A good news story – with a lesson

Got a good news story that I’d like to share:

A few weeks ago I received a call from a competitor asking for usernames and passwords for a website that we were working on. (Been working on it for over 12 months, mind you!) So anyway, I contacted the client to confirm the request and find out where we went wrong.

“It’s nothing you guys have done,” she told me. “My daughter is friends with [competitor] and she convinced me to go with them instead. I know I haven’t given you everything you need to finish the site, that’s my fault, not yours.” So I told her I understood completely, I don’t have a problem with people changing because of those sorts of reasons.

That was all okay – losing a client due to a family/friend connection isn’t the end of the world. As long as it wasn’t something we did.

So today just after lunchtime, the client (or maybe ex-client) pops into the office. She looks at me rather sheepishly and asks, “Will you take me back?”

Surprised, I asked why.

Apparently they hadn’t done anything that was asked of them. They did a redesign and didn’t follow the client’s brief. Information had been put in the wrong place and badly formatted. The staff member (“kid”) that was actually doing the work made the client feel inferior for not being fluent with computers instead of explaining things in English.

Of course, we took her back!

So this afternoon I feel somewhat proud of the level of service we offer. Generally speaking, if someone knows your competitor on a family/friend level you have no chance of winning their business, it’s not even worth worrying about.

But obviously that’s not necessarily the case.


  1. Don’t burn your bridges
  2. LISTEN to what your clients want
  3. Remember that while you probably know more about your industry, they know a lot more about their industry than you do. it’s not their job to be experts in your chosen field, that’s why they come to you in the first place!

One thought on “A good news story – with a lesson

  1. “Don’t burn your bridges”

    Nothing can be more true that that. Like we all know, what goes around, comes around. Even if you think you’d never want anything to do with the client, you never know when this might come back to haunt you.

    It’s nice to hear that your client eventually returned to your services. I am also glad that your client actually appreciates good service. I have seen clients (or would-be clients) who could never tell what a good website or web application is, and so wouldn’t even care who makes it for them, as long as they can get it cheap. It is pretty sad. Nothing beats having an appreciative client who can understand that we are there to help them make things work on the web, not just to do up a website that “my twelve-year-old nephew” can also do.

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