Sometimes problems are not user error, however. In either case, it requires patience and collaboration to get to the source of the problem. I recently had a problem with a client that could have been easily avoided, and it seems like this is a good time to demonstrate the 2 ways this problem could have been dealt with: first, how it actually went down; second, how it should have gone down. Here we go:
Some customers have called us complaining that the Widget you built for us last month doesn’t work. I refuse to pay for something that doesn’t work. Fix it now.
I’m sorry to hear that your widget isn’t working to your specs. We’ve invested another hour into this and have tested it with Explorer 6, 7 and 8, Firefox, Chrome and Safari on Mac and Windows and can’t seem to duplicate the problem. It has worked perfectly in every case, so it’s difficult to fix because we can’t seem to duplicate any problems with the information we have. Can you provide us with some more information? How, specifically, is it not working? Have you tried it yourself? Please try it yourself and let us know what the result is. If you get an error, send us a screen shot.
(2 months of radio silence ensue)
The Widget you built us 3 months ago has never worked. We refuse to pay for something that doesn’t work, and we refuse to pay for that extra hour you spent not finding anything wrong with it. Fix it now.
(1 month of radio silence ensues)
The Widget you built for us 4 months ago has never worked. We’re moving on to another web person. Why is it we always have trouble with our web people? This happened the last time too. I guess web people just suck. And we refuse to pay for the Widget because it never worked.
Excellent work, let’s leave it like you have it. Thanks!
The second scenario is so much easier for everyone! And it’s far better for the client’s business. In a nutshell– running a website comes with some responsibilities. You maximize your ROI when you take the time to learn how your website works and then use that knowledge to proactively interact with your customers and your web contractors.