How to differentiate important issues from urgent ones?

How to differentiate important issues from urgent ones?

1 May

Author : Annie Curran, Categories : Web Site Development

Help, emergency

Everyone has surely gotten requests from clients, suppliers or even colleagues that have been flagged as an emergency.  Have you ever given any thought to what really constitutes an emergency?  In this article, we’ll try to clarify how your web agency handles emergencies as well as what may or may not be considered an urgent matter vs. an important one.



Emergency vs. Important

In the web world, the perception of an emergency is very different from say a real, life threatening emergency; no one is going to die.  This being said, that doesn’t mean they are necessarily unimportant. Here are a few tips to identify the “threat level” of the emergency:


The first thing to do is to assess the situation, and establish if you are dealing with an emergency or simply an important matter that needs to be dealt with in a timely manner.  One way that might help you gauge what is an emergency vs. an important issue is to look at Eisenhower’s Decision Matrix.  Below you will find some examples of situations and which category they would fall into following the decision matrix:



Help, my website is down!

If your site appears to be down, before pressing the panic button or ripping your hair out, make sure it’s not just you.  A good way to find out if your site is down only for you or for everyone is to go to the site Down for everyone or just me and put in your web address.  This will tell you if it’s just you that is experiencing the issue or if the problem is generalized.

If it’s just you, then the threat level is significantly reduced. Your web agency will look into the problem, but the priority level is no longer an emergency.

Timeliness is key

When dealing with an important and urgent matter, timeliness in rectifying the situation is key.  It is not only important for your agency to deal with the issue quickly, but it is just as important for the client to notify the agency of the issue as soon as it occurs and work with them to determine when this can be addressed and taken care of; for example:

  • You will lose income and/or clients, if this issue is not addressed in a timely manner
    If this is the case, than your web agency can help you determine the timeline and get the issue resolved sooner rather than later.
  • You have a press release that needs to be published on your website
    While this can be perceived as an urgent matter, the importance level should be considered “normal” since your website is still functional and nothing has exploded or crashed.

Something to keep in mind when contacting your web agency with an urgent matter, other than the points mentioned in the decision matrix above, is that if your matter is more of an aesthetic one, then your web agency will consider it a low priority, for example:

  • There is some text that is not aligned exactly the way it should be or there is a link that needs to be added on the site or even a logo that needs to be added/removed, etc.
    If any of these issues sound familiar, than this would be considered a lower priority item because this will not affect your users’ ability to use your site, as opposed to let’s say your shopping cart not working which is a much more pressing matter.  When dealing with an aesthetic issue it will be taken care of in a timely manner, but not necessarily within the same day.

Prevention is the best medicine

Now there’s a million dollar question!  There is no way to completely avoid emergencies, as they will likely happen at some point…the web is like that. However, there are ways to minimize them or reduce their frequency.  Here are a couple of tips that may help you be better prepared:

  • Keep your website’s platform and security up to date:  The security of your website should always be updated, whether it’s your content management system, your security certificate (SSL) or your server.  It is important to update these security settings regularly in order to keep everything more secure and minimize risks of hacks or bugs.  Your web agency will gladly inform you on the procedures and investments for these updates.
  • Manage expectations:  If you’ve contacted your agency about an issue, depending on the importance or urgency of the issue, make sure you know what to expect as far as them rectifying it.  Changing a logo or an image on your website, won’t be done in the next hour as opposed to say your site being down, which will be high on the priority list and will be addressed immediately.
  • Learn to prioritize:  This is really a key point.  Before pressing that proverbial panic button, it is important to prioritize your issues in the order that they need to be addressed.  Once you contact the proper authorities and notify them of the issues, if you are well prepared with an ordered list of priorities, this will help move things along and help eliminate too much questioning.

So the next time you have an issue, whether important or urgent, keep these suggestions in mind before contacting anyone and it may help reassure you as to how and when it will be dealt with.

Tags : urgent issues, websites

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