Providing Referrals – Are You Taking a Risk?


The scenario is simple: You have either approached me or have read something that I’ve written where I have provided a referral to someone, who I have worked with in the past and who I know, provides high quality development and/or design work. Based on my recommendation – you approach this person and you enter into an agreement with them and they start work on your project.
Business, question
Then it all goes down hill from there.

You write to me and tell me about your experience with the person I referred you to. Poor customer service. Deliverables weren’t what you expected/wanted/asked for. Product was not completed as agreed. The product, itself, has a few glitches that you’re now being asked to pay for the fix on. The list of items is seemingly endless.

I end up feeling responsible and bad for providing the referral in the first place. However, as stated, this person is someone with a long reputation for good, solid, quality work – not the least of which are projects I’ve worked with said person on, in the past. Yet, I still feel guilty/bad/at fault. If I had the skills to be able to finish off where the other person left off – I may have considered taking a looksee.

Instead – I provide you with a few suggestions you can try, in your communications with the other, in order to come to a, mutually, satisfactory end, and express my regret that you’ve had such a negative and frustrating experience.

Would you, as one business owner to another, share this interaction with the developer/designer in question, in the name of trying to be helpful? Or would you stay out of it because there are surely other sides to the story that you are unaware of and it’s not really your place to stick your nose in it.

If you were the professional in question – – the one I referred this person to .. would you want to know?

Lord knows, none of us are perfect out here. We do the best we can and try to achieve that perfect balance of zen when it comes to doing business in whatever our chosen field. Sometimes we falter. Plus, there are always three sides to every story — Yours, Theirs and (somewhere in the middle) the Truth.

Late night ponderings over here..thoughts?

3 thoughts on “Providing Referrals – Are You Taking a Risk?”

  1. Part of getting a referral is knowing that you’re dealing with somebody else’s past experiences and knowing that yours may not be the same. If it doesn’t work out, then it’s filed away for addition in future recommendations, either to be added when recommended or to make them somebody you don’t recommend until you hear a lot more in the future. We have to make a fair amount of recommendations, and they normally come with something like “here’s the common ones, and here’s our experiences and what we know for why we would or wouldn’t use them”. There’s normally also a comment about if they’ve been good in the past and went downhill or if we’ve used them ourselves.

    As for it going wrong, it all depends, and I can be a horrible person to put in the middle. I often have the blessing / curse of being able to see both sides of an argument, and whether or not it’s valid or you can see it, part of putting me in the middle is having me tell you where you did screw up or could be perceived to have screwed up.

    If the other person is one I normally trust or have a fair amount of dealings with I’ll normally talk with them soon after giving them the recommendation for a couple of reasons. First, it can build a little business in the future because they know where the recommendation is coming from. It also lets them be halfway prepared for it and have a few ideas going so they can give a better first impression (which of course, makes you look better too), and should hopefully make things go a little better and easier. If it goes wrong, I may or may not talk with them, depending on the situation.

    If things went wrong with somebody who had been referred to me, I normally want to know. Most times you know long before it gets to the point of talking to whoever referred them to me calling, but it can happen.

  2. Astro.. so, you’re saying that I need to hire you to be my piggy in the middle? 😉

    Recommendations and referrals always come with the standard disclaimers.. “I’ve used them.. I’ve had good experiences.. I hope you do too”.. type of thing.

    I wish I could control the outcome, but I have a hard enough time dragging myself out of bed in the morning! ha 😀

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