Differences In Client Care

I recently had to sadly sever relations with a long standing business contact because of our difference in business philosophies, especially when it comes to client care.

So I thought this would be a good opportunity to illustrate how some firms work, and hopefully educate you on what to look for.

I and my associates feel that it is fundamentally our job to educate clients on the realities of what they are trying to accomplish versus what they think they need to realize their goals and dreams.  As a result, consultation and advice come standard, and we are not 'yes' men who simply do what you ask like robots.  You can go to India and other lesser firms for such impersonal service.

For example, a client may ask for a sports car, but we may learn they intend to only use this sports car off road.  Therefore what they need is an off road vehicle even though they ‘asked for’ a sports car.  

This is just to serve as a very basic example of how what is needed can and often does differ from what is asked for.

Below is how the other firm operates that I severed relations with.  (I’ll kindly not mention their name).

“Get what you can, when it does not work we can blame the client and bill for it.” -> these were actually their words and practicing philosophy.

  1. Get client to sign a contract and obligate them. (this is important for their business model).
  2. Say yes to every client you can.
  3. Give the client only what they ask for (purposely ignoring what they need).
  4. When inevitably what they asked for is not what they need the result is the “client’s fault”.
  5. Now there is an opportunity to bill for the extra time to correct the issue - this company depends on this for profitability.
  6. When the client naturally does not want to pay for something they can not use this company then holds the contract in step 1 over their head.
  7. Usually this ends with a client paying for something they can not use and/or a collection judgment against them.

Headstormstudios.com and Planettucker.com’s approach.

  1. No contract ever, unless needed by the client.
  2. Be selective with clients to ensure the proper client/developer relationship will be mutually beneficial.
  3. Listen to what the clients asks for.
  4. Give the client what they need.
  5. Explain the difference.
  6. Collect money ONLY as a by product of satisfaction.

The first way offered by the nameless company produces many negative experiences, high turn over rate, low client retention not to mention court costs for collection expenses.  This company has a dedicated attorney and company they use since collections are so common.  The company also does not get recommended as much - and why would they, who will tell their friends “Use this company, they don’t consult you and charge you at every possible turn.  Then when you refuse to pay for something that does not work they'll sue you!”   

We on the other hand have no obligatory contracts because we want our clients to do business with us because they choose to and are happy, not because a piece of paper can be hung over their heads and threatened with.  This is obviously much more client oriented, and as a result we enjoy high client retention, high client satisfaction, and if there is a natural reason we can not deliver what the client ultimately needs, that client does not get an invoice!  In other words you do not pay for something you can not use.  We have more referrals than we can handle making it very hard to spend money on advertising because we are too busy with these referrals.

The other company must actively engage in marketing campaigns and has a sales force dedicated to 'closing the deal and getting the contract signed.'

So make sure you understand your web development company before you choose them, and be leery of agreements and contracts.  The company I severed relations with was due to our difference in handling a mutual client.  They wanted us to do what was asked and bill for it.  We declined with reasons that these requested changes were not in the best interest of the client.  The other company simply did not care.  This is why we had to part ways.  Sadly that client will be billed an expensive invoice for something that they do not need.

Choose wisely - it matters!

Hopefully this blog post will help save some from these snake pit operations because quite frankly we are tired of them casting a negative light on our industry.  

So good luck out there!