I have terminated several relationships with businesses in my career. It’s not because I have so much business that I can afford to easily make such decisions, especially in today’s economy. It’s because certain client costs too much to keep them as a customer. Your tendency as a business owner will be to expect certain things for free. Although we all like to get services for free, someone has to absorb the time, and to a developer, time equals money.
A good designer will credit your account in cases where a concession should be made. Any small business should expect to pay every time they call, ask for advice, retraining is required, need help when dealing with multiple vendors, or want an update. When concessions are made or payments become a point of tension consistently, its usually the beginning of the end.
So why is that a problem for you? The problem is not that there are a lack of developers, the problem is there is a lack of competent, professional, affordable developers. So severing a relationship trying to nickel and dime an invoice, by creating tension, or expecting instant services can set your organization significantly back. Your business will spend more money and resources building a new relationship and going through several services in the long run.
As a developer, I’ve seen the calls come in and know that it’s going to be “that client”. Its usually a client that expects the phone to picked up when they are ready to talk, want to have a long conversation, or asks questions like “how to open their email”. These customers think that my job is to serve only their business and they feel slighted when the phone’s not picked up.
I’ve had clients get mad if they get my voice mail, an email isn’t responded to quick enough, or its forwarded to my assistant. As a business owner, you need to understand your expectations and expect to pay for instant service and be prepared to be let down if you expect to talk to your developer whenever you call. It just won’t happen even with the best customer service on the planet. Of course, the mega-giant companies will pick up the phone, but often you have to go over your issue again and again.
Cultivating A Positive Relationship:
- Expect to Pay whenever you call, email, or have a request. Good designers will pleasantly surprise you with understanding and invoice credits when merited. We make it a practice to get our clients to approve each invoice before its paid. This gives them an opportunity to ask questions ,etc.
- No one works for free
- Expect to pay more for non-business hours or rush needs.
- Understand your developer serves multiple businesses and is always juggling projects
- Not everything is an emergency
- Don’t call on weekends and after hours unless its mission critical
- Understand technology is not perfect and issues arise.
- Don’t expect your developer to help with any computer problem or other technological issues unrelated to thier profession. If something is given for free, consider it a one time offer and not a open door.
- The relationship is professional friendly. Casual conversation are ROI eaters for the developer. Be prepared with your needs during meetings.
- Freebies are at the discretion of the developer
- Expect to pay for missed pre scheduled meetings.
- Trust your developer. There will ALWAYS be a new service provider knocking at your door trying to tell you all the things your current developer is doing wrong. It’s part of their marketing strategy. If you are easily swayed to believe the next pitch, it will stress your business relationship.
What You Should Expect
- Expect expedited services in times of emergency
- Expect planned meetings to be kept
- Expect a communication acknowledgment
- Expect good answers
- Clearly convey your expectations early to a developer.
- If you are the type of person that works tense and expects instant service, you really need to hire an inhouse designer that focuses on your business specifically. Of course, you will pay a lot more for such a service.
- If you really want to be a preferred customer, send referrals that equal new business. No one will alienate lead generators!