Conflicts with customer (payments, attitude)
I have a tiny “problem” which is a bit sensitive, so please be kind to me. I want to tell you the whole story but I will also try to keep it short.
I have been working with web since I was 14 years old, I am now 30. I started making web sites in wordpress to other people for some years ago. I only made web sites for friends (often friends with their own companies) or acquaintances so I could trade web site for a favour.
Recently I made a web site for a customer I didn’t knew before. I went to my favourite furniture store and asked them if they needed help with their web site. And they did. The owner of the store was kind of hard to work with since she used to talk “bullshit/slander” about her former web developer. She used to talk about how easy it must be to make a web site: “it’s just to push some buttons and then it’s ready” and “my last web developer wanted so much money for his site when he said he used tools for making my web site” and so on. She also kept talking about how bad the last developer was, since the web site was hacked. Every time when I talked with her about installing plugins, she kept worrying about being hacked again. Over and over again, even though I told her I made my best securing the web site.
However, at first the plan was to make a simple web site with presentation only. For this I said I wanted $1007. She said she has no cash but I could get furniture from her. I said that is completely ok, and I told her I wanted a bedstead (worth $2 444) and a big chair/throne (worth $1 438). She said that was ok (and I thought she ment that’s my payment). Then she talked about wanting a web shop too and we did not really discuss the price. I had never made a web shop before, and I told her that. I should make a try first, I said. And I made it work, so we released the site.
I also managed some newsletters and taught her how Facebook Pages works. Most of the time went to convince her about things she kept asking over and over again, like security, bad things about her former web developer and so on. I tried to be pedagogic and to not involve my feelings, even though she got on my nerves all the time.
However, now the web site is released and online and she asked me what I want as payment. I answered I want the bedstead first and then the throne. She asked how much the site is worth and I answered that I haven’t thought of that. I said that a plain site is worth about $1007 and then there is the web shop which is worth a lot too. She asked “But the web shop isn’t working..”. I didn’t understand what she claimed. “Yes, it does? That’s what I have been trying to get to work for a while”, I replied. Then she said: “Well I cannot give you the bedstead since it’s worth much more than your web site, you can have the throne”. I replied that I need a bedstead first, since I have none at home. “Well, I can’t give it to you, you will have to pay the difference ($1 006)”. I said I do not have the money and she said “Oh it’s not expensive! One customer told me that the bedstead costs $3 594 in other stores!”. I didn’t knew what to answer. “Well, I still do not have the money, I thought I would get it”, I replied. “I cannot give it to you, but you can have the throne”, she said.
I got confused and I didn’t want to answer anything to make her angry and just perhaps hanging up or telling me I cannot have anything at all or something like that. So I said that I will take the throne and she said that’s ok with her.
Then I said I did not know when to get it, since it’s real big. She said she could transport it to me in her truck. I told her that would be wonderful. Then she started.. “Hmm, but I don’t know.. how much is your web site worth? How many hours have you been working..?”. I didn’t understand anything. I didn’t answer and then she said “Ok, I can transport it to you on wednesday”, and I replied that’s ok with me. Then we hang up.
I feel so bad right now. I feel like being taking advantage of. I feel like I have done totally wrong. I have spent so many hours making this web site. I am very happy to get the throne, but I thought we agreed about the bedstead too. I thought she could show a little humility.
I know I should have made an agreement with her. I know I should have told in the beginning that the web shop is worth at least $2 875. I should do like my male friends do, exaggerate the price and effort.
No, I want to know from you what I could have done better. How do you work with bothersome customers like this one? What should I have done?
And.. what will I do now?
I do not want to fight, and since I have accepted the throne and we have no agreement, I guess there is nothing for me to do?
She asked me if I could help her continuously with the site: sending news letters and more. I replied that I absolutely could do this.
Now, how will I do this, best? Should I tell her “I take $143 an hour” or “I want the sofa” or something like that? How do I act smart?
All your tips and tricks are welcome and please be kind to me. I already feel bad for this.
Thank you for your time!
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