If You Get Replaced — Keep It Classy


As a web developer, we must put up with rejection all the time. It can be a customer who has a friend that sort of knows web stuff. Or the friend convinces your customer that they should go with a different company because they love them. You did not do anything wrong, but they want to change companies anyway. No matter what you say or do they are out the door. Or you messed up, maybe you did not finish on time or they did not like the final product. It is still going to happen. No matter what you do they are going to leave your company. The true test of a great company is how you handle it. Do you get mad? Do you do the bare minimum to get them gone? Why should you help them when they are leaving? You will be nice to them, but you will not help them leave!

Look at it as an opportunity to show them you run a great business. Show them you can let them leave with style.

I have personally dealt with a development company that lost a customer to us due to their inability to finish a project on time and budget. Not by a little, but a lot. When we contacted the previous company to take over and move the customer’s website, we were given an admin user login and told we needed to move it right away. When we asked for any accounts that have been set up for the customer, the was response was they were not giving away their business secrets. Really?? So, they add plugins that require a subscription in the customer’s name, and are not going to give our company the info they set it up in? So, let’s take it out on the customer for your failure. Let us punish the customer and the new company when you were the one that messed up. What they are doing now is making the leaving customer pay, literally! We will have to set up new accounts for the customer, which means the customer has to pay for all those Theme & plugin subscriptions all over again or their website will not work. Nice right?
When a customer wants to leave for any reason, do the right thing. Give the new company all the help you can give. Give them all account logins so they can change them over to them. You would think that a company would do that. We found that the old company would say things to the customer about how we did not catch this or that or they still had access to the website. Now they admitted to being able to go into the website they no longer have as a customer. If the previous company was keeping it professional, it should have been something like I want to make the transition as easy as possible. I will remove my login from all the accounts once you have everything moved over.

One of the items that they did not remove themselves from was the Analytics account. The customer was the one that went into the Analytics account, so we did not see that the previous company never removed themselves from the account. When the customer needed to add another user, we found that the old company still had account access and control. The customer was locked out from making any user account changes. They had to ask the previous company to grant her permission to make a change in the Analytics account. The previous company changed her account level to Admin but still never remove themselves. The question from the customer alone should have had the previous company thinking, we do not have that account anymore we need to remove our users from the account! Did they? No, they did not. The customer was so mad she told them to take their company out of her Analytics account! You may not know but having access means they have customers’ accounts locked and held hostage. You mean to tell me that you never thought about removing your company and all of your staff’s access to something private like their Analytics and Search Console account of a company you no longer have a relationship with? That is not only wrong but unethical. If something should happen to that account, whether you did anything or not, you are the only other one with access. You could be held liable for damages done.

It is much easier to play nice than be mean and spiteful. You should treat your leaving customer with the same care and respect it took to get them in the first place. Make the move as smooth as possible. Maybe that new company will not work out and they come back. Maybe they will never be back, do not make it worse. If you make it hard on their new company or the customer, they will never be back. As if that is not bad enough. They will make sure everyone they know, including on the internet, not to do business with you. A bad review can cost you new customers. How much is a customer worth? You could be talking many thousands of dollars. In the long run, it could be hundreds of thousands of dollars from the right customer. Why chance it?

Stay professional and keep it classy!

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