In previous articles we have highlighted good cooperation between your store and an e-commerce agency many times. Today we will focus on the agency’s responsibilities towards your store. You will learn what information you should require from an agency as a part of your cooperation.
How does a good e-commerce agency cooperate with its clients?
Modern business is less and less about finding one-time clients. Now they are looking for companies with which they can enter into long-term cooperation and build amazing things. This trend is also present in the Internet industry. Today e-commerce agencies are not interested in simple, one-time orders. They want to establish stable relations providing not only a wide range of services, but also knowledge and experience. All this to make your store grow even faster. However, each cooperation is based on certain assumptions. We have already devoted one of our blog entries to these communication-related ones ( you should definitely read: E-commerce agency – how to talk to achieve goals together?). Today’s article will expand on this topic. We will describe what information you should require from the e-commerce agency you work with.
What information does a good e-commerce agency provide for clients?
Building a good business relationship requires the active participation of both parties. You, as a representative of the online store, and the project manager on behalf of the e-commerce agency need to work in harmony, towards previously established goals. To make this path as easy as possible, you should know what information to expect from the agency. Below we have prepared a list based on our own experience.
Extended deadline information
Deadline is crucial but no plan of operations (as Marshal von Moltke used to say) reaches with any certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main force. Sometimes certain tasks are not delivered on time for many different reasons. It is the duty of the e-commerce agency to inform you about this as soon as possible. The agency should also give you a new, viable deadline for completing the tasks.
Information about extended estimation
Estimation from Latin means ‘valuation’, i.e. to give a probable value based on e.g. experience or market factors. It means that this value is not always consistent with the actual state. In case of cooperation between an online store and an e-commerce agency, the time of complex execution of a given task is estimated (given in man-hours). It is an activity performed between receiving task details from you and starting work on its execution. Problems with improper estimation include both time and budgets allocated to perform specific work. For this reason it is the agency’s Project Manager’s responsibility to provide you with all the information about overestimation as soon as there is a risk of such a situation.
Exceeding the hourly package in a maintenance agreement
Technical support is one of the most important services that an e-commerce agency provides for online stores. Under a maintenance contract, you agree to perform specific maintenance and development work within a specific hourly package. Therefore, it may happen that the number of tasks commissioned by you, after time estimation, exceeds the number of hours written in the contract. A good e-commerce agency in such a case will contact you and propose a solution (e.g. moving some work to the following months or offering additional hourly packages).
Summary of arrangements from project meetings
When discussing the various tasks you outsource to an e-commerce agency, you want to make sure you’re well understood. In this regard, please read one of our previous articles (Article: Cooperation with e-commerce agency – how to delegate tasks well?). A well-described task is half of the success, the other half is discussing your requirements with the PM. After such a meeting, a good e-commerce agency sends an email summarizing all the agreed issues. This allows you to double-check that you’ve been properly understood, and also to have a “written” confirmation of all the agreements made during the discussion.
Reports on implemented implementations/updates /tests
The goal of an e-commerce agency is to make your online store run steadily and also follow the best trends in online sales. For this purpose, the agency should send you detailed reports on all work undertaken on both the test version of the store and the production version. Reports on implementations, code updates, bug fixes or tests are documents that you should require in cooperation. It will provide you with access to current information regarding all activities undertaken by the agency in your business.
The communication with an e-commerce agency should be transparent
The exchange of information allows you to be up to date in every aspect of cooperation. Therefore, good communication becomes a key element to the full satisfaction of both parties. Communication, I should say, conducted by both sides. If you, as a store representative, will clearly formulate your expectations and the e-commerce agency will regularly send information about the progress of work – you can be sure that together you will create something really great. For the benefit of your customers, of course.