It’s been a long haul, but your app, website, or other digital product is complete. Now that it’s finished, you can thank your tech development team for a job-well-done and move on to other projects, right? Not so fast. When your digital product goes live, there’s still all of the day-to-day issues and modifications to handle. Do you know how to do it all? Do you know what “it all” is? Even if you do, do you have time? If the answer is no, then you should seriously consider signing an ongoing support contract with your technology partner.
What is an Ongoing Support Contract?
An ongoing support contract — also known as a support retainer — is a contract that guarantees a specific number of hours devoted to supporting, maintaining, monitoring, and improving your tech product. Every contract is customized to meet the needs of the client and reflect how the technology partner can reach them. Typically, all standard maintenance, modifications, and emergency support are covered under the contract so you won’t have to worry about finding someone in a pinch.
In general, ongoing support contracts cover four types of maintenance: corrective, adaptive, preventive, and perfective. Corrective maintenance refers to fixing things that aren’t working correctly. This includes things like bug fixes or resolving other glitches. Adaptive maintenance allows your digital product to change with external hardware and software upgrades or changes. Technology changes all the time and your app, website, or other digital product needs to keep up. Preventative maintenance strives to resolve potential issues before they arise and perfective maintenance upgrades your app or website so that it’s always in the best shape it can be.
What are the Benefits of a Support Retainer?
Financial savings (and better ROI)
The reality of any tech product is that it requires regular maintenance to stay relevant and functional. Without a support retainer, maintenance costs quickly add up. Most companies will give clients on retainer a better hourly rate and won’t have to waste time familiarizing (or re-familiarizing) themselves with your company and product.
Fixed cost means easier budgeting
If you know that you spend a given amount every month (or year) on maintenance and upgrades, there won’t be any surprises down the road when you need to find money to do three years-worth of repairs. Plus, it simplifies the approval process in larger organizations.
With every new operating system update and hardware change, performance can take a hit. Your tech partner will already know about these changes and may have even dealt with it by the time you realize it could be an issue.
You know your business because you’re in it every day. Your tech partner knows your business because they’ve worked with you for months or years. With a support retainer, you don’t have to wonder if you’ll be happy with the results; you trust your technology partner to be the experts you hired them to be.
Even if you know how to do all of the maintenance yourself, is that the best use of your time? With an ongoing support contract, you can spend your time working on growing your business and exciting your customers in the ways only you can do. Your tech partner can handle the day-to-day maintenance and polishing of your digital presence.
Just because someone else is handling the reins, doesn’t mean that you’re not in control. With expert analytics and regular reports, you’ll probably know more about how your business is doing, who your customers are, and what they like and dislike than ever before. Your technology partner can even make recommendations for how to grow your business or strategies that aren’t working. Some tech partners (like Iversoft) are also able to provide thorough research on SEO, target market, and more through an in-house digital marketing team.
Creative direction & design work
Need a new page for your website? Maybe you have some new content that needs to match your branding. A “full-stack” tech partner can do that for you. From building a new app section to making it beautiful and user-friendly, it’s all part of the package.
Trust & Communication
A one-time purchase of services is a business transaction; a retainer is a relationship. When you have a relationship with your technology partner, you can express your concerns, share your excitement, and grow your vision together. With ongoing, open communication, you can relax, knowing that you have a dedicated team at your disposal.
What Are Some Potential Concerns?
Not using all of your monthly time
Some companies roll over time from one period to the next. However, open and honest communication about your needs and goals can better shape the contract and results to suit your business.
Not knowing how your time & money are spent
The agency on retainer should be transparent about how they spend their time (and your money). If they aren’t, don’t work with them. You can request detailed breakdowns of dedicated time for each month. If you’re not happy with what you’re getting, talk to your tech partner. Communication is vital in any relationship.
When it comes to digital maintenance, your best bet is to have an ongoing support contract (support retainer) with a technology partner that you trust. It’ll save you money and time, help you grow your business using analytics, and give your customers the best possible experience.
As a full-stack development and digital agency, we can offer you all of this, plus access to our digital marketing and design teams. Contact us for more information on how we can help you reach your goals.