This is a great post by Andy Crestodina. Andy kept a pad next to his phone noting complaints about web design companies over the course of a year. Having just worked for one of the largest web design firms in the southeast I can tell you this list has the ring of familiarity.
Andy's chart shows the true rub for web design agencies - they SUCK at customer service (lol). The tricky part of creating websites is the multi-directional nature of communication.
Customers bring issues, challenges and problems in and the web design company needs to share process, conclusions and progress. Most web design companies are good at the former and lousy at the later.
If I had to identify WHY organic communication with customer breaks down technology would play a big role. I sat downstairs from Atlantic BT's CureCancerStarter.org's project manager and didn't have a SINGLE meeting. All communication was IM, email and phone and in that order.
There is something about occupying the same physical space that GoTo Meeting or Skype will never replicate. Not ONLY did Atlantic BT create an EPIC fail by not having regular face-to-face meetings with me they committed the 2nd common sin that prevents good communication - they didn't ask questions or check what they were developing.
Combine inadequate face-to-face communication with not asking the right questions or sharing progress, something sure to prompt questions, and too much WOBBLE becomes part of the web design process and why Andy can write a "list post" about why there are 27 common problems with web design firms and most of those land in COMMUNICATION.
When I sold to Fortune 1,000 food companies I wanted my team to error on the side of over communication. If a customer got a little upset with how often we were bugging them we would back off as I smiled and knew we were doing our jobs.
I realize we live in different profit / margin times, but too much Skype and GoTo Meeting is a crutch. Get your ass on an airplane and go meet your customers at their shop. You can learn things being in a customer's physical space you can't learn any other way.
Great post by Andy. Use it to tune your communications and more than half your problems are solved :). M
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