Due to the fact all websites we produce come with an intuitive, bespoke content management system which allows our customers to update all areas of the website and create additional areas as the site grows, it is rare for customers to need us once the website is complete and has gone live.
We are however always on hand to help out in any way we can and are happy to discuss or offer advice on any website queries our customers may have.
There are times when a customer needs to contact us with examples being the requirement to set up additional email accounts, or if they want to add a feature to their website that is outside the capabilities of their content management system. As an existing customer, requests such as creating additional email accounts are more often carried out immediately. If additional development is required we will either discuss the details over a telephone conversation, or alternatively arrange a mutually convenient meeting in order to go through the requirements in more detail.
Whilst customers may not need to contact us, we do however like to keep in touch with our customers and keep them informed of any new legislation that may affect them, or any new technology that we feel would benefit their website and/or business, and so from time to time will send out information emails.
Customers are also encouraged to keep in contact with us via the numerous social media outlets we use to put out information that we feel may be of interest or relevant to our client database.
Whilst our customers are able to update their websites using their content management systems, for various reasons we do have customers who prefer us to maintain their websites on their behalf, for these customers and for our larger customers, particularly those whose websites or systems are hosted on separate dedicated servers, we offer a retainer service.
A retainer is based on a fixed amount of time and charged monthly in advance. The time allocated is agreed with the customer and based on historical data as to how much time they are likely to require. These timings are regularly monitored and reviewed to ensure the allocation is correct for that customer. A retainer covers requests for small work and server maintenance in the case of those customers with dedicated servers.
We are a busy company and tend to have a minimum of 3 months’ work ahead of us, which can make meeting client expectations for how quickly we can carry out requests for additional work very difficult, particularly when coupled with providing an on-going level of service to large client base. Therefore the main benefit to our customers who have retainers with us is that there is always guaranteed time allocated in our project programme each month to deal with any requests.
The other maintenance option we offer for customers who don’t require a retainer is an hourly rate agreement. This works very much like a retainer in that customer pay for however long the job takes, which is quoted in advance of starting, however without the benefit of allotted time, the work would need to be added to our project programme.
Either way, all of our invoicing is always transparent and broken-down so that the customer knows exactly what they are being charged for.
Most of the websites we design are hosted on one of our own dedicated servers. Whilst these are housed in secure UK data centres, it is our responsibility to monitor them and they do all require a level of maintenance, whether that be updating software versions or security patches, taking daily backups or adding new software packages to run the latest technologies. In most cases the cost of this service is built into the fixed annual hosting fee, however for customers with dedicated servers there are ongoing monthly costs to cover maintenance which can be invoiced separately or form part of as retainer agreement.