Website done, what's next? Organization of a web studio support service
Very often when ordering a site, customers choose a company (or freelancer) only in terms of price / quality ratio. At the same time, they do not pay attention to such an important parameter as further support. Although it is fast, professional and inexpensive support that is most often the key to the success of a site and customer satisfaction.
What happens when there is no dedicated support service? The client is waiting for an answer, waiting for improvements - but at least some kind of reaction! - and does not receive it at the expected time with the expected quality. Then the client is looking for other options.
He turns to one studio, then to another. Everywhere he was denied the support of the previous site. And they propose to create a new, more sophisticated, better than the former ...
But the originally created site fully met the needs of the client. Just with the growth of needs, the site needs to be developed and modified. For these purposes, there is technical support where the client can ask for help, consult or order improvements to the site.
Web Studio Support
We are developing inexpensive standard sites. Not stereotyped in the generally accepted sense of the word, but standard ones — individual solutions based on a standard technical model. Every month we release in free swimming more than 35 sites. Now the portfolio has more than 500 projects, and every month their number is growing. Accordingly, the calculation is the number of requests for technical support, which must be worked out efficiently and in a timely manner. How is our support team arranged?
Technical support solves the following tasks:
- initial training of clients to work with the management system;
- customer consultation on working with the content management system after the completion of the project;
- reception of functional improvements to sites (coordination of the scope of work, clarification of details of improvements to sites, task setting);
- work on content support of the site (filling sites, posting news, writing texts);
- control over sites hosted on the hosting server of partners.
The stability of our technical support is based on:
- hourly work on tasks,
- application of the ticket system to record support service calls,
- a clear schedule of work and the application of the system of setting goals,
- simplified electronic document management.
But first things first.
We work with all clients on tasks on support "by the hour."
What does the work by the clock look like:
- The client sends information for posting on the site or wishes for improvements to the functional.
- Details of improvements are discussed with the client, a preliminary assessment of the task is done in hours.
- After agreeing all the details, the task is put to work.
- The task is completed and the client is informed of the results.
- At the end of the month, the client is billed taking into account the time worked for all of his tasks.
At the conclusion of the contract, we additionally draw up an application in which there is a list of specialists and the cost of their services. At the moment, the cost of an hour of work is the same for all specialists.
If the task is non-standard and it is clear that it will take a lot of time, we first make an assessment of the work on the task and coordinate their scope with the customer. At the same time, we warn that this is an approximate time for the task to be completed, and the real indicator may differ both up and down.
All our customers are used to such a scheme. It is convenient for both us and customers. We know for sure that we will not fail with the assessment of the problem. It is convenient for customers that their tasks immediately get to work, without waiting for the payment to arrive. Thus, many have given us their sites in full charge, periodically sending us information that needs to be posted on the sites.
When the flow of orders was not so large, one person handled the analysis of letters of support. With the growth of production volumes, we realized that the number of requests will grow and one person simply will not be able to cope with such a load.
It was necessary to implement a system of accounting for customer requests in support. The system had to satisfy the following requirements:
- preservation of the entire history of correspondence with customers on all requests for support;
- interchangeability of technical support specialists - the possibility of replacing the manager who worked with the client (in case someone fell ill or went on vacation);
- simultaneous work of several users in the system with different applications;
- web interface;
- the ability to deploy the system on your own server;
- the ability to customize the system for yourself;
- free of charge.
As a result, our choice fell on the OTRS (Open-source Ticket Request System) system. This is a free open-source system that has Russification, a large instruction with a description and configuration settings in Russian.
The company Mail.ru uses the same product. You can read about organizing a support service in Mail.ru in this article .
You can familiarize yourself with the demo access to the system at otrs.com .
We had no problems with the deployment and installation of the system. The only thing is, the letters did not want to be sent to Mail.ru mailboxes for the first week, but everything was decided by setting up sending letters via SMTP Google.
The system has a number of templates for quick answers, which reduces the time to prepare a standard response to the client.
There are several channels for receiving technical support requests:
- application by e-mail;
- phone call;
- request in the messenger (Skype, ICQ).
We fix all tasks coming from clients in OTRS. Applications sent to e-mail support services by e-mail automatically get into OTRS (every 10 minutes they are automatically taken from the mailbox).
By telephone or messenger, we mainly try to give the client only consultations or quick answers to questions.
If a client addresses with any modifications by phone or messenger, we ask him to necessarily duplicate his application in writing to an electronic mailbox so that he can better formulate his requirements or wishes.
Confirmation of receipt of the application, consideration and coordination of the volume and cost of work occurs:
- on the same day, if the task arrived before 12:00 of the current day;
- the next business day until 12:00 if the task arrived after 12:00 of the current day.
If the sent letter contains all the necessary information for setting the task, then:
- the task is set to work through Redmine;
- the ticket number is added to the task description (for example, Ticket # 2011120910000047);
- a letter is sent to the client stating that the task has been set to work;
- the application receives the status “Closed successfully”;
- after the task is completed, the ticket number is searched in the archives, and a notification about the successful completion of the task is sent to the client.
When you start working with the application, it is “blocked” (that is, assigned to the manager who started working with it) so that another manager does not happen to work with the same application at the same time. After the application has been answered, it is closed so as not to hang in the list of applications. If necessary, it can be easily found using the advanced full-text search.
Following a clear work schedule makes it easy to introduce new employees to support or replace them.
Electronic document management
We are billing electronically. At the end of the month, Redmine makes a selection of projects for which work was carried out to support the site, and summarizes the time spent on tasks, projects, and clients.
Based on the hours worked, an invoice is issued. Invoices are sent to customers by e-mail in the form of a link, by clicking on which, the client can open an account in any browser and print it.
Studio support should solve two problems:
- First and foremost is customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- The second task is to extract additional profit.
Thanks to the reorganization of the support system, we were able to bring support to our customers to a high level. Regardless of how long they made the site - a month ago or 3 years ago - they can always contact us, and we will help them or give advice.
Sincerely, Oleg Demyanov and the web-canape.ru team