Mugo Web main content.

Web development as a service: customer service is as important as code

By: Peter Keung | October 13, 2016 | Business solutions

Many people think web development is mainly about code: code in frameworks, code connecting systems, code in different languages. And it’s true, web development is full of code. But it’s also about much more than code; it’s about serving clients.

What makes your web development team a great partner instead of just "those technical people you have to deal with"? Good communication. A solid understanding of your needs. Digital solutions that meet those needs. All of which, ultimately, amounts to good customer service.

Good web development is a lot like good table service

Whenever you go out for a meal, you expect that your server will tell you about the specials and ask what you would like to drink. If you don't know anything about wine, your server should help you make a choice that complements your meal. If the menu says the burger comes with avocado, your server should warn you if they’re out of avocado (or better yet, they should edit the menu). If you tell them about an allergy to nuts, they’d better warn you if the special sauce contains nuts. You don’t expect to have to remind them three times to bring you a fork.

Bad service can leave a bad taste in your mouth, even if the food is good. And it’s the same thing with web development. You want more than just good code. You want a web development team that responds to your needs, and even anticipates them.

When it comes to web development, you need to be able to trust your development team. You need to know that they are listening to your needs, and more importantly, that they understand your needs. It is their job to translate your needs into code. It’s also their job to inform you when code is not the solution to your needs, or when you’ve envisioned the wrong solution. Your developers should make recommendations based on what they’ve done in the past with other clients and similar projects.

Web developers should never just take your order, work in isolation, and come back with a product that may or may not meet your requirements.

The less people know, the more they yell

Web development can be complex. Time estimates can have large ranges, there are many code dependencies, and there are unforeseen non-technical issues. Delays can happen.

Most clients understand and accept this, especially when it’s presented with a thorough explanation. What clients cannot accept is no explanation or update; when they find out today that yesterday’s deliverable isn’t happening.

Developers usually know mid-way through an eight-hour task if it’s going to need another four hours. They shouldn’t wait to ask for more time. If they’re unsure, they should tell the client that there’s a possibility it will take more time. If they need some key information, such as account credentials, they shouldn’t wait to ask for something that might take the client a couple of days to get. If they think something in the spec might be missing, or the solution doesn’t cover a particular use case, they should warn the client instead of expecting them to discover it in testing (or after the feature or website has gone live).

Web developers need to communicate proactively and often, with good news and especially with bad news.

Customer service is about owning the problem

Have you ever been an unwitting victim of "pass the buck" when dealing with a customer service representative? Department A says it's Department B's fault. Department B says it's Department A's fault.

Pass the buck, Dilbert style 1
Pass the buck, Dilbert style 2

Worst of all, they make you call each department separately, re-explain the issue, and convince them that it’s not your responsibility, it’s theirs.

You don’t want this situation with your website. Whether it’s a simple site, or one with multiple systems -- a CMS connected to a CRM, connected to e-mail marketing software -- you need a partner who understands all of it. If they’re not officially in charge of a particular system, they can still take ownership of the issue and work with third parties or other developers until you have a resolution. You need a partner who is looking out for your business. Someone who asks: "how can I help you?"

We are in the service business

Mugo Web is a web development team, and we are in the service business. Our services includes the code we write, but more importantly, they include our business approach to solving digital problems. Our services are designed to help your business thrive.

Like a good meal, we offer both great code and a high level of service, both essential components of client-focused web development. So, how can we help you?