I regularly speak to people who have been burned by other web design firms or contract web developers, and their stories are very similar. I’ve identified five common things that some web developers do wrong, and have vowed never to repeat these mistakes:
Claiming Ownership of a Site.
I believe that, once the customer has paid for a completed website, the site belongs to him or her. I’ve heard several stories about developers who have disagreed with this and felt that any completed work belongs to the developer and not the client.
By analogy: if you buy a work of art for your house, do you own it or does the artist still own it after you’ve paid for it and hung it on your wall?
AloeRoot’s opinion is that ownership of the website transfers to the buyer as soon as the account is settled. We’ll even burn your website files to a DVD so you have your own copy; we want your trust and the best way to get it is to earn it.
Being Too Quick on the Kill-Switch
If a customer fails to pay a bill, it’s simple for a hosting company or website developer to take a client’s site offline to prompt a payment. But this should be a last resort after a sincere communications effort, not a simple and embarrassing attention-getting device.
Some customers have high rates of staff turnover, or have interns or students taking care of payables. Perhaps there’s an illness in the family or some other sort of crisis, or perhaps the bill just got lost in the mail.
There are many factors that could cause late payments, and it’s wise for web developers to remember that and have a little compassion before yanking the rug out from under a business.
Varieties of Rudeness
One of the major complaints I hear from customers is that their last website developer was rude, or talked down to them, or didn’t attempt to translate their web jargon into natural language that a non-techy could understand. Basic courtesy and customer service skills rule – no exceptions.
I had a college professor who said that you can either produce results or excuses, and that we had a choice about which we were going to deliver. If a customer needs something done by a specific time, we meet the deadline even if it means working until we drop.
If you miss a customer’s deadline it signals a lack of respect for their business or a lack of time management skills. No excuses – only results.
It’s dishonest to take advantage of a customer’s lack of knowledge about website development, especially when it comes to pricing your services. It’s also foolish, since the customer can compare prices for similar services and find out whether they paid a reasonable amount for the work you’ve done.
Here at AloeRoot I prefer offering quality work for a reasonable price, and I trust that a satisfied customer will refer his or her friends. It’s been working so far! Thanks for considering us.