What if your web developer went AWOL because of you?

developer went AWOL

If you just made it here for the first time, I'm in the middle of a short series on designers and developers that go AWOL on your projects.

Now I'm working on parts 3 and 4.

Flawed Logic

In another post on my site, there's been a dialogue between a former customer and a plugin developer. I say former customer because at some point, the plugin developer refunded his money and sent him on his way.

I wrote about this dynamic before, in a sarcastic piece about the right way to get a refund and in a less sarcastic tone, suggesting that even if you get a refund, it doesn't make you right.

But my point isn't to focus on refunds. It's to focus on a dynamic that developers, designers and freelancers in general experience often.

It's actually depicted by the comments of the former customer who was debating with the developer.

“…it was commonplace for employees (people who could be written up in HR) to yell and scream and curse and verbally abuse the help desk.”

“THAT is the meaning of service: Help them no matter what.”

“It’s sad that you think you have the right to refuse service for a product that helps people keep their businesses profitable.”

“And I would never refuse service to any of my customers!”

The logic goes like this:

  • The customer is always right.
  • You have no right to fire a customer.
  • So the customer can abuse you.
  • Because the customer is always right.

There are some people in this world…

There are some folks out there that are paid to take verbal abuse. Unfortunately the umps and refs at children sports games aren't paid enough to deal with adults acting like children. 🙂

The rest of us in the service industry don't suddenly become punching bags simply because we're in the people business. Our mission is to serve – but with a caveat. It's to server the non-abusive.

At the end of the day, allowing abusive customers to be abusive only encourages them to keep being abusive.

You're better bet is to refund their money and politely invite them to wreck havoc in a competitor's business.

What am I saying?

Let me break it down in plain English.

If you believe in the flawed logic above, you will likely abuse your developer or designer (or both). And if that's the case, don't be shocked if they go AWOL. It's the logical conclusion of a belief system that is flawed.

You'll see it happen regularly to you. And if it's happening a lot, don't blame the developers. Don't assume all artists are flakes.

The driver of a developer going AWOL may end up being you.

Don't let that be the case.

Always be respectful. Always be cordial. It goes a long way.