For some reason, I deal with a large number of clients that have had poor past experiences. Often times, my web design clients have worked with a designer or developer, sometimes even a computer repair person, that didn’t fulfil the client’s expectations. Most of the time, they didn’t even fulfil the contract requirements (which the developer wrote). When I discuss these poor past experiences with the client, I can usually predict what was said by the previous service provider in every situation. That’s usually when I share how I do things differently, and why I do.
Quite frankly, these poor past experiences make it easy for me to win the contract. Once they sense my honesty and realize that I won’t be like the last guy, they are quick to accept my bid. It also doesn’t hurt that so many of these former providers charged rates similar to or higher than mine. I think that sort of sweetens the deal. However, in the end, it is the quality of work and the sincerity of interaction that allow me to retain clients over long terms.
Then, after meetings, I usually get back to my office and share the client’s story with my CFO. I share with her the story in the same manner my client shared it with me. Usually, she is appalled that anyone could treat a client or potential client that way. She’s made comments before to the effect of my not being built to do that sort of thing to a client. But usually it ends with her being happy that we’re able to help put that client in a better situation.
Reflecting on it, it gets me wondering why it’s so common for technical service providers to treat clients unfairly. I’m not in any way trying to disparage those in my industry, but I wonder why my interaction with people who have had these poor past experiences is so frequent. Are there that many unethical providers in my industry? Oddly, I’ve never met a designer who was wired any different than I am. Therefore, there must simply be many more of us in this industry than I thought, and an average percentage of them are unethical. I don’t know, but I’m happy that I get to help the ones that I do.
If you’d like, you can share your past experiences, both positive and poor, in the comments section below, as well as your hypothesis on the questions I posed above. It might make for some interesting conversation. Have an awesome Wednesday, and we’ll see you next week!