Switching web design agencies - a few things to keep in mind for a smooth transition.
4th September 2013

batonSometimes web design agencies take clients for granted and sometimes they outgrow them or vice versa.

For whatever the reason there could come a time when you need to switch agencies. Depending on your departing agency and the new agency this can be a smooth transition or it can turn into a nightmare. Here are a few ideas and thoughts to keep in mind when you are looking to change or switch web design agencies.

The grass is always greener on the other side syndrome.

Sometimes clients are frustrated with a web design agency and they think that by hiring a new agency the problems might get resolved or simply go away. This is true in many cases but sometimes systematic issues with the website or processes can get transferred to the new agency too.

Simply expecting the new agency to resolve all the issues might not be logical. Also the new agency might bring its own issues and problems with it. The client must remember to keep an open mind and realistic view to the entire transfer. Somethings will get better while others might remain the same.

Put the extras into the contract that the previous agency did as a courtesy.

When a web design agency works for a client for a long period of time, it inevitably ends up doing a lot of extra work which was not included in the initial contract. This is either done for the sake of efficiency or as a courtesy to a long-standing client. However it might not be known to the new agency.

This would be an opportunity to formalize it and also include it into the billing items. Including it in the billing also ensures that it gets done. After all fair is fair, the agency should be paid for its services.

Every agency will bring in its own systems and processes. Allow them to do so.

Insisting that the new agency use the same systems and processes that the old agency used might not be a good idea. If the new web design agency requests that they port your website to their own preferred system, then it would be a good idea to allow them to do this. This is provided they are willing to do this at a reasonable cost or better still for free.

Most times we immediately transfer a new client site to our system as soon as contract is signed so that we can immediately plug it into our maintenance and support system and start further development on it.

However if the transfer is going to take a very long time or going to uproot too many systems than it would be better to retain the same system or change it in a phased long-term manner.

But be open to switching to newer systems.

Be very clear about the deliverables and goals you want the new agency to fulfill.

There should be a clear reason and difference why you are switching agencies. Having a vague notion of improvement will not work. You have to be clear about what was not being done earlier which now needs to be accomplished.

If you let the earlier agency get away without measurement or supervision then don't repeat the same mistake with the new agency. Create a reporting structure and be strict about deliverables. Take advantage of a new agency eager to please you.

Get the most important work done early on by the new agency.

There is a rule of decaying attention. As the client gets older with the agency the urgency and dedication also reduces to finally reach a comfortable equilibrium.

So it's a good idea to take advantage of the freshness of the new agency and get the important and difficult tasks done first. After complacency sets in, it will become much harder to get the agency to work at the same pace. It's after all human nature.

Put the fresh minds to good use.

If possible, maintain a good cordial relationship with the previous agency.

The transfer process will go much better if the earlier agency is not fighting you every step of the way. There is a lot an agency can do to sabotage the transfer simply out of spite. It creates an ugly situation.

If possible, maintain a good relationship with the old agency by expressing your gratitude for their work and also explaining why a change was needed. Better still give them a good recommendation letter on the condition they ensure a smooth transition.

In conclusion. It's not always the best case scenario to transfer to a new web design agency but it is many times necessary. Keeping in mind the above points and paying careful attention to the entire process will ensure a painless transfer.

One last thought. If your new agency is not better than your previous one than it's all going to be wasted so ensure that you have done your due diligence before initiating the transfer.

Cheers,
Ron

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