If you are an online merchant operating a Magento store, you’re more likely to have experienced the following scenarios –
– You worked with an agency for developing your store
– And, then moved on to a separate Magneto agency for handling your day to day development services
Some of you may argue that it might not necessarily happen and we do agree with you. However, this seems to be the majority of the scenarios wherein there’s a separate agency responsible for developing a Magento store and then, a separate or in-house Magento team for handling the operations.
Nowadays, there’s plenty of content available on topics like selecting an ideal partner for your eCommerce store, an essential checklist before signing any partner, and how to ensure that the delivery matches the expectation.
In this article, we address the key criteria before you sign on a new agency for your support needs. To shed some light on the same, we need to first understand how a Magento Partner agency functions.
Before we dive into factors that play a pivotal role in selecting the ideal partner, let us first understand the ideal team structure or composition of Magento Partner agency.
Majorly, all the Magento Partner Agencies have 2 kinds of teams in their workforce –
This is a team which pre-plans and freezes the scope of the entire Magento development process and its related.
This team might have Business Analysts, Magento Developers, UI/UX Designers, Team Lead, Project Manager, QA, and DevOps.
There are a fixed timeline and clear delivery expectations from this team in terms of the final project. This is the team that builds a new project or a webstore.
Although this team is structured on the same lines in terms of composition, it would either work on –
(a) dedicated hiring model wherein a merchant manages the tasks assigned to the resource who is hired in a dedicated model by him, part-time or full-time.
(b) time and material model which uses an hour-based format wherein a certain number of hours are purchased by the merchants.
The Managed Support Team always works on short-term or long-term goals and executes mundane tasks aimed at making sure that the webstore is functioning properly.
As discussed before, two cases might happen. In the first case, you might work with different Magento agencies for development and then, for managed support.
On the other hand, let’s assume that you have signed up with the managed support team of the same agency after your initial implementation. Now, you are working with them for your day to day Magento Support also.
However, it does not turn out to be as good as the previous engagement that you had with the same agencies fixed cost team. Thus, you would want to change to a new partner who is equipped with better support capabilities.
In that condition, let’s look at the key facets that you need to evaluate before changing your Managed Support Partner. We have broadly bifurcated them into 5 areas that can help you zoom into the right partner for your support needs.
Firstly, you need to ascertain what is the approach that your prospective partner has – is it a reactive or a proactive approach?
You can find this out by introspecting a few simple questions – do they wait from your end to define something which would take your brand higher or are they proactive in putting valuable suggestions that can potentially have a positive impact on your brand?
This is very vital as it determines and enables future growth for your brand and gets more brains on board who think inline to growing your brand.
To understand what is the underlying approach an agency has, you can prick them with questions such as
– “What is your approach during a Managed Support engagement?”
– “How has the association of other merchants in the past helped their brand grow?
The answer to these questions would help you gauge if they wait or initiate a positive change. If you don’t find words like “we recommended”, “suggested” being used quite often in response to the above question, it indirectly means that they are not proactive.
Critical support is a very vital piece of the puzzle that can change the game for you. If the agency that is working for you to provide critical support knows what they are doing, then any kind of downtime can be majorly avoided.
This indirectly affects your bottom line and drastically helps improve your customer satisfaction. While you are choosing an agency for your support needs, you need to make sure that they have set protocols, the definition of critical support, and a mechanism to address the same.
Defining what is L1, L2, L3 support needs and addressing time for the same is very essential. Ideally, you should have all of these mentioned in the Agreement which you would be signing so your business interest is completely safeguarded.
It would be an icing on the cake if the agency is ready to provide critical support contact numbers and an escalation matrix so that you know who to get in touch as the second point of contact if the first response is null.
There are some agencies out there who provide support on a ticketing basis. While doing the same for non-important aspects of support is okay, but having a ticketing system is not a good idea for major things in the development planner.
You need an agency which has a planner as per the eventual business goal that your store has and who is also able to put in valuable suggestions from their end.
Moreover, it’s also advisable to clearly define the communication medium, in terms of the following –
– What tools are going to be used?
– Is it going to be slack, skype or any other?
– How often do you and the assigned resource or the team are going to interact?
Committing a huge number of hours with an initial contract isn’t a bright idea when it comes to selecting your next Magento Partner for ongoing support.
There are mechanisms that you can avail to test waters and find out how the prospect agency provides support and if they can take care of your Magento needs. You can ideally ask them to provide a trial-based support hour format ( let’s say – a month or two).
You can also define a small task and ask them to quote for executing that task. Once the task has been executed and you have experienced the overall deliverables from the agency, then you would have an ideal time to go ahead and sign a prolonged contract.
In terms of billing, a quarterly model would be ideal for a time and material engagement wherein you pay the fixed number of hours that are consumed during that quarter and then the entire agreement depending on the tenure. For a dedicated hiring model, the payment terms are always on an advance model.
Last but not the least, this would eventually help you understand the quality the agency is going to bring in. On the upfront, every partner would look ideal.
It’s only while exploring their real potential on ground credentials would realize how equipped they are to provide you unwinding support.
Few specific mile markers from a credential point of view would be the partnership level, their overall strength, the award and year of the award provided by Magento, the reason the award was provided.
This would help you understand the relevance of that agency in Magento which can help you get the best agency onboard.
The other aspect would be to look for support specific testimonials. This can be from the firms who they are serving currently.
You must try to understand why these other firms are with the agency and the best-case scenario would be wherein a global brand working with them for ongoing support provides a solid testimonial.
This would affirm that the said agency can provide world-class Magento support.
So, this sums up our recommendation on how you should look out for your ideal Magento partner. Though the above points might not touch certain areas, we are sure that if you walk through them while evaluating an agency, you would be able to find one of the best Magento partners who can provide you with the best support for your needs.
To make this journey even shorter, you can evaluate Ranosys Technologies, a Magento partner recognized by Magento for flawless delivery in 2020. Also, do explore our game-changing Magento Support Packages here!