Support is a Tough Business

Support is a tough business for anyone to be in. When I think about web support and website maintenance, I often compare it to airline customer support. No one calls airline customer support to let them know their ride was smooth, on time and simply a great value. Support is typically there for when something goes wrong and website maintenance is no exception. Just as if you were caught in Denver as a massive snow storm rolls in and all flights are grounded, when your Website is not performing as it should, you need someone there to support you. You need someone to react, take your situation seriously and resolve your issue as soon as possible.

So what Does this have to do with website maintenance?

Keeping with the airline analogy, have you noticed that airlines rarely make client support a part of their marketing pitch? Why? Because that would require them to admit that things go wrong, that you might not make it to your destination on time or your luggage might take a detour through Detroit. The same situation exists with Web development.

Design and development agencies typically provide website maintenance to their clients post launch but it is never much more than a bullet point during the sales pitch. Why? Same deal. Beyond general maintenance such as security patches etc, no one one wants to admit that there might be a problem down the line. Web firms many times use support as a way to ensure their clients that they will not abandon them post launch or as a way to hold onto them long term. However, just like the airlines their core business is not support. Airlines make money when they sell tickets, Web firms make their money when they sell web sites. Support even when billable is typically not a profit center and is not given the same resources.

I don’t mean to bash Web firms (airline support is another issue), in fact I have run two development firms and support has always been a challenge from both a customer service and business perspective. FatLab was designed to address these issues. Website maintenance is serious business and we wanted to provide a solution to organizations who are looking for someone to make their support needs a priority. It is our hope that development and design firms will not see us as competition but rather a resource. Support is priority and it is our mission to change what people expect when they call for support.

photo by marc falardeau / cc