As a firm that builds things online, we often talk to potential clients that are unhappy with their current development partner. Usually the break ups are amicable and there is a logical explanation for the change. Fresh ideas are needed. Requirements have evolved. Personalities just don’t fit. But sometimes the client is angry and feels let down. Timelines weren’t met. Budgets skyrocketed without explanation. The work product was buggy.
Having worked in digital for 10+ years now, I’ve been on both sides of the situation. I’ve been the guy poaching the work and I’ve been the guy that let the client down.
The truth is building things is hard and it is inexact. No matter how talented or hard working or well intentioned you are, you are going to screw up sometimes and piss off a client. It will happen. To shed some light on the client-consultant dynamic and how things can go wrong, following is a list of the five most common complaints I hear people make about their web development partners and the steps we are taking at the Brick Factory to avoid having these complaints made about us.
(1) Lack of responsiveness
I can’t tell you how often people come to me complaining that their client representatives simply don’t return their calls or emails in a timely manner. This just baffles me.
Consultants are in the customer service business. When a customer calls or emails you, you need to get back to them as quickly as you can. If a request is simple, just do it right away and be done with it. If it will take time, acknowledge the request and let the client know you’ll get back to them. People want to be acknowledged. Silence is often interpreted as apathy, or even an act of aggression. Being responsive will preempt a lot of problems. It is amazing how many firms/people don’t get this. (more…)