In my blog, Heroes and Villains I explained how I believed ‘Black Hat’ and ‘White Hat’ techniques weren’t just restricted to SEO practices. In my opinion, they’re indicative of the overall ethics of a company.
Which way is the needle pointing?
I’ve always said that in my head I have a sort of ‘Trust-O-Meter’ that gives me a ‘gut feel’ about how trustworthy a person or company is. Getting to know them can help move the needle towards trust, as can testimonials and other positive third-party stories. However. it can take a long time to ‘Know, like and trust’ someone, which is why I’ve worked hard to establish trusted Pixooma partnerships that I can rely on – a vital requirement when we guarantee every project that involves them.
You’re going the wrong way!
The needle on this Trust-O-Meter in my head generally only moves slowly in the first few encounters with a new contact, as the information is limited. Sometimes though, people inadvertently show their true colours from the first instance which pushes the needle very decisively towards ‘untrustworthy’. Examples include:
- Going straight for a pushy sales pitch without getting to know you, or what your needs might be
- Badmouthing their existing clients or betraying confidential conversations
- Promoting snake-oil techniques and ‘tricks’ to guarantee more business
- Bragging about how they made enormous profits from a customer, using rather dubious practices
Talk about shooting yourself in the foot…
Sometime ago I met a print-broker at an event and he boasted about how despite knowing nothing about websites he’d charged a client around £2000 for a ‘bespoke website’, which was actually an off-the-shelf WordPress theme he’d bought for a tiny fraction of what he charged his customer. This method only had one advantage – quick, substantial profits. It had numerous disadvantages though:
- The client may ask for changes to the website structure or functionality. He’s going to struggle to do this, as it isn’t his core skill
- At some point they’ll request something he just can’t solve and then his duplicity will become obvious
- They won’t react well to the idea they paid over 10x the price for something that they could have effectively purchased and installed themselves
Not only was he a ‘Black Hat’ operative, but also he naively assumed I’d be impressed by his boast. I wasn’t.
Trust your gut (and check their hat)
When selecting an agency to act as your creative partner, I would advise that you gather reviews and recommendations from those you trust. And when talking to new contacts (no matter what service they provide), listen to your own Trust-O-Meter, and don’t feel pressured to rush into a new arrangement. Our Graphic Design Survey has revealed that although there are a wealth of excellent agencies and freelancers, not all of them are as ethical as they should be. Some respondents were let down by:
- Slow or poor delivery
- Failing to live up to their promised standards
- Trying to manipulate clients for their own gain.
Our focus at Pixooma is always customer-first and we are always happy to have a no-obligation meeting about your project, and working with us is risk-free as you are fully protected by our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, so why not give us a call?