Yes, we've finally become mainstream. You can call Web Developers / Designers "General Contractors." Just like Landscapers, Plumbers, Carpenters, Electricians.
It seems we are free to not return calls, and be content with shoddy over-charged work. We can now charge for follow-ups, even if the follow-up was due to a mistake on our part. Wait, not a mistake.... it's called a 'rejected feature' so we can charge to replace the mistake, I mean feature, with the fix, oops, I mean feature that the client originally wanted.
Why the rant?
Because I can't seem to find good developers who can return phone calls. Even if using their preferred method of communication (email, IM, support tickets), they seem to simply vanish.
And properly finish what they started? Why should they if I can pick up the slack I guess.
Running the servers, and trying to give everybody hosting at Seven Sages responsive and effective service, I've been trying to find developers that can fill in the some of the holes in the talent pool. We can't all know everything, so finding individuals who are great in a specific skill is hugely beneficial. I don't have to stress over something I'm not an expert in, and the customer gets an efficient solution to their issue, usually cheaper than me charging by the hour to figure something out.
But, where are they? I know they exist. I have spoken and worked with the gifted and talented. I have seen the great things they can do. But, I now see something disturbing. Unfinished projects. Unreturned calls. When they do take the work, they throw it together and move on, quickly asking for payment before you can even check the work.
Are we too busy to be polite? Too busy to communicate? Too busy to finish our tasks properly? No one seems too busy to not take on that extra task (if they ever return the call).
Here's an idea. If you are too busy, say so. If you are having unexpected delays, say so. Communicate. Don't claim you can do something you can't, and then drag out the project as you try to fake your way through it.
Everyone deserves better. If you are really that good, raise your prices and only take the jobs you are sure you can finish with professionalism.
I used to think Computer geeks could be the next wave of 'Professionals'. We have specific skills that the ordinary person doesn't have. It takes years to become proficient in an every changing industry. There are so many special areas to become an expert in (php, java, server administration, email admin, web graphic designer).
But here we are, doing the same thing we complain about from others.
Perhaps the problem comes from our narrow-focused thinking? We know what we know. The landscaper knows landscaping. The plumber knows plumbing. The web designer knows his little piece of the pie. BUT, all seem to lack that skill called 'customer service.' I guess us geeks will still be geeks, holed up in a dark corner with the glow of a screen barely lighting the keyboards, saying to ourselves 'I am good, and I am better than everyone else.' And we ignore that ringing phone.
Progress is great. I'm so proud. We've made it!
- Written by Brian Shea