For nearly two years, Fastspot has been offering service retainers as a way of staying engaged with our clients in the long term—not just in a support or maintenance capacity, but as a strategic partner and collaborator. We offer this as an up-front bundle of hours to be used over a 12-month term for ANY service at a discount on our normal blended agency hourly.
Nothing on the web is ever truly finished, so we don’t consider our relationship with our clients and their projects “over” just because we’ve launched a new web presence. Websites are living entities in an ever-changing technological landscape, and we’d be remiss not to offer our guidance beyond launch day—not because we need to, but because we truly want to.
Creating engaging, well-crafted, usable products is our passion. We have ideas about our clients’ projects, and we want to help them find the best solutions for theirs. Providing services on retainer is just a way for us to do that without getting hung up in contractual issues every time a good idea comes up.
The Zen of Common Knowledge
As part of our service retainer plans, clients are given access to a password protected portal powered by Zendesk via which they can post and track tickets for all requests and problems.
Zendesk is monitored by a team of people at Fastspot, so there’s less concern that only one person (who may or may not be available) is seeing your issue. This also allows us to compile and search an archive of all of the activity across a website whenever needed, which results in the ability for anyone at Fastspot to gain instant historic knowledge of a project. Before this, our project managers were the keepers of this information within their own hoarded email or tucked away in the recesses of their ever-expanding memories.
Retainers also allow us to understand just how many clients we’re working with at any given point, and make it possible to anticipate the ebb and flow of work and manage our production schedule accordingly. With the estimates of the past, we had no way to anticipate the workflow, making our production schedule either jammed in order to accommodate a quick request or making our clients unhappy with weeks of wait time to start a project.
Planning for the Future
On the client side, budget planning for yearly web/marketing initiatives becomes possible. Clients know what they’re committing to up front for the year, and can plan accordingly. Our project managers also provide progress reports along the way to let clients know if their usage is on pace for the year. We alert those who need to prioritize requests to make it through without any overages, and also suggest ways to maximize usage through improvements and enhancements if a client is running up on a glut of time toward the end of the term.
We spend a lot less time worrying about the minutia of cost, and a lot more time immediately getting to work.
The Fastspot team doesn’t just execute, but we can also make sure the plan for execution makes sense; we make suggestions and generally make logical connections as to the “whys” and not the “hows” of our clients’ day to day needs. When we're truly doing our jobs, we're thinking critically, solving problems, and being helpful.
As a result, we remain more connected to the work we’ve produced, and can even proactively suggest where there’s more room for improvement.
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