"I paid them for a year of website service and haven't seen any changes. That was two months ago."
"I called the 800 number they gave me, but no one has called me back."
"We started with ACME Website Service, but they were bought by XYZ in...where was that again?"
I am writing about accountability because I have heard business owners say these things to me about companies they have hired several times in the last two weeks alone.
Some website design company from somewhere on the east coast calls and starts in with their amazing whiz-bang products and incredible service and snazzy graphics and a to-good-to-be-true-but-really-is offer...and then the business owner commits.
And the salesperson disappears.
And then the thing they bought breaks.
And when they call the 800 number or send the email to firstname.lastname@example.org, they are ignored or passed around to other calling centers with long queues of people just like you waiting on hold.
One owner can't even look at her new alleged website because it has been blocked with an ad for a product for Apple computers and she has a PC!
She has been ripped off by another Mega-Company that used to be a phone book. She has one guy to call, who sends her to another and no one has an answer.
Her digital presence has been hijacked.
You know what the antidote to this is? Accountability.
Why is it so difficult to find people who simply do what they say they are going to do?
That question is rhetorical, by the way.
Because the answer is: The same reason it is so hard to find people who will admit when the screw up. You know, own their mistakes.
Instead, business owners out there are willing to pay the .com in Schenectady over someone local.
The reason they do it is to save some money, or to get some perceived higher level of expertise.
What usually happens is, they wind up wishing they could sit down across from the person with the username and password to their entire online presence and do something crazy: look them in the eye.
Accountability is a priceless commodity. Like trust and respect.
So, if you are a business owner and need to hire someone to execute a technical service for you, keep in mind you may have to pay a few more bucks for the local person. However, there is much more value in being able to reach that person and talk to them face to face.
If you are the service provider who gets hired, remember that in some cases, the only advantage you have over that .com in Schenectady is that you are available for face to face communication.
Now, in fairness to the out-of-towners, it isn't like being local guarantees better service and results. There are some outfits around our parts who somehow disappear when needed most, too.
So this message goes out to them, too.
Up your stinkin' game and do something so simple it's actually radical.