Everyday, I’m continually fascinated by new things happening in different areas having to do with digital media such as social networking and the real-time web among others. Nevertheless, I’ve come to realize from bitter experience that actually getting websites or blogs constructed with a proactive, thorough and customer-oriented developer is virgin territory waiting to be exploited.
Now, I’m not talking about technical challenges and customer-developer brainstorming at the beginning of the project. I’m talking about incredible lulls in the work schedule where things just stop happening unless you, as the customer, ping your developer. In some instances, if one were to simply wait for the developer to perform the work that’s on the docket, you’d better wait sitting down ‘cause it’s not unusual for things to slide without continual monitoring.
I’ve tried out developers in all parts of the globe including India, Pakistan, Latin America and even the states and I have yet to find a developer that doesn’t fall asleep at the wheel. What’s even more telling is that here in Latin America where I thought I’d find an excellent market for unique analytics expertise, what’s most requested from potential allies (e.g., digital agencies) is to partner with my company for web development services because, after years and years, they haven’t found reliable suppliers. Today, after the experiences I’ve had, this no longer surprises me.
The closest thing I can compare this to is working with contractors to build or renovate a home. As a customer of these services, I’ve noticed that being patient is actually seen as a sign of weakness and a project that has taken twice the time it should have (I’m talking months for basic work) to get to a certain point, will take a total of four times as long to finish because you’ve shown your weakness (patience). In the end, if you do finally lose patience, you can be sure that the developer will rationalize the customer’s frustration to himself or herself as being due to being such a “difficult customer.”
There’s nothing like turning a bad experience into something positive. Following this line of thinking, I have decided to make web development a focal point of my strategy. Incredibly, my last customer’s site required much back and forth, QA (not just waiting for the customer to find things that don’t work) and other activities in order to get it done right. My simple action of sitting down with the customer, jotting down the to do’s, executing these in an efficient fashion and getting a sign off from the customer, is something I have yet to experience as a customer of a web developer.
What a concept if you are actually able to provide a service with a completely different experience. I’m not even talking about hitting an impossible schedule or never falling behind. I’m just talking about simply not falling asleep at the wheel. That’s all. I truly believe that by promoting that basic service, I can actually provide a tremendous differentiation in this marketplace. No need for advanced analytics capabilities or something so escoteric as that. Just following through and doing a good job (not perfect, just good). If there’s anyone who’s surprised by this, it’s yours truly.