What web agencies should never do to their customers

Originally written by James Richardson on 1/20/2014

What web agencies should never do to their customers

Countless times while helping customers as a tech support representative, I heard much grief and frustration about how their previous Web Agency caused them damages and how they would not help them with their website. Why do I hear so much from customers in the internet field about how they were wronged by a Web Agency. It seems many Web Agencies create tactics to force their customers to pay more money, instead of dealing appropriately with the customer. Below are some tactics Web Agencies have used to force their customers into an endless cycle money bleeding and grief.

  1. Domain hijacking”

    "Domain Hijacking" is a type of "extortion" where the Web Agency claims they registered the domain for their customer, when in actuality, they registered it in the Web Agencies name, not the customers. This is a number one complaint from the Web Agency customers while I was working tech support for InMotion Hosting. InMotion Hosting has the correct policy on domain management and I appreciate it.

    The "domain hijacking" occurs when the customer cannot pay the steep cost for their web maintenance and tries to go to another company to host or maintain their website. If they don't pay the Web Agency the money they want, they will refuse access to to the domain till they get their money. Ultimately, the customer will need to buy a new domain in order to set up their website elsewhere.

    The ethical thing to do is to release the domain to the customer and no longer pay for it. There is no reason a customer should not be able to leave your company for whatever reason. Companies should not need to extort money out of people. If they are doing that, there is something wrong financially somewhere within their organization.

  2. Non responsive and unhelpful support

    Another complaint I heard frequently was how their previous Web Agency was not responsive and had no urgency with fixing problems with their website or if they need help with the site. This type of attitude comes from a "We got their money" attitude where the company has all the funds they will get from the customer so they stop caring.

    This type of business practice forces customers to go elsewhere. If the customer can't get help on something that is important to their business, they will go somewhere else. They should not have to continually throw money at the Web Agency to get them to respond appropriately to their needs.

  3. "Under Delivering" on website promises

    "Under Delivering" is when a Web Agency promises specific functionality for their site and the functionality that was delivered is below what was promised or does not meet the minimum requirements of the web standard. For example, if your website has a form that emails the website owner, the email form should function correctly. When a Web Agency builds a site that is supposed to have a functioning email form, they are required to have the form functioning.

    Many times I've heard complaints about how the customer never got what they asked for from their Web Agency. If the Web Agency says they will build a shopping cart for their customer, the shopping cart should have all the standard functions that all shopping cart software has at the time the software was designed. If the shopping cart cannot have different merchant accounts set up, or if they can't set up taxes in the cart, and so forth, then they did not get what the standard shopping cart requires.

  4. "Price Gouging"

    I have to say, Microsoft Excels at Price Gouging. Maybe someday they will see the light. But, when you have to pay upfront to receive support from Microsoft, you get the idea that they really do not care their customers satisfaction. Many Web Agencies are doing the same thing to their customers. They want extra money up front to receive any support. Even if the website is broken and the cause is on the Web Agencies end. All reputable web companies have a level of free support for their customers.

    Another form of "Price Gouging" is updating sites. Many Web Agencies use Proprietary software that requires a fee to update instead of Open Source Software. In some cases, updates for simple websites can go into the thousand of dollarss; Whereas, Open Source Software is updated regularly for free. So when a instance happens that requires the site to be updated, the huge price comes rolling on in that is beyond being fair or even in the ballpark of the industry standard.

So to make my point, research what the policies are of a Web Agency before you get into any relationship with one. They may seem "cool" and "with it" now; however, in the long run you may regret your decision.

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