It is important to take in consideration many aspects of your e-commerce business when you’re selecting a Magento maintenance and support partner.   We work with over 300 Magento retailers in the past eight years and have built a Magento practice to provide the perfect combination of marketing, creative and technology expertise ensuring the work we perform increases your sales and grows the profitability of your business. It’s important to find a Magento maintenance partner that has a breadth of service offerings but also deep expertise in all areas of e-commerce not just Magento. It Is also important that your partner understands Magento best practices to ensure your site remains stable and scalable as your business grows.   Below we have created a list of several questions should taken a consideration when hiring your next magenta maintenance partner.

 

  1. How many Magento certified developers does the company have?  Answer: Accelerate has over 10 Magento certified developers on staff.
  2. How many Magento websites have they worked on?  Answer: Accelerate has worked on over 300 Magento websites
  3. How many full Magento builds have they built from scratch?  Answer: Accelerate builds and deploys over 30 websites a year.
  4. How many integrations has the agency completed successfully?  Answer: Accelerate builds and deploys over 45 full integrations per year.  Including CRM, ERP, point-of-sale, payment processing and 3PL (Third Party Logistics) warehouse.
  5. How many reference-able clients can the agency you’re interviewing provide you?  Answer: Accelerate has a 97% client retention rate and is happy to provide references for any of our clients.  No agency is perfect but we believe in transparency and excellence and live by that word.
  6. How many case studies do they have?   It’s important to understand if an agency is tracking their clients metrics.   If you have a development partner that doesn’t understand analytics, the strategic recommendations you receive could hurt your business.   Answer: Every client that we work with has positive metrics that are rolled into a case study and is used as a learning experience for our internal team to get better. we love data and look forward to working with you and your analytics.
  7. How big is the design team for the agency that you are interviewing? Answer: ACCELERATE has four designers a videographer, photographer and can leverage contract resources as needed.
  8. What front-end framework do they work in?   Answer: ACCELERATE leverages bootstrap primarily but on occasion will use additional front-end frameworks as needed depending on the design goals for the client.
  9. Does the agency you’re interviewing have server-side network administration experience?   Answer: ACCELERATE built an exclusive relationship with one of the top Magento hosting companies in the world Zerolag Hosting.   Between Zerolag’s network administration team and ACCELERATE’s senior development team  we provide some of the leading turnkey managed hosting and optimization experience.
  10. Do they provide 24 seven emergency support?  Answer:  ACCELERATE provides 24 seven, 365 days a year emergency support.   If there is any issue with your website that is causing a loss of revenue or transactional sales are team will respond 24 seven and work until the issue is resolved.
  11. Do they charge a premium for 24 seven emergency support?   Do not charge for 24 seven emergency support we build our standard hourly rate and work until the issue is resolved.
  12. How many hosting companies do they support?  Answer:  We work with many Magento hosting companies but prefer to work with one which is Zerolag.   The depth of the relationship between ACCELERATE and Zerolag allows us to ensure the attention to detail in scale, security, database administration, and overall Magento performance. Beware of the agency that works with many housing partners.  Each company delivers service differently which can lead to an inconsistent experience for you as a customer.
  13. What to their glass door reviews that there have employees have written look like? Answer:  No company is perfect ,one or two negative employee reviews is not a big deal,  but you can identify management and leadership trends in an organization by looking on online review sites.
  14. Do they have any negative yelp reviews?   Answer: It’s really hard to get a negative review on yelp as a digital agency if you’re talking to a digital agency with a negative review on yelp in our opinion that means that when an issue did arise in a project that agency most likely focused on profitability over customer satisfaction.   We know from experience that not every client is 100% reasonable but we’ve also never had a negative yelp review in 300 products.
  15. Do they charge for project management time and phone calls?  Answer: Accelerate only charges for design time and coding time we do not charge for project management or quality assurance or phone calls or emails.   As a result of this, even though our hourly rate is $100 an hour, our clients often tell us our monthly billings are roughly 25% less than the market.
