The characters below are fictitious and bear no resemblance to any real person or company. They have been included in this discussion to draw attention to a common-place scenario.
Mr. David Lopez is a dentist based in Mumbai, India. He has a busy practice and a constant stream of patients at his clinic.
One day he receives a call from overseas from a prospective NRI patient by the name of Mrs. Maria Bolton who has been given his reference by a good friend.
The patient enquires with David regarding dental services he offers and whether she can look through his website for details.
David replies in the negative, he has never thought about a web presence before. David then realizes that he needs to have a website done quickly.
He makes calls to a few web design companies and gets quotes. The quotes range from Rs. 8000 to Rs. 25,000 (US$ 150 to US$ 450) for a
number of specified pages. He calls a few companies to come and meet him so that he can choose one of them as his web development partner. He makes an attempt to understand the technical jargon such as domain name, server, hosting but cannot understand much. Nevertheless he picks one web design company, negotiates a price of Rs. 9000 (US$ 150), gives them an advance of Rs. 4500 /- (US$ 75) to start work. They promise to deliver in a week’s time. Today it is almost 2 months and the website is still not launched. David has given up hope of ever completing the website and has just resigned to the situation. What went wrong ?
Step 1 : The web design company showed him 2 designs in a couple of days after receiving an advance from David which David did not like.
So they took 2 more days to come up with another set of 2 designs and fortunately David liked one of them.
Step 2 : Then they start demanding content and images from David so that they can populate the other pages of the website.
Step 3 : David starts working on the content, the first process is thinking exactly what he does and then putting it on paper. He starts looking at other websites
to do some research but cannot come up with the right content and images, forget it. He does not have any.
Step 4 : Next 2 weeks David is trying to work on the content, he does it but is not satisfied and again tries to re-do it. Afterall he is not a professional content writer.
Step 5 : The web design company follows up with David and gets to know his plight. They agree to help him and put some content together themselves and upload on the internal pages.
Step 6 : David is not happy with the website. The content is not professional, the images are not relevant, he realizes it is not the web design company’s fault since they are not
aware of his domain. He feels it is not doing justice to his profession and practice. Unless he himself works on the content he will not be able to launch the website and promote it.
Step 7 : Meanwhile the web design company wants the balance money to be paid by David since according to them the website has been completed by them. David gives in to their demand and pays the balance reluctantly.
Step 8 : David is still struggling to get the website up and running.
Who exactly is on the wrong side ? Is it the web design company ? Is it David ? The answer is nobody is in the wrong. It is the lose-lose situation which has been created. The transaction has consumed David’s time and money, resources of the web design company. End result – Nothing Yet !!!!!
Mrs. Ratna Shah is a Partner at Shah & Associates, a law firm started by her father 40 years back and now doing extremely well with some of the firm’s clients being celebrities in the field of sports, entertainment etc. That the firm needed a website to showcase their achievements and capabilities was long known to her Partners and that is the reason they did get a website done about 5 years back from some web design company which unfortunately closed down a year back. They can neither get support for changing the content of the website from the web design company nor can they change the content themselves. It seems to be a static website. There is no option but to get a new website done. In a law firm where every minute of a lawyer’s time is money, who is going to invest time behind finding the right web design company, get the quotes, negotiate, look at the existing content and rectify/modify/add the required content where necessary and put it all together, co-ordinate with the web design company and get things done, monitor the work and ultimately launch the new revamped website.
Thinking about it sends shudders down her spine and she decides to postpone it for now. The stakes are high. Some corporate clients who look at the website do not get the right information/branding about Shah & Associates and decide to find another law firm. In today’s competitive world can a major law firm afford to ignore the power of a effective web presence ?
Why can’t people be professional ? Why do they not answer their phones ? I have shifted my office and want to update my contact details on the contact page of my website but I cannot get the web design company to do it immediately. It is 3 days since I am trying and I cannot get through them. It is the height of irresponsibility. This is what has been going through Mr. Gaurang Thapa’s mind last 3 days. Mr. Thapa is a successful chartered accountant and has many institutional as well as corporate clients. He got a website done from a web design company last year. He did not request even a single change for the past 10 months but now the contact address needs to be changed and he cannot get it done quickly. Also Mr. Thapa now remembers that he has already complained once to the web design company that the website is not viewed properly in the latest version of Internet Explorer but that was ignored and he also later forgot about it. Overall a bad experience. He will now need to find another company who can offer atleast basic services including picking up his phone whenever he calls. But the trouble is in order to get his existing website and domain transferred from the current company to the new company will be an ordeal he wants to avoid. He is not cut-out for this kind of work and if possible he should be concentrating on his business rather than a website. But does he have an option ?
“Very few Architects have websites, we do not need one, it is a waste of time and money”, that is the view echoed by Mr. Prahlad Daruwala, an interior designer by profession who is advising his dear friend Mr. Amit Trivedi, an Architect who has recently had very good successes with some of the major commercial projects in the Mumbai city. “Nahi yaar, we have to showcase our work to get prospective clients interested, nahi to har bar if we have to go scouting for new work all the time it is difficult accompanied by slow growth. A web presence is surely a very economical way of telling people who we are and what we do and the reach is universal not achieved by any other media that I know of”. Amit pauses for a moment before continuing “Yaar lekin kya hai for a simple website which looks professional and showcases our work I do not want to spend a lot of money initially. Let us get a simple website done and then after a few months or even a year we will look into the details and get a very good one done. But yaar do you know someone who can do a simple website for us without us spending too much time and money behind it ?”.
Coaching Classes / Teachers
Priya Bhatt is an ambitious teacher who has single-handedly started Priya Classes for Maths & Science for Std 8 – Std 12 and now after 10 years has a student strength of about 300. Her dream – Make it into a 5000 student facility with branches all over the city of Pune. She knows she has to brand Priya Classes so that it looks professional to attract students and their parents. She know if she hires an advertising agency to do the work it will be too expensive for her. She has to start somewhere so she talks to her friend Anup Ghaisas who instantly suggests her to go for a basic website with a facility to edit/manage content from the backend. This gets Priya thinking and she starts looking for a web design company who can do the work for her in Rs 10000 – Rs 15000 (US$ 175 to US$ 250) and deliver quickly without her having to invest her time in it, as such she is very busy.
Charity, a selfless service to humanity & environment relies on generous donations given by donors, who understands this better than Mr. Krishna Iyer, the trustee of Seva Foundation he started 6 years back for the upliftment and education of poor, living in utter destitute and squalor in and around Mumbai. It is but obvious that donors like to find out how their donation was spent. Writing to each and every donor and answering their questions seems to be taking so much time of the limited staff that is there at Seva that there is no time left for other important work. How does one ensure that donors are also happy and the staff is also able to find more time to do other work ? The answer lies in having a website, Mr. Iyer has learned. A website where the staff will be able to manage content and update sections such as news & events, ongoing projects, projects completed etc. including text and images. Donors can visit the website and find out what is happening. Also the website can attract prospective donors not only from India but also abroad and the donations and donor base can increase which in turn will help facilitate other important projects for the poor. Mr. Iyer is so excited, he wants to call a web design company soon, agree a reasonable price and launch the website. The only condition – the web design company has to be reliable otherwise donors will question the money spent and lose trust, which is the last thing Mr. Iyer needs.