E&O Further Reading
Using Email as a Technology Errors & Omissions Risk Management Tool

As an IT professional, one of your biggest risks is miscommunication, which is why improving the way you use email can potentially reduce your Errors & Omissions risk exposure.

What's an E&O risk? This is the risk that a client could sue your business, alleging you…

  • Were professionally negligent.
  • Provided shoddy, incomplete, or incorrect work.
  • Recommended technology that wasn't up to the task.

Miscommunications are a big part of these E&O risks.

If a project changes while you're working on it, a miscommunication with a client could lead to an expensive legal bill. If a client is confused about what your IT will and won't do, the client could get frustrated with the results and file a lawsuit against you.

What does this all have to do with email? IT professionals can improve their client communications to avoid missteps, keep their clients in the loop, and avoid E&O claims.

3 Ways IT Contractors Can Use Email Better (and Avoid E&O Risks)

3 Ways IT Contractors Can Use Email Better (and Avoid E&O Risks)

When done right, email may help you avoid miscues that could lead to E&O lawsuits. Here are three strategies to improve your email communication:

  • Send follow-up / confirmation emails. Sometimes the easiest way to get your clients to sign off on something is to call them on the phone. But it's just as easy to miscommunicate on the phone. It's possible for your client to say, "Yup, that sounds good," while not really listening to you. So after you get your client's signoff, make sure to send them a follow-up email to say that you're going forward with changes X, Y, and Z to the project.
  • Make sure you have documentation. You've been in the situation before: lots of ideas get thrown around in a meeting and everyone leaves the room thinking, "Wait, what am I supposed to do?" Emails ensure that everyone's got a record of what needs to be done, keeping all stakeholders on the same page at the start of a project.
  • Deliver progress reports. You don't want to flood clients with unnecessary email, but progress reports can be a good way to stay in touch. Try breaking your projects into smaller pieces and delivering each milestone to your client. Whether or not you use this strategy, it can be helpful to update clients to keeping them in the loop on your progress.

Check out "The Technology X Factor: Client Communication" for more risk management tips.

IT Consultants Need More than Just Technology E&O Insurance

IT Consultants Need More than Just Technology E&O Insurance

Many IT consultants invest in technology Errors and Omissions Insurance, but it's important not to rely solely on your small business insurance to protect you. The three strategies outlined here are a good start to help you prevent lawsuits. And they're also helpful in the event you're actually sued.

Say a client claims you delivered IT that was different than what you promised. If you have email documentation of what you said, that will go a long way in court.

From a risk management perspective, think about all the things that can go wrong. Assume that, one day, a client will sue your business and ask yourself, "Do I have documentation, policies, and procedures that will protect me?"

Doing the little things – emailing follow-ups, confirming plans with clients, etc. – may help you avoid a lawsuit from the outset. But they may also help provide evidence that you fulfilled your professional obligations should you face a lawsuit.

To learn more about the importance of proper documentation, see our eBook "Get It in Writing: The IT Professional's Guide to Essential Contracts."

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