Recently we’ve been getting a lot of calls from folks for help with their online presence. Potential customers, current customers, past ones too….. And for our current clients we have “ongoing maintenance” offerings. They sign up for the year, lock in our current rates, and get “X” amount of time per month to work with us. The ongoing maintenance works well, saves them money, and makes sure that someone is regularly checking their image online.
When we first started the business we allowed customers to “manage their own online presence” and skip our ongoing maintenance. Gotta tell you, that was one of the worst business ideas I ever had. Yes, I want to educate my customers about their websites, search engine optimization, social media, and more. But with some of our initial customers who decided to save a little money by not having us keep up with their sites? Well, it’s cost me a ton of time personally.
I’ve got a quick question Rich, really……
Every week I get text messages from our customers, e-mails, and phone calls. That’s normal and to be expected if folks are engaged in improving their positioning on the Internet. The bummer here are the contacts from folks who had us do some work for them, but then chose to manage their sites themselves. Often they forget to do their software updates, backups, ensure that their sites are secure, etc. They paid us to “sell them the car,” and promised they’d have oil changes done, new tires added when they needed them, and put gas in the tank. The reality?
They’re driving that car into the ground, and often they don’t understand why they have to put gas in that car. And last week was a topper with some of our early clients who opted to do their own maintenance.
One customer got in touch as they wanted to re-do their SEO and target a few new markets. Just 5 minutes of my time turned into over an hour on the phone explaining to the client that the images on their site were stolen from a photographer’s site and that’s illegal and you can get sued. I also had to explain that copying someone else’s text from a competing website is also stealing. Remember that thing that was once called “Copyright?”
Then we got back to the SEO side, and I heard, “Well, it’s easy for you, couldn’t you just zip out a few articles for me?” Sure, if you pay for that I could…… Ah, the conversation ended right there.
Five times Twenty Three Equals A Lot Of Wasted Time
In another case, doing some updates for another non-maintenance package client I hit one of those un-fun walls. The client recently needed to add some new pages and information, and asked for a bid on doing the work by the hour. We made the bid, and they were satisfied. The information was collected from their staff and the new pages were added. And then we got “the e-mail.” Uh, we put the wrong information on each of the pages, can you go back and correct them all?
Sure, it only took 5 minutes per page to do. But there were 23 pages with the error (that was made by the client). 5 times 23 equals 115. 115 minutes of re-doing something that was an informational mistake on the customer’s part….and then they asked, “You’re not going to charge us for that right?”
By the way, 120 minutes is also known by another name. Two hours. That’s a lot more than 5 minutes of my time. How about you?
Okay, work vent done. Posting this took a little longer than 5 minutes……but it’s my time to waste.
Everyone wants something for nothing! This is the way of the world, but if you ask those same business owners if they would gladly give their services free, I’m sure the answer is we can’t do that!
My favorite request in 2016…..”We’ve recently signed up for a Yachting class. Is there any way you could discount your work as we’re a little cash strapped at the moment because of the class.” I’m not kidding, and not exaggerating.
OK. It is time for you to take care of you. If the customer goes somewhere else so much the better. Shame on the customer for not understanding what skills you have. You’ll keep the ones that will pay for your skills and talent. Even if a customer leaves, wish them well. Then they will try the next professional and realize what they had in your services. They may come back with appreciation or they may not. Be true to yourself. Not everyone can do what you do. Put your energy into providing a good service and people will know you and give you the respect you deserve. I know I’m preaching. I have a very small business. I correct any errors I make with the customer. I do my best. I have learned so much about myself as well as all the different kind of people one can run into. Most are very appreciative. You have no control of what others do. You have control of you and your services. The very best to you.
Good article Rich. By the way, my computer has been acting up lately… Do you think you could fly out to West Virginia to take a look… It will only take a minute… Yeah, that would be great…