Last week I experienced the worst customer service I think I have ever had. It was worse as I received it from a source I trusted and didn’t expect it from. I’m not the perfect client and never claim to be. I have high standards of myself and expect the same of other people and companies.
I won’t name the company as it would be unfair to them and they of course have their side of the story, but essentially it boils down to this:
Blaming your customer for your mistakes is not the solution
A number of remarkable statements were given to me. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been as angry or bemused:
– I was told the developer used was not suited to the particular task. However I hired the company, not the developer, for that task.
– I was told I was not spending enough money with them. However they never responded to three quote requests.
– I was told other clients didn’t “blink” when spending large amounts. I’m sorry but you can’t have a blank check/cheque and just get back to me when you’re done. I’ll happily “blink” all day long.
– I was told that breaking working parts of software was “an inherent risk in software development” and therefore I should have to pay for it to be fixed. Even if they broke it. Incidentally if you wanted, you could make a great business model around breaking things and charging to fix them apparently.
So, as if you needed reminding, here are some things I never do:
- Belittle a customer because they don’t have a huge budget. I only have a one hour minimum.
- Wait a few weeks before responding to an email. I try to respond within 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays of course.
- Hide from making a mistake and avoid rectifying it unless paid for. If any occur, I will fix a new problem that appears because of my work, for no charge. After all, I caused it.
- Charge you for work completed when you’re not satisfied. I will do everything I can to make it right.
Of course I’m not perfect. I try to be, but I’m not. Maybe this other company will stay in business longer and be more successful than me. But doing the right thing is more important than that to me.
If you want a quick, brilliant, read, then How Doing Less Work for More Money Saved Client Work… by Josh Blankenship is great. Sample quotes:
When clients were frustrating to work with despite my best efforts on my best days, hey, I picked them, right? I chose to enter into a business relationship with that client. In short, I was never a victim of anyone other than myself. And my clients paid for it.
I Over-Communicate Over-Communication
Every client is different, but in general I want clients to want me to stop bothering them. I’d much rather be the annoying one than the one they can’t get in touch with for a week.
So it’s time to dust-off, get back up and find another PHP developer. If you know any great ones, please let me know below or via my contact form.