The ongoing support of a web project can pose some challenges for the communication between customer and service provider. Unfortunately, we repeatedly experience problems with reporting errors or requests in the project support, which we cannot understand or understand without time-consuming inquiries.
Of course, some customers naturally lack in-depth internet technical knowledge in order to be able to convey some situations in a completely understandable manner right from the start. Sometimes, however, it is simply the fact that the customer, unlike us, spends most of the day with his own website and overlooks the fact that we may not have viewed the project for weeks or months, and with some can not start with internal terminology.
In the following we would like to name a few points and examples to make communication better. This not only saves support costs, it also leads to a more timely processing of requirements, which should be of particular interest to the customer.
- What exactly is it about?
We experience often enough that the facts of a problem as such are not adequately described. The customer often trusts that we know what is meant. We advise you to always describe more complex issues as an outsider, avoid using internal names if possible and always provide precise information. This is particularly relevant when communication about a project takes place only a few times a year and we are not permanently on the subject of the project and when the web project is complex.
In the following example, just imagine that there may be several searches in the shop that can refer to products or news or downloads and that the shop has multiple languages.
The search in the shop does not work. Please repair.
The filter function of products in the English language version of the product list view at www.beispiel.de/seitentitel/ is currently not displayed on PC or smartphone.
- Where exactly can you see something?
Describe a visual error, please tell us exactly how and where it can be seen. A screenshot always helps a lot, as does the indication of exactly where the respective page (URL address or TYPO3 data record number / ID) can be found within the website.Bad example:
Please always have the information in which web browser, in which web browser version, on which operating system and on which device did you see this optical error?
The distance of the blue teaser box is somehow wrong. Please check.
n the desktop view, the upper distance of the 2nd teaser box in the right column at www.beispiel.de/seitentitel/ is too small and should better correspond to the distance down. See screenshot attached from Firefox 74.0 on Windows 10.
- In what context is it meant?
In many cases the context is forgotten in relation to a fact. For example, an error is mentioned or a request is expressed without clearly indicating the environment in which it is meant. E.g. in the case of web pages based on a content management system such as TYPO3, a problem can relate to the same element in the CMS editorial system or in the output on the website. Please name the context.
The breaks do not fit in the body text.
When editing the text element with ID 123 in the CMS backend, there are too large breaks when I press the Enter key in the text editor.
On the page with the URL: www.beispiel.de/seitentitel/, each break in the frontend is output twice as large as I entered it in the CMS.
- How exactly can something be reproduced?
For example, if there is a malfunction somewhere, we usually need precise steps to reproduce the error situation. Often enough we try to reproduce the error situation without specific information, which we then fail and we cannot understand the error.
If there is an error in an access-protected area, please also directly enter the login with username and password under which the error occurs. Also, don't forget the exact error message if one is visible.Bad example:
The contact form cannot be sent.
If you do not fill out the contact form completely and send it off and then complete it in the redisplay and try to send it again, the error message "message text" appears above the form and the form can no longer be sent. The submit button is now greyed out.
How we organize communication with us:
- Communication channels
We generally prefer written communication. We use the Mantis ticket system in many projects, which we provide for our customers at bugs.aemka.de. A ticket system has the advantages that all processes in the project can be viewed and traced centrally at any time, so that a project status can be seen quickly and the project history is automatically documented. This means that subsequent project participants can also have a better start in the project. In addition, projects can be evaluated so well and no relevant information seeps into inboxes or message services. When you post a ticket in Mantis, you can also enter a priority (high, medium, low, ...), select a category (design, frontend, backend, ...) and determine the type of ticket (errors, Feature request, ...)
We only use email in projects with extremely little communication. Please refrain from communicating via messaging services such as Whatsapp, Skype, ... The large number of available services quickly creates chaos when email and tickets are used in parallel. Information runs crisscross and is quickly lost, especially with messaging services, because you will no longer be in sight a short time later.
Only in extremely critical situations do we see the telephone as a sensible means of communication. For all other topics, we can usually not analyze or fix a complex issue ad hoc on the phone. In addition, phone calls keep us mentally out of current developments.
- Communication times
We are generally available from Monday to Friday during German office hours (09:00 - 17:00 +/- 1h). We are only available in exceptional cases on weekends and public holidays. Vacation times that have an impact on project support will be communicated to you in advance. In very urgent cases, please call us outside of our business hours or speak to our mailbox and we will try to help you as soon as possible.
We support you in German and English.
- Hosting problems
Are there any website availability problems such as Website cannot be reached due to server failure or an expired SSL certificate. You can contact your web host at any time outside of our business hours, who usually has a 24-hour hotline at weekends. We do not operate web hosting ourselves and conclude all web hosting contracts on your behalf with well-known web hosting companies, so that you are the legal owner of the contracts and domains and can use the support of your web host directly and not from our business hours are dependent.
With these tips, we hope to improve project and support communication and to get them on better defined paths. In general, a little more information lowers support costs at the beginning and ensures that requests are processed more quickly.