Imagine you go into a restaurant. You’re looking forward to a relaxing evening l and a good meal. Everything looks fine at the first glance. But as soon as you’re seated, things start going wrong.
For starters, the menu turns out to be exceptionally uninformative, to say nothing of the illegible fonts. Then, your waiter brings you the order half an hour after you placed it, and responds rather rudely to your well-intentioned remarks. You end up eating a cold and undercooked meal. Unsurprisingly, you leave in a bad mood. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever give that restaurant a second chance. It’s also doubtful that the restaurant will stay in business for long.
The nuts and bolts of customer service are pretty much the same everywhere. At BioCard, our foremost goal is to develop great mobile solutions. But we also understand how important it is to provide help and support for our customers so they have the best possible experience with us.
That’s why BioCard works with clients as individuals – not business entities – and gets to know their personality and expectations. By chatting with our clients, we get to know their vision; we get to hear their ideas about the future of their app. This helps us to meet client expectations and design high-quality products.
BioCard’s customer support begins with an initial client inquiry and extends beyond an app’s release. Let’s talk about the three general stages of support: pre-production, production, and post-production.
BioCard’s Engagement Managers respond to initial client inquiries within one business day.
The goal of our Engagement Team is to make sure that BioCard and the client are on the same page, and to ensure that we have all necessary information to successfully begin a project. The Engagement Manager communicates with the customer and offers assistance during the pre-production stage of the project.
During initial communications, our engagement manager clarifies general information about a project: the core idea, desired features, supported devices, and development timeline.
Based on this information, we provide a rough estimate made by a team of developers. A rough estimate includes:
Once we have provided the client with a rough estimate, we schedule an online meeting. This meeting is a time for the client to offer feedback and discuss the project’s scope – and potential improvements or refinements – with the team of developers who provided the rough estimate.
Sometimes a rough estimate may exceed a client’s time and budget expectations, or may contain too many features for the first version. In this case, the engagement manager will invite project managers, designers and developers to re-assess the estimate and eliminate some non-vital functionalities.
We don’t offer to cut back on features in an initial release only to save our clients time and money. Ultimately, our goal is to make sure that products we develop can validate a client’s business model and succeed in a given market. Instead of spending time and money on secondary features, we build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with a limited number of functions and let our client test it on the market. After testing the MVP, we can determine which features are winners and which should be re-considered. Based on these insights we’ll introduce changes and improvements to the app.
If a client approves the rough estimate, then, the Engagement Manager provides more detailed information about a contract.
Before project development starts, the engagement manager provides a client with detailed information about BioCard’s design practices, iteration-oriented development, Agile methodology, approaches to delivery management and quality assurance, post-production support, and other services that we offer.
Next, the project planning begins. During this time the client meets each person involved with the project and learns about their roles in the development process.
During the app production stage, customer support is handled by an Account Manager (AM). The AM monitors a project’s development, but is outside of the development team. They’re ready to address any misunderstandings that may arise between a customer and developers during the production period.
The AM gathers a customer’s feedback: general impressions of the project’s progress, quality of the team’s work, and suggestions on process improvements .
The AM keeps the customer up to date with a project’s financial information, including hours and money spent. They also send invoices and financial reports. The project manager provides reports detailing the tasks accomplished after each iteration, and including plans for the next sprint.
Understanding a customer’s needs
The AM stays in touch with the client throughout the entire development process. Account Managers are always ready to listen to a customer’s concerns and opinions about the development process, and will facilitate communication with the development team to make communication as easy and productive as possible.
All projects need additional support, after their initial release, in order to stay up-to-date. That’s why we have a separate post-release support service that we offer to our clients.
At this stage, the AM plays more of a consulting role, since most communication is done by a project manager and the rest of the development team.
We usually provide 20-40 hours of developer involvement per month for support activities, but this depends on an application’s complexity. Apart from regular bug tracking and fixing, our team will provide suggestions on how to improve an app’s functionality and user experience based on market tendencies and analytics. This may mean implementing new features, making complex updates and/or redesigns, and also responding to the customer’s own ideas.
The post-production support activities are usually discussed individually with each customer, as their frequency and scope will vary based on the application.