I’m not a stranger to the Online World, nor the Digital Media Industry so to say I was shocked is a huge understatement.
My Web Design and Animation Firm, Roarender, not one month shy of operating, had finally finished it’s first website with it’s first client. A time to celebrate no doubt, especially after the rule of three had well and truly dragged what should’ve been a simple two-week process out to a prolonged four-week process.
On completion, I got the contact details of the Web Hosting company and went about calling and forwarding on the finished website to be uploaded. After a week of follow-ups and follow-follow-ups, I was elated to get a call from the owner of the company regarding the redesign I was trying to get live. Elation was quickly replaced by awkwardness, bewilderment and finally, outrage.
Let me tell you how it played out..
I answer a call from Mr. H and state how happy I am to finally be speaking with him. He responds by saying “Did you put your company down as designing the website?” I confirm that I did and that I’d like to arrange the launch of the redesigned website. Mr. H then states that I have no right to take his company’s design and claim credit for it because in fact, I was using his design and simply maintaining it. Confused much?
…he then states that I have no right to take his company’s design and claim credit for it…Confused much?!
At this point, I proceeded to explain how every change I’d made was of my own design, from the header, to the additional pages and minimalist style but irrespective of that, he proceeded to grill me on the length of time I’d been in the industry and how unethical it was for me use his design as a template for any additional work I did to the website. I was completely gobsmacked. Not only, was the ownership of my work being called into disrepute but I felt as if an attack on my person and competency was being made. Well I never!
Fortunately (for him), my Jim Rohn tapes kicked into play in the back of my mind and amid the swirling emotions and scathing remarks I was itching to unleash, I took this more than frustrating situation and contemplated on how fascinating it was. Never being one to jump at anyone who wasn’t family, I calmly stated that I was completely confused by what he was saying and wanted to establish the facts in the matter.
And this is where things get interesting…
After restating (for what felt like the hundredth time) that I’d created a new design which I’d sent to him, I pointed out that other than some copy which had been on the old website, every single element was different. I rattled through comparisons by posing questions like “And you know how my design has such and such…” and “Can you see how my such and such is different because….”
After a couple of these, I got curious and frankly asked him –
“Have you actually looked at the design I’ve done for the client?”
His response –
“Well, no, my staff member phoned me up to say it was exactly the same as ours!” Gotcha!
I then asked “So, this entire time you’ve been accusing me of stealing your design, not knowing how to be professional in this industry while talking about how the client is so difficult and you want him to find another host, this whole time, you’ve never even looked at the design I sent you?!”
“So, this entire time you’ve been accusing me of stealing your design…this whole time, you’ve never even looked at the design I sent you?!”
Mr. H responded “…look, I’m just going off what my guy’s told me, which is, you’ve put your name at the bottom of our desi-”
“Sorry to interupt, but you need to talk to your guy again because he is wrong!” I interrupted. “It seems this entire matter is based on your presumption that I’ve ripped you off and even that, is based on here say from your worker. You need to check the file I sent you yourself and hey, if it turns out, I’ve failed to include a template than I’ll stand accountable but if it’s someone from your party, I hope you would do the same, so why don’t we leave it at that?”
After a moment he replied “Look, I think we got off on the wrong foot (he got off on the wrong foot). I’ll give my guy a call back and see if I can’t get to the bottom of this.”
I politely responded, “Thank you for that Mr. H. I look forward to hearing back from you.” End call.
Now, the crazy thing was that although I came across as polite and somewhat in control, my heart was beating a hundred times a second from the rush of the confrontation. I walked out thinking, “Woah, and this was just my 1st client!”
Several days later, after again hearing no response, I went out to the company to pay the host handling fee for uploading the site and met Mr. H, eager to welcome me , offer a chair and apologize (I believe sincerely) for the mix-up. Over the course of our discussion, I discovered he needed a guy to come in and reinstall his windows server so he could get his internal Content Management System up and running again. He asked if I could help him and I’m currently in talks to come up with what could become a long-term solution, and thus, business relationship with his company. Win-Win.
I’ve personally warmed up to far too many stories of people turning the proverbial lemon into lemonade…
Some might say, “Screw him, it’d serve him right!” but I’ve personally warmed up to far too many stories of people turning the proverbial lemon into lemonade as a result of being polite, professional and sincerely endeavoring to give the best service possible. These are stories of legend that have served a great many successful salesmen and saleswomen and it’s my hope that I, the owner of a 1-month-old Web Design and Animation Firm, will have one such tale to call my own.
The moral from this is that I was so happy to know that I’d turned a “frustrating” situation into a “fascinating” situation which was quickly turning into a “financially rewarding” opportunity at that. Thank you Jim Rohn…of course, hearing him apologize in front of all his staff was sweet music to the ears!
…of course, hearing him apologize in front of all his staff was sweet music to the ears!
If anyone else has similar stories of turning frowns upside down, share away. Jim Rohn says that if we share a story with one person, they hear it once but we hear it twice which means you have the chance to learn from the message once more.
Let’s share our stories with as many people as possible because it is sure to help us in our own Personal Success and Professional Success, as my experience will show.