Having a video on your homepage is great for SEO so when one of my clients asked me to add a new video they had made I was all in. The video had been produced by a 3rd party company so I contacted them to get the file.
Well, let me just say, this turned into one of the most frustrating professional experiences I've had in a long time.
The client development manager I was dealing with not only refused to let us have the file, his thumbnail options for embedding the video were very limited as well. The thumbnails were small and looked like something you would have used maybe ten years ago. Certainly not in line with the modern look of Squarespace. So I sent him a photo to be used for the thumbnail but again, what he produced was subpar, the photo was fuzzy and heavily zoomed in, with a huge triangle over it for the play button. I went to the company's website and took a screenshot of the thumbnails they promote on there and asked him, "can we just have what you show on your own site?" He never replied. And when my client contacted him directly, asking him to please work with me on this, she was brushed off, too, and told that he had already gone above and beyond the agreed deliverables and that she should use what she was given. Wow.
I don't think I need to elaborate on how important customer service and people skills are in our creative industry, what we do is about so much more than just building a pretty website or making nice videos. I think I was also so offended by his behavior because I've worked with people all my life and providing a great service to them has always been so important to me. So when I come across someone who calls himself a client development manager but is so unhelpful and rude to both me and our mutual client it just blows my mind.
At this point I decided to work with what I was given. You know, make lemonade out of lemons. Instead of his weird photo thumbnail I embedded one of their provided graphics. It wasn't great but my client was happy enough and satisfied that we both had tried. So we went live with the unstylish graphic linking to the video on their homepage. Oh, and by the way, the only way to deliver the video was via a pop-up, you could not even play it on the page. Ugh.
A couple of weeks went by and I just couldn't shake this uneasy feeling whenever I thought of this. Not only was my name now on a website with an ugly pop-up graphic but I also felt that my client had not been serviced well. I considered writing a letter to the guy's manager but that would have taken some effort and I have a lot of stuff on my plate already. So another week went by. Until finally, I just couldn't ignore it any longer.
I went to the company's website and thankfully they had a page with a list of their management team. I got the name and email address of the head of the client development department and wrote him a long message, describing the situation and expression my frustration and the disservice given to our mutual client. I included screenshots and a link to one of my other websites that shows a beautiful embedded thumbnail which played the video on the page.
I didn't get a reply for two weeks and was ready to give up. But then I received this email:
"Thank you for taking the time to offer your feedback. This is not taken lightly and your opinion is very important. That being said, we are very sorry to hear that we didn’t meet your expectations. We strive to maintain our reputation to a high standard, so again, we apologize for any shortcoming and your input will be used to further improve our performance. Therefore, to make this right, I am including two things within this email. First, the updated video player that matches the one that we use for our own website. Second, the video file so you have the video for other marketing purposes or if you choose to use a different video player all together. Again, thank you for taking the time to share your constructive feedback and please let me know if I can be of further assistance."
Needless to say, this made me very happy! There is hope yet in this world and I appreciated this thoughtful and helpful response. I quickly downloaded the file, then uploaded it to my Vimeo and embedded it with a nice photo thumbnail. Even the video quality improved by going via Vimeo. I sent the final result to my client and she was thrilled. And I thought to myself:
We have to be our client's advocates and sometimes that takes perseverance and effort. But it's so worth it.
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