Working with a company that isn’t meeting your expectations can be extremely difficult. When you are paying good money to have someone maintain or build your website, you expect the highest quality service that they can offer. This is an understandable and realistic expectation, but what exactly constitutes quality service? Here are 5 things you should expect of a professional web development firm:
Expect Prompt Responses
You should expect your web firm to give you a prompt response to any inquiry. If you have a question, want to discuss a new project, or your web server is on fire, your firm’s initial response should be prompt. You shouldn’t be left wondering all day whether or not your request was received, even if the fix won't be immediate. If your concern is of a more routine nature and there is a delay because of an emergency with another one of the firm’s partners, this is actually good sign.This means that they are good at prioritizing, which should be your second expectation.
Expect Issue Prioritization
Web design firms typically deal with a large number of websites. At any given time, they are dealing with a range of issues from serious (server is on fire) and requiring immediate attention to routine updates and maintenance. Having a firm that can prioritize properly is important, as is understanding that process. Sometimes less critical issues may take a little longer to handle. The trade-off is that when you have an emergency, you can expect that it will be handled quickly and with as little interruption to your daily business as possible.
Expect Developers to Take Their Time
We all like an easy fix. But, that isn’t always possible. When it comes to your website, you don’t necessarily want the fastest solution-- you want the right solution. Consider it a benefit if the developers require some extra time to research and develop your product or turnaround a request. A quality firm and developer will spend the time necessary to ensure the best possible result. Unlike vendors who put a product in a box and ship it out, everything your web developer does is custom made just for you.
Expect to Have Questions Answered
Expect your web design firm to provide answers to your questions. You should never hear “we can’t do that”, “that’s not a good idea”, “you have to do it this way instead”, or anything similar without hearing a good explanation of why. Changing the scope of a project is bound to affect the budget and timeline. Having frequent and thorough discussions about this helps keep you informed and the firm making sure that it is delivering what you want. If you do run into technological limitations, budget or other issues, a professional firm will dialogue with you until you reach a workable solution that you fully understand.
Expect Reasonable After Hours Service
Most web development firms operate on a standard workday schedule. Generally, though, someone is available after hours for emergencies. But, like any other professional service (anything from lawyers, doctors, electricians/plumbers), it may take a little longer for someone to respond to a request late in the evening or over a weekend. If a developer is away from their computer, there will be extra time involved for them to potentially rearrange their plans and get back home. With professional services and emergency after hours calls, it is also reasonable to expect that their may be an extra charge associated with after hours work. Understanding this and having some patience- even with weekend emergency- can go a long way towards maintaining a healthy client/agency relationship.
Whether it’s your first time working with web professional or you have years of experience, having reasonable expectations is vital to the relationship and success of your web project. A basic understanding of these five expectations can head off any serious misunderstandings that could result in an inferior project outcome, a soured relationship, and/or a negative experience for all involved.