “that’s not what I asked you to do.” That’s when client and Investigator should refer to the retainer agreement. Expectations should be clear from the beginning.
2. P.I.’s are not Psychics. If they knew exactly when the Cheating Spouse was making a rendezvous, they wouldn’t sit outside freezing their behinds off in their surveillance vehicle for 8 hours. Clients often get angry with surveillance results because they do not understand the degree of difficulty involved. An investigator needs to explain the realities of surveillance BEFORE an investigation even begins.
3. Investigators sometimes lose people on surveillance. The weather and traffic patterns are factors in an Adultery surveillance’s success and failure. Subjects often change their plans at the last minute. Investigators sometimes get burned. When a PI is hired to conduct surveillance, an honest and open conversation with the client is warranted. The Investigator should explain to the client and prepare them for the possible outcome of the surveillance. Waiting until the end of an investigation to talk about how difficult surveillance is will only sound like an excuse and make the client angry.
4. During surveillance, sometimes nothing happens. Clients often decide the facts of a case long before an investigation begins. They hire a private investigator simply to confirm their suspicions. Unfortunately, when an investigation proves otherwise, it can be difficult to a client to think they might be wrong or the case could not be proven. No one likes to be wrong. The best way an Investigator can handle this is to be thorough and methodical. Leave no stone unturned in both the investigation and the final report.
5. A private investigator’s final report should never, ever contain information that will surprise the client. In fact, a final report should really be more of a formality. The client should already know the outcome of the case before they even read the report. Any news must be communicated to the client beforehand.
6. The client should be given regular updates on the progress of the Adultery case. Whether an investigator does so by phone, text or email, they just need to make sure they do it. There’s nothing a client hates more than paying a retainer, assigning a case and then, the investigator they have hired disappears. This is further complicated if the Charleston PI reappears two weeks later with nothing but bad news for the client. Even bad news is easier for a client to swallow when they have received regular updates and begin to understand the ups and downs of the investigation.
In a nutshell, communication between the client and Investigator before, during, and after the investigation cannot be overstated.
Charleston Private Investigator
Tracker Investigations, LLC, covers Charleston, SC, including Daniel Island and Mount Pleasant. We handle all types of surveillance cases and specialize in Adultery-Cheating Spouse-Infidelity Investigations.