Web Foundry - the people you call when things go wrong
There is a big problem in the digital industry right now and it has only come to our attention over the last year and is significantly getting worse as time goes on. What is this you may ask?
Well, over the last 12 months 99% of the new clients I speak to about a project mention their previous bad experiences with a digital agency/web designer - this is not always just once but can be multiple times that they have had issues working with another company. This is a good problem for us to have as an agency, but a bad problem for clients and other honest agencies.
I have heard many different customer experiences and some are actually shocking and you would not believe that some of these things happen. Across the board the clients range from big retail names to SMEs.
One client mentioned that they had been paying a company a monthly fee for SEO/PPC support and had not had a report in 7 months. When they decided to question the company, they denied that they even had a contract with the client even though they were charging them.
Another client mentioned they had been “sold the dream” on the first meeting for a project, they had paid the initial commissioning fee and then never heard from the company again.
These issues are not just related to agencies and spread to freelance designers/developers. I have heard countless stories where a client has been quoted far less for a project than what an agency would quote. After going with the freelancer the client never ends up with what is agreed, as the freelancer has quoted far too little on price and refuses to work any further on the project and holds the client to ransom. I could on and on but I think you now get the gist.
It is not just websites that clients have had issues with as the app industry is also seeing a big problem at the moment. Over the last year many companies who have lasted up until now have gone bust or stopped creating apps altogether as they simply cannot afford to continue to develop.
We have recently taken on two clients, one who has had his project stalled as the last two app companies have gone bankrupt or into administration, leaving him without the files, source code and documentation for the project. Now we have started the project for him for the third time (fingers crossed we get this sorted for him).
Another client we have taken on board which is a large national client again was left with an app that no one can access or modify, no documentation and no files. This was due to the app agency going into administration.
Both projects have essentially meant that the clients have to pay for the whole project again and in one case, a third time for one customer.
So, this naturally brings me on to why the customers come to us? Well it's simple really, 80% of our new business comes through referral and I personally believe that a referral goes well beyond anything else to win new projects.
The customers who have had bad experiences have all found the previous companies using Google, being contacted directly by the company or meeting them at events. This method means a customer is trusting the company on face value and cannot really get any more information to validate them, whereas a referral normally means the company has already been tried and tested and the person can confirm a good experience on a project. When the customer has had such a bad experience they will always value a referral as they obviously do not want to go through that experience again.
Although all this is good for us as an agency, it has also taught us to make sure we put customer service first. We go above and beyond, not just for the customers who have had bad experiences, but for every customer we have, and the referrals continue.
We have weekly team meetings and customer service is always a major topic. Customers continue to be demanding but who can blame them when they have been treated so badly previously. We continue to review our processes all the time and always improve anything we can to make the customer journey as easy as possible. There are always going to be issues on projects but customers like to see that you can resolve them quickly and efficiently, seeing this they trust you even further.
I would like to close by saying that most of these companies have not even been trading for more than two years, some even for barely a year before going bust. Web Foundry have been going for 11 years - we have been around a long time and operate all over the country and throughout Europe.
We answer customer calls and emails 24/7 and have vast experience within our company for all levels of projects. There's nothing that we cannot do and that is reflective in the various services we offer. This article is not a reflection on every company out there but just a select few. My best advice - put your trust in a company like us and we will take care of you.
Please, get in touch if you want to discuss a project or simply need some advice!