I love my car, and it had a couple of dents in the rear bumper where I decided to be clever and ignore my reversing sensors thinking that I knew better. I didn’t.
I went to a body shop that I was very happy with under their old management, but decided that they now weren’t for me, and walked away when I could.
The similarities between this industry and my own (web design and development), became very clear.
I popped past two months ago and asked for a quote, and they seemed pretty cheap, perhaps too cheap, but it was only a SMART repair, going by their past reputation I asked to book it in. They couldn’t do it there and then, and said to call back a few days later. I did, and booked it in for the next Friday at 8am, and thought that all was well.
I arrived 7:50am on the Friday, and at 8am spoke top one of the technicians, who said I wasn’t in the book, but that it would be no issue, and I’ll be the first job after they’ve finished with what they are doing. I could collect the car at lunch.
After lunch I phoned the landline, and mobile several times to no avail, so turned up at the end of the day, and was told that they couldn’t fit it in, would never have fitted it in, that the landline doesn’t work, and that the person who the mobile belongs to is off for personal reasons. They told me to return 8am the following Monday, when they open, and they’d do it.
So I arrived 7:50am on the Monday, waited, waited some more. At 9am they were still closed. At this stage alarm bells started to ring, and I was wondering if I had made the right choice.
I was talking to another one their customers who said they usually open 8am – 9am, perhaps later as it’s a Monday and they may have had a busy weekend! He had his van covered in masking tape of bits that they had missed and needed correcting. A bit worried I continued to wait, and at 9:15 a friend of mine arrived, who had her car done by them the previous week, and it was given back to her with a few drips, and another bit unpolished and scratched. She hadn’t yet paid and was going to get it repaired, again.
At 9:20 with a body shop supposed to open 80 minutes ago still bolted shut, and with two poor quality jobs outside, I decided to go elsewhere.
I went to one of their local competitors with a good reputation, and had a far better experience. I was greeted by a well-dressed, polite man who took a look, and told me that a SMART repair wasn’t ideal in this situation, and he’d rather take the bumper off, and why. That my previous quote was “too cheap”, and said he couldn’t match it. He said he wasn’t the cheapest body shop, but my car will leave flawless. I told him to quote anyway, we made a deal, and it was booked in.
I had no doubts in my mind at all that it would leave perfect, although it’d cost me slightly more. And I was correct, the car left the body shop as new – thanks Bodytech Salisbury.
So what has this got to do with web agencies?
We are that second body shop. We could do cheap botches on old websites, and get customers coming back with complaints all of the time, but we don’t. Why? Because we do things properly.
The old saying “buy cheap, buy twice” is so right. And, like the second body shop, sometimes paying a little but more is better, and in this case it wasn’t actually a huge difference.
For the body shop my car was just a small job of many, but for me, I love my car and wanted it to have their full attention, and didn’t mind paying a little more for that to happen. For us, making or upgrading a website is an everyday occurrence, but for our clients their website is important, costs money, and they want it done properly. The same can be said for most industries, and it’s important that every project, big or small, is done properly. Very few clients would want to have their project rushed in order to get the price down if the quality will suffer.
The clues that the first body shop would be bad were there from the outset, a company that won’t answer the phone, seem to have no coherence between their staff, an out of date website with incorrect phone numbers, don’t open on time and don’t deliver what the promise. They made it very difficult to book in work, and were obviously rammed off their feet fixing issues from previous jobs. I should have listened to my gut earlier… as it happens I feel I did it just in time. (I made the correct choice as my friend took her car back four times and the original body shop still couldn’t get it right).
Similarly, it’s important to make sure that we are doing all of the little touches with our own businesses, and that we don’t push away clients before they book work in. Any potential customers looking need to be reassured that they are using a professional company that will put the quality of the products or service first.
We pick up a lot of projects from clients who have been disappointed by other web agencies, and quite often it’s quite a way down the line… Just like having a bad respray, sometimes the bad work needs to be undone making the overall fix harder,
The point of this article is 2-fold. Firstly, as a consumer look for tell-tale signs as to whether the company you are choosing have the attention to detail that you want and then, importantly, listen to your gut feeling. And secondly, as a business owner, ensure that you give out the right impression to your potential clients.
We are Webbed Feet, we are a web agency that do things properly.