Service Matters. Is it Time to Break Up with Your Municipal Web Vendor?

Written by Jessica Marabella

When choosing a new local government website solution provider, best in class technology matters—but so does best in class service support. Especially at a time when local government budgets and staff resources are leaner than ever before, website content managers need the reliability of a service support team that acts as an extension of their department. If you are not getting the support you need from your website solution provider, it may be time for a break up. The kind that starts with you saying, “It’s not me. It’s you.” It may be time to break up with your municipal website vendor if they are not offering the following four mission critical service elements:

1. Consulting. If you are redesigning your website, you have existing content that you need to vet, refine, and migrate to your newly purchased content management system (CMS). If your vendor tells you that it is your responsibility to migrate all your data, page content, and images, they are not enabling you to have a successful, stress free implementation, or a redesigned website that launches on time. You are paying for their solution, which means they need to help you get it up and running to meet your standards. No implementation support means no future for you and that vendor.

2. Account Management. Your community is unique, and you need the support of a dedicated resource who understands your citizen engagement goals and brings knowledge of industry trends and best practices to help you leverage digital solutions to meet those goals. Your needs are important, and you are more than just “the next caller in line.” Make sure you choose a partner who provides you with a strategic resource you can call on to help you amplify your engagement strategy.

 3 . Support. Sometimes, you click the wrong button, forget a step, or simply cannot remember how to perform a task you know you have completed before. In these moments, you need quick conversations with a technical support specialist who can answer your question or help you undo your error. Outsourced technical support or limited access is not acceptable. Make sure you have access to expert support specialists by phone, email, and chat who can help answer your questions. Also, you should expect a reputable solution partner to provide continually developed educational materials, such as how-to-guides, troubleshooting tips, instructional articles, webinars, you get the idea.

4. Training.  What good is a CMS that no one in your office knows how to use? Before your go-live date, your solution partner should be providing training that they customize to the functionality you purchased, the needs of your team, your unique workflows, and your schedule. That means the option to participate in on-site or virtual training. It also means that canned training materials or tutorials performed on a demonstration system (i.e., not your website) will not ensure your team knows how to perform their specific content-related tasks. At the end of a valuable training session, your internal workflows will have improved thanks to collaborative discussions with a trainer able to identify opportunities for your new software solutions to help you do more, with less.

If reading this list of must-have service features has led you to realize your community is being under-served and under-supported, then it is time you took a tour of our CivicEngage® website design and hosting solution for local government. Learn why so many communities like yours are switching to CivicEngage because of our software capabilities but staying because of the service.