Is Your Agency Giving You the Right Support?
Your agency will offer some level of support as part of your ongoing partnership. Be it an initial warranty period on your website, a ticket desk to log issues or an account manager to provide guidance. But are they giving you the right support for your business needs?
When selecting an agency, businesses are often looking for a long-term strategic partner. An agency should provide you with a range of support options tailored to your business objectives and budget. Through our support services, we aim to iteratively improve the websites we build, and work collaboratively to achieve business goals.
What are the benefits of an agency’s in-house support team?
Not many agencies have a dedicated support team in place to deal with minor website changes. But for us, it means we know we can provide the support you need at any given time. There are many benefits, including:
- Knowledge of your CMS and website: Even if you’ve migrated the site to a new agency who hasn’t built it themselves, the migration process should ensure members of the relevant teams know everything they need to know to work on your site.
- It enables an end-to-end service: An agency without a support system can only be focused on the priority of the client at that moment in time. For example, imagine your website goes down or your customers aren’t able to access a specific page. If you’re working with an agency who doesn’t have a support desk, they will have to drop what they are currently working on in your ongoing project to resolve the more urgent issue.
- A fast and efficient response: An in-house support system encourages a fast, efficient and proactive response. Using dedicated systems and set response times means problems can be fixed in a reasonable time to prevent disruption to your business.
Support services usually cover a range of processes designed to provide continuous guidance for your website. Here are a variety of services you can expect an agency to often offer:
90-day warranty period
Some agencies offer a warranty period which extends beyond your website go-live. This process provides peace of mind that a dedicated team will continue to support you and your website even once the project has launched.
Our websites come with a 90-day warranty. If a change or fix is a warranty item, you will not be charged for the work, and this will be fixed through our in-house support desk instead.
A support helpdesk can provide ongoing website development, support and maintenance. Ad hoc support requests can be submitted, often through a ticketing system, which then allows a team to work through bug fixes, making small site improvements or simply to provide ongoing CMS support.
Key to making a support helpdesk effective is providing as much detail as possible to your agency when submitting a ticket. This includes explaining explicitly what the issue is, including where you’ve seen it, how you came to find the issue and any URLs you visited on your site.
Using a support helpdesk and a ticketing system allows for fast and efficient response times. The aim of our ticket system is to respond to clients within eight business hours of them logging a ticket. Our helpdesk, consisting of certified Kentico and Umbraco developers, then work to provide a solution within three business days, where possible. This helps prevent disruption to your business as much as possible.
Agencies often offer a timebank option allowing you to top up your development hours. These are usually unrestricted to months and should be considered as a dedicated bank of hours for supporting your website whether it be for installations, design and UX, guidance or general requirements.
Using a timebank process, pre-purchased hours can be used any time within a 12-month period. We use support desk slots in 15-minute increments rather than hour or half-day blocks as many agencies do; this allows us to ensure only the time required to rectify the issue is taken from your timebank. As such, you have maximum time remaining to provide support on any future requirements.
What’s covered in a typical timebank?
This is the level of support offered by most agencies and will be taken out by the majority of clients. The type of work undertaken within a timebank typically includes:
- Facilitating minor changes and improvements to the website once it is live
- Dealing with defects that may emerge once the website is live
- Receiving additional support and training for the use of the CMS
- Seeking ongoing advice and recommendations
- Drawing custom reporting and analysis
Working with NetConstruct, your timebank can be topped up at any point and each top-up extends the life of your timebank by 12 months.
Why do you need to continue developing your website after go-live?
Due to continuous technology advancements, no site is static and no technology a site is built on is static. Everything from the code language to design practices to how the site talks to the CMS is constantly being updated. As such, websites have to move with the times.
Your site should be seen as a real-time asset rather than just a website with pages of information on who you are and what you do. Just as you take your car for an annual service, a website requires ongoing maintenance for optimum operation.
A launch and leave approach is not good for your website or business. Web development agencies can and should offer a comprehensive support system, designed to add value and ongoing support to your business.
A retainer allows you to work collaboratively with an agency to plan and prioritise work and implement continuous site improvements. From a commercial point of view, you can control investment in your website throughout the year, directing budget towards activities that provide the biggest payoff.
Taking this iterative approach helps to avoid a costly rebuild earlier than needed, while also giving you the ability to efficiently plan and prioritise future work.
What’s covered in a typical retainer?
Retainers can be used to implement UX improvements, new features and functionality, performance measurements and fixes, new templates and upgrades. It usually includes:
- Allocated days in the production schedule, allowing for timescales and prioritisation
- Work carried out by an account manager or equivalent including:
- A plan of development and design tasks maintained in a shared system - we tend to use JIRA or basecamp
- Regular planning calls to determine the tasks to be executed in the next production slot
Our retainer model usually covers sprints based on a calendar month. This works well for many of our clients including, ￼the Institution of Structural Engineers, Places for People and Newcastle Building Society who each purchase annual development retainers for both one-off projects and larger pieces of support work.
Annual website audit
An annual website audit is an important part of an agency’s support system. Taking an in-depth look into your website’s code, content and functionality, it ensures your website is working efficiently and is always protected. A detailed report of findings and subsequent recommendations can then be created to feed into your support work or retainer plan.
An annual audit is essential for any website, no matter how old or new, to update and maintain it. It also helps prolong the life of your website before needing a rebuild.
What’s included in a typical annual website audit?
You can usually expect an annual website audit to analyse the following areas:
- Technical Site Audit
- Front-end Audit
- Site Performance
- Google Analytics Audit
- Content Audit
- UX Audit
- Site Responsiveness
If you want to find out more about our annual website audit service, aptly named a Website MOT, take a read of our blog.
For more information on our support services and how we can help you get more from your website, get in touch to discuss your business needs with us today.
What our clients say about us:
“We have partnered with NetConstruct for more than six years and they have been fundamental in growing our online presence across Europe. The team is a joy to work with and is always prepared to go the extra mile.”
Joe Wicks, Digital Marketing Manager, Ryobi.