What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We’ve obviously been pleased with Phases Design’s service since we’re going into 7-8 years of working together. It was fortuitous that we found them. There is a whole feel for our website and I believe we’ve developed a brand that we’ve promoted and stayed true to.
The fact that we’re still in business in a very competitive market is a result in and of itself. It’s been a push, but we are growing annually. In 2017 and 2016, our sales have increased across all channels by around 70-75%, according to my last report. We’re at the point of having exponential growth and trying to keep up. We’re committed as a team, but everything that Phases Design has done on the website has reinforced what we were trying to do. We owe part of our success to their branding and the fact that they helped us to stay true to our initial goals.
People have loved the website. There were a couple of small tweaks we had to make, mainly for people who weren’t very tech savvy. We try to label everything, provide specifications and dimensions as much as possible. The overall comment is that people love the site. The feedback has come from the industry as well. There are funeral homes and pet crematories which call us and mention finding our site online, how beautiful it is, and if we have affiliate offers.
How did Phases Design Studio perform from a project management standpoint?
We have a telephone conference with Kandra every Monday, and with our web developer on Thursdays to touch base on either ongoing web development projects or ideas for upcoming ones. We also communicate by email, and there is a task-management system in place for the developers. We can log into it and follow the tasks and conversation threads. It’s an organized process including screen shares when necessary. Lately, everything has been humming along happily, so the conference calls can last from 5 minutes to an hour, depending on what we’re discussing that week.
Kandra has been a key part of the team, and it wouldn’t have been possible without her. She has broad knowledge, manages the web developers, whereas I glaze over when they start talking about geeky things. We have been lucky to find her, and I can’t emphasize this enough. She’s never missed a deadline, and usually delivers a couple of days early. The technical items tend to fall off for us in running the business, but Kandra picks them up. She knows what’s going on, and I expect nothing less.
The one web development team we parted ways with couldn’t deliver in terms of timelines and weren’t accessible during major projects. Things fell through the cracks and we were scrambling. I did not like that, so we righted the ship, and made another selection for a developer. We’re still with them.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Kandra can see the big picture. She can talk to a customer, determine exactly what they want, understand their vision, and go with it. On top of that, she is versatile and can write much of the content herself. She grabbed the bull by the horns, explained everything, and helped us understand exactly what was going on every step of the process. Like I said, she was very good with timelines and had a task-management system. Anytime we had a question, we could revisit the notes on a conversation. The process was overwhelming initially, but Kandra took care of it. This was one of the best things for me. The process is reassuring and I trust her with my business.
Are there any areas they could improve?
I am not the type of person who always gives 5 stars, but I have to here. I would even give Kandra 6 stars if I could. There was one time when we had differing opinions on something, but we talked things through and in the end, she did what I wanted to do, while not being afraid to talk through her thought process. Since she’s been doing this for many years, I will sometimes take her advice, but there are times when I say no, and she respects that.
Do you have any advice for future clients of Phases Design Studio?
If the client is looking for a partner who is ethical, trustworthy and has great organizational skills, then that’s Phases Design. Everyone will want to look around, and I did talk to one other web developer or project manager (which is what Kandra is for us), but I wasn’t impressed from the start. Kandra and I have a sort of rapport as if we were old friends. She has a calming way about her, even during some of the more difficult Magento upgrades.