How We're Different With Our Clients
At Trail 9, we have a great time working with our clients. It's when our clients are happy with our work that we're most satisfied, and so we pride ourselves on really listening to their requests and opinions at every part of the development process. We make sure to understand their business goals from the very beginning, so that we always offer them the best solutions. And, we always focus on giving them convenience and flexibility throughout the length of the project.
In this post, we'll be talking about both the big and little things that make us DIFFERENT with our clients!
Project Prototypes and Training
Usually, our first step for any project is to make a prototype for the client, so that they can get a visual picture of what the final result will look like, and so they can begin to interact with the system. Often, it's tough for clients to visualize what they're looking for right off the bat, but a prototype gives them an immediate picture, and they can better explain what they want with that visual in mind. Then, they can decide early on in the process if they want anything different, like more customization, more simplicity, or a different product altogether, or if they're happy with how the project is going so far. If they do want changes, we can make the adjustments quick and early, optimizing the client's budget, rather than waiting until the project is finished.
Project prototypes also work well as informal training for our clients, so they can start learning how to use their new systems gradually. It gives them more time to learn the systems' terminology and how to navigate through them, instead of waiting to learn everything in the week before the project goes live. This helps our clients feel more comfortable with using their systems when the time comes and less intimidated by them.
Brainstorming Best Solutions
New Goals Always Welcome!
Because we meet with our clients throughout the life of a project, updating them on what the system is looking like and how it functions, there are sometimes potential additions they're curious about that come up along the way. A client may start off with wanting a basic informative website for their business, but midway through the project, they realize that they really want the website to increase their weekly leads. Whatever goals come up, we're always happy to brainstorm the best, most efficient, and most cost-effective ways to accomplish them.
So, if a company wants a simple informative website, then we’ll be happy to give them just that. But, if they want to leverage their website in a more specific way, focusing on capturing leads or driving more revenue, then we make sure to listen and discuss potential solutions with them, whether it’s a simple modification, like adding a chatbox to the website, or a whole new functionality, like creating an ecommerce portal within the system.
Example: Small Change, Huge Results
This very situation happened with a client of ours, International Magnaproducts Incorporated (IMI). They knew that they wanted to increase their weekly leads with their website, and they knew that they wanted technical people to contact them, but they weren’t sure how to make it all happen. After brainstorming about the best solution, we suggested adding a chatbox to their website. It was a small addition and a very cost-effective solution, and it really paid off for them! Now, IMI gets three leads a week thanks to that little extra chatbox. It gives their website visitors a clear and simple avenue with which to contact them.
If a client wants a lot of options for their project, then that’s what we give them. Other times, a client has a single idea, and we brainstorm the best way to make it happen. If it ends up being a time-consuming solution, then we're always sure to give them a second option. If they’re looking for a big, complex functionality, then we’re always happy to give it to them, but we also check to make sure it makes sense to do with their project. If there's another option they might not know about that would work just as well and is more beneficial to their budget, then we let them know about it.
Making It Easy and Helpful
A few of our clients have more than one blog on their website, so that they can focus on different target audiences at the same time and increase their overall SEO. To make it convenient for them to manage that, we set up their websites with some automation in place, so they can use the same interface no matter what blog they’re writing for. Depending on where they want the post to be, they select a corresponding category as they write it, and it automatically sends the post to the right place.
One of our more complex and customized long-term projects at the moment is an automation project, where we’re automating part of our client’s business workflow. The project started simple in scope and functionality, and we’ve gradually been adding more enhancements and automation over the past few months. With each new addition, we’re taking more human error out of the equation and speeding up their processes, so they can increase their productivity and revenue with their boosted volume.
With their system newly automated, they’re eliminating two or three humans per job-- all they need to do is click a couple of buttons. With that, there’s no typing, no errors, and they can see the status of what’s happening in their system anytime. So, when a client calls them to check an order, all they need to do is log into their centralized system to see the order's status. Before, everything was based on individual emails for them, but now it’s a lot more efficient, which is what they were looking for.
Offering Flexible Budgeting
When working with a client on a new project, we usually start by defining the project’s scope, which gives them an idea of what the cost will be for their requested services. The project scope is often loosely defined so that the client has the option to change what they want as the project moves forward.
We’re always open to flexible payment plans and schedules. Higher-budgeted projects are usually spanned over a period of time, making it so there isn't a lump sum due at any point. We want to make it easier for our clients to build what they want to build, and that calls for flexibility.
And, if someone needs development work, but they don't want to pay for a developer at the time, then we can work with them to create a lower-cost maintenance agreement. This way, we can at least get what they have up-to-date and working for a smaller fee.
We're always happy to offer any extra technical help that a client needs, whether we perform the services ourselves or we help research the best option for them to use.
When it comes to website hosting, we do offer Trail 9 hosting services, but we also offer to find the correct hosting provider for the client's needs, if they want to go with something different.
In addition to hosting, we try to offer every other online aspect of a project the client might need, whether it's security and maintenance, additional functionality, or online marketing help. With all of our services, we're able to do a growth driven design approach if the client prefers it, so that we start off small and gradually get more robust as their online presence picks up speed. For example, we can offer basic hosting services until the website starts generating more traffic and needs more resources. Then, we can improve the client's hosting environment.