  16. Do they have a dedicated quality assurance team?  Answer: We have a dedicated quality assurance team.  Our quality assurance lead came from Hewlett-Packard and worked in quality assurance and testing for Hewlett-Packard in the United States.  She now runs a quality assurance team in India which is responsible for delivering the functional quality and code quality for all software that we develop.   We invest roughly 10% of our overhead into quality assurance and testing to ensure clients get a great product every time.
  17. Do they have business analysts that are responsible for regrading technical requirements?   Answer: ACCELERATE assigns a business analyst to every project.   When a project fails, it’s often due to poor written requirements and a misalignment of expectations between the client and the agency that can be resolved through proper documentation.  This is why ACCELERATE provides written requirements and functional requirements specification for each of our projects regardless of the size.
  18. Do they provide project management QA and business analyst resources to your project at no cost?  Answer: ACCELERATE does not charge for quality assurance and business analyst resources we believe our clients shouldn’t bear the burden and price of us doing it right.
  19. How does the agency hire new developers to scale as they grow to ensure that your service level is maintained?  Answer: Accelerate is evaluating new development talent 24 seven, 365 days a year.  We build offshore teams and have been building offshore teams for 10 years.  We find extremely talented individuals that flex into US hours and speak great English.   We spent hours each week building culture globally and ensuring that our global teams understand the level of excellence required to deliver on behalf of accelerated agency.   And global development model allows us to scale and over staff versus understaffing in causing you miss deadlines.
  20. What is it average stay of employment for project manager at that agency?   Answer: We have a great retention rate accelerate.   We have had zero turnover in our project management team in the past 12 months and expect to maintain that standard in 2017.
  21. Is the project manager you’re getting more technical, creative, or marketing focused?   We hire a blend of technical brand focused and marketing focused project managers as each of our clients needs differ depending on the current state of the results.   When you come on board with accelerated agency we will match project manager personality and skill set to provide you the best working environment for your business.  We talk about project culture a lot and consider it to be one of the most important attributes to a successful working relationship with an agency.   We believe that how the people work together is as important as the talent of the development team.
  22. What is the agency’s communication style?   Answer: Our style is your style.  We have our own internal processes and tools that we provide Junior project management and additional coordination to make it very easy for you to coordinate with us in the way that you like.  Some of our client’s use email only, some of our client’s use our ticketing system, and some of our clients use our interactive chat tool. We are happy to accommodate your preference and can adjust as needed.
  23. What tools does the agency use?   Answer:  Our Project management system is Wrike, which is kind of like Basecamp meets Microsoft project.  We use flow dock is an internal chat tool,  we use JIRA as a bug tracking tool,  we use Zoom as a videoconferencing platform,  we use bit bucket as our code tracking repository,  we use code guard for push button code rollbacks and code monitoring,  we use new relic for application monitoring and support,  we use blaze meter for load testing and load-balancing,  and we live in Google analytics.  We are always evaluating new tools and if we feel like there is a tool we’re not currently using the will best fit to the customer, we will make the change that will immediately
  24. How frequently does the agency communicate?  Answer: ACCELERATE Project managers are often in touch with you daily through email occasionally through phone calls,  we have a weekly status call,  a monthly executive review and are willing to adjust the communication as needed based on the speed in which you would like to execute.
  25. What is the code management process for the agency?  Answer: We will create a custom code management process for each client based on the technology stack and their internal resources.   Standard process includes the development site, staging site, and leveraging SSH for individual publishers to ensure maximum security and code integrity.
  26. What is the code deployment process look like for that agency?  Answer: Our code deployments are always executed after 11 PM Pacific time.  Each deployment has its own plan and its own user testing plan including post-launch regression testing and a backup rollback plan if needed.
  27. What is the internal training program to ensure their developers are always at the cutting edge of Magento?  Answer: We continually take on very complex Magento environments and implementations to push our developers capabilities.  We require hundreds of hours of training and constantly analyze the type of projects that each developer is working on to ensure our developers are growing in new areas each week.
  28. What is the design team’s experience with mobile friendly websites?   Answer: As most of our clients experience mobile traffic of over 55% our design team is often a mobile first design team.  We also build custom mobile applications, tablet applications, and fully fluid dynamic responsive websites.   On occasion if the business is best suited for a different user experience on mobile than desktop will build a custom mobile website.
