Despite all of the innovations in our industry, retailers doing serious business online expect and need adequate support to protect day-to-day business operations. This protection ensures maximum uptime and allows retailers to respond rapidly to any problematic issues that pose risk for the business. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, and have worked with our Magento retailers to develop an innovative and comprehensive emergency support program. This program was built to ensure that our clients receive the quickest and most effective service when issues arise, while also allowing us the flexibility to handle multiple emergencies.
Keep the price fixed.
Before we get into it, we like to remind people that we don’t bill any of our services hourly. Instead of competing with other clients for hours each month, we work with you to design a custom support plan that includes features like emergency support, Magento security patches, account management, and more, all at a fixed price. The reason for such a distinction between hourly and fixed is that it allows us to provide the support needed without massive billing spikes, which dramatically reduces risk while also providing cost certainty.
In our fixed price model, we are incentivized to do everything we can to minimize future emergencies by building a stable system because, in the event of a major emergency, we degrade our profit margin. But more importantly, this model creates the transparency needed to build strong, mutually beneficial relationships.
Now that I’ve shed some light on our model, I want to illustrate the process we use to address emergency issues as they arise in Magento 2.
You cannot plan an emergency.
A major challenge that led to the development of this new support model was our ability to effectively create capacity each week for emergency issues. By nature, it is impossible to plan for emergencies, but they do need to be addressed immediately. Working in a fixed price model helps to build a better foundation by avoiding some inevitable outcomes caused by the hourly billing model.
In creating our fixed price agreements, we use our understanding of each client and their needs to roughly pre-book a small amount of time each month for potential emergency work. We work hard to book to 80% capacity to allow the necessary margin for some emergency support work. Of course, many hourly agencies replicate this practice, but when you combine this with the earlier benefits, it creates an environment that allows our team to move more quickly and effectively when an emergency does arise.
What is an emergency?
Ultimately there are many issues that can arise on a daily basis. Some have a low impact on your business, others high, but defining the “critical” is imperative to providing the best support. To be considered an emergency or critical, an issue must meet certain criteria using a classification system that ranks issues by examining their impact and urgency.
Here’s how we do it:
We evaluate and classify each issue by examining and rating the impact and urgency of each issue using very detailed and specific criteria:
- Issue is assigned a rating of High, Medium, or Low for both impact and urgency.
- Issues with high impact and high urgency are considered an emergency and are immediately remediated.
- Issues with high impact and medium urgency, or medium impact and high urgency, will often also be included, but not always.
You might be asking, “why not simply list the issues that are included in your emergency support agreements, wouldn’t that be simpler?”
We gave this a try and quickly discovered that trying to reduce all emergency issues into a simple list was too restrictive for the types of real-world emergencies we were encountering.
We needed a better system, so we looked for inspiration elsewhere. This framework for evaluating each incoming issue based on the details came from researching first responder units and IT teams. By accounting for varying degrees of impact or urgency, our new approach is much more flexible, allowing us to respond to the emergency issues which matter most to you, the client.
Gauge’s Emergency Support Process:
So we’ve explained the model and figured out how to define emergencies. Now here’s how Gauge steps it up with our Emergency Support:
Step 1: Investigation & Classification
We carefully investigate and classify each issue together before beginning development work. This gives you the chance to make business decisions based on the value of specific needs to your organization.
When any critical issue is raised, whether it’s through automated monitoring tools, recognized by our team, or forwarded by yours, our first step is to investigate the issue. This process is lead by your account manager, who involves a developer as needed, in order to make sure we fully understand the problem you are having.
This transparency and clarity builds trust and reduces your risk, which grows and strengthens our business relationship.
Step 2: Remediation
In a true emergency, sometimes the goal is to quickly stop the bleeding. This is why we include remediation as the first step. If a quick, temporary fix can be made, then we move to do that immediately. As we apply the remedy, your account manager continues to communicate clearly through the entire process. After the healing has started, we begin to evaluate a long-term resolution for the issue.
Step 3: Resolution
Once the impact and urgency of an issue have been lessened by the remediation, we then work to evaluate what the long-term resolution of the issue needs to be. Sometimes this requires significant work and deeper investigation. If we aren’t able to resolve an issue during the remediation phase, many times we scope and price a separate project to implement a more permanent and robust repair.
Step 4: Root Cause Analysis Report
Once remediation has been accomplished and resolution is underway, we work to produce a root cause analysis report. This breaks down all the information about the emergency, from what happened to when and why? This ensures you can communicate the necessary details to your team about what has been done to fix the issue so you can minimize the likelihood of it happening again.
Looking For Support?
We know you have questions about Magento support or any other emergency support issues? Send us a message and we will get you started!
Support breeds success.
For us, it’s about creating more transparency up-front, while still allowing us to respond immediately to true emergencies when you need it most. Instead of spawning frustration when you get the bill, you have clarity at the time of the emergency, and we can work together to make smart decisions about how to best move forward.
Ultimately, we believe this process creates much more trust in our business relationships. We believe without trust, we have nothing. That is why every system and process we build at Gauge is designed to intelligently build trust, and grow our relationship throughout the eCommerce journey.