People like to complain. And since I talk to people about web projects, I hear a lot of complaints about other web design companies. I regularly hear horror stories about long delays and failed projects. So in 2011, I started keeping a notebook next to my phone. And when I remembered it was there, I would take a few notes.
So far, I’ve collected 27 complaints about web companies (to see the full list, scroll down). Although not exactly a PhD thesis, there is enough data to draw a few conclusions. I’ve put the complaints into three groups:
Some of the complaints were wide-ranging and added to more than one category. This chart shows the percentage of complaints for each category.
It’s immediately obvious that service is the biggest problem clients have with web design companies.
Here are some of the main reasons:
First, keep this in mind: when choosing a “web design team,” you’re choosing a project management approach, a process, a help desk and ideally, a long-term web partner. If something goes wrong, it won’t likely be a design or programming problem. It’s all about service and communication.
I once wrote a post called 5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Web Design Company, but I’ll save you the click and summarize it here.
Many web design companies just aren’t focused on service and don’t know how to keep a project on track. A good designer and smart programmer can start a web company and make websites – Barrett and I did. But they may not truly realize what it takes to offer great service – Barrett and I didn’t at first. But we figured it out.
Inept, Old Technology, Slow, Non-Responsive
Doesn’t Listen, Incompetent
Misled, Poor Communication
Never Delivered, Overpromised, Missed Deadlines, Offshoring
Rude, Short, Doesn’t Exist Anymore
Design Problems, Relaunched Site without Approval
Company is gone, can’t access the site
Vendor was always slow, one-person shop, now retiring
Slow to respond, Poor Service
Overpromised, Over their heads, Going Out of Business
Out of their Capabilities
Couldn’t execute, Overpromised, Lack of Capabilities
Non-responsive, not committed
Didn’t explain Flash, SEO problems
No control, Developers won’t give access
In over their heads, CMS constraints
Can’t find developer
Had amnesia, Missed Deadlines
Hates their vendor, $20k to add a Flash piece, Bad project management
Delays, Lack of capacity, Over-promised
Communication problems, Designer fell off the earth.
NOTE: Two of the complaints mentioned that the vendor was using offshore resources, but the complaints weren’t about programming or technical capabilities, they were about service.