  29. Does the agency perform conversion rate optimization services?  Answer: ACCELERATE performs conversion rate optimization services for all our clients.  Growing an e-commerce business is a math equation. If you increase the conversion rate .25% while maintaining the average order value you will achieve predictable revenue growth.   The more predictable we can make our clients growth path the higher the client satisfaction with accelerated agency.
  30. Can the agency provide an example of where they have improve the conversion rate for a client by at least 1%?  Answer: We have several in the past year . Every single new site that accelerate has deployed in the past 12 months has experienced an increase in conversion rate.
  31. In that example can they tell you the scientific process they followed and the steps that they went through to test to ensure that the improvement was sustained?  Answer: Yes, ACCELERATE would be happy to walk you through several case studies in which we deployed a systemic conversion rate optimization process with AB testing and multivariate testing to deliver better business performance.
  32. How deep is the agency? Answer:  In other words is your project manager as good is the CEO and is the newest person working on your account as good as your project manager?  ACCELERATE spends hundreds of hours a month training our entire team although it’s not easy our expectation is that our most junior employee should be on the track to be a most senior employee every day.   This requires specific training and empowering the individuals.
  33. How many projects does your project manager work on at any given time?   Answer: Our project managers work on 5 to 7 projects at any given time
  34. What is executive review process for your account at that agency?   Answer: Our CEO reviews every account minimally on a monthly basis.   Oftentimes our CEO become our clients outsourced CMO in which he is reviewing client reporting metrics and strategy on a weekly basis.
  35. How does that agency bill?  Do they bill by the hour?  Do they bill by 15 minute increments and round up?  Answer: Are they billing for just programming and just design?  Or are they billing you for every minute that someone is working on your account?  Many agencies that charge $150 an hour can actually cost less in an agency that charges $75 an hour depending on how they feel.
  36. How many Magento 2.0 website has the agency worked on?  Answer: ACCELERATE will have launched 10 Magento 2.0 websites by mid-2017 and is currently the agency performing maintenance on the first Magento 2.0 enterprise website launch in North America.
  37. How many Magento upgrades has the agency managed?  Answer: ACCELERATE manages over 20 Magento upgrades per year
  38. Has the agency built any custom Magento plug-ins?  Answer: ACCELERATE has built five custom plug-ins in the past 18 months
  39. Are the tools that the agency use different for their support than they are for projects?  Answer: ACCELERATE uses different tools to support our support clients and project clients.  Maintenance clients require more agile approach high-level communication and a quick feedback cycle.
  40. What is the project management methodology for the agency?   Answer:  We deploy a dynamic project management model which is a hybrid between a waterfall and agile approach.
  41. How does the agency handle change orders?   Answer: ACCELERATE doesn’t believe in change orders.  On occasion when the material strategic direction of our project shifts it just makes sense.  However we understand that there has never been a project since the beginning of time they didn’t change from start to finish and build an expectation of change and flexibility in every project that we take on.
  42. What are the payment terms for the agency?  Answer: ACCELERATE payment terms are net 14 for pre-payment of maintenance hours.  Once hours are bought those hours are retained until use and do not expire.
  43. How long has the agency been in business?  Answer: ACCELERATE has been in business for three years.  ACCELERATE’s leadership team has been in the e-commerce world for 13 years
  44. Does Magento recommend that agency?  Answer: ACCELERATE has a close relationship with several people within the Magento ecosystem and at Magento. We manage some of the most complex implementations on the Magento platform on both direct to consumer and business-to-business environments.
  45. What is the framework of the relationship look like with the agency?   Answer: ACCELERATE is flexible in everything we do.  We are built to make it easy for client to do business with us were always looking to change and get better look for to working with you
  46. What other services does the agency provide such as marketing branding analytics and other services? Answer: ACCELERATE is a full-service digital agency provides full creative marketing branding and technology services

I hope that this article helps provide you with the questions to properly evaluate a Magento partner.  You can contact us at any time as well. Just call the phone number at the top of the website.

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