Sustainable Change

For those of you who have been following the blog posts in the Sustainable Change series, we’re happy to have you along with us on our B Corp journey! For those stumbling on this post for the first time, thanks for joining! Although we still have a long way to go to pursue B Corp certification, we are proud of our efforts thus far, and even prouder to learn from our community and share our own initiatives. So let’s get to it!

As part of the last post in this series, we’ll be sharing some of our takeaways from the B Impact Assessment (BIA) in regards to Customers.

BLOG: Sustainable Change | Environment

Customers

This portion of the BIA measures our products/services’ direct impact on our customers, and whether they are designed to solve a social or environmental issue. In Plank’s case, our impact business model is driven by promoting, preserving, and providing increased access to arts, media, and culture. We also strive to create economic opportunities for individuals and communities and to contribute to the vast world of education. 

Now, how do we do all of that by building websites?

In short, we conceptualize, design, and develop websites that reflect and enhance our partners’ missions — with a large focus on Arts & Culture, Non-Profits, and Higher Education. Although every website we build is unique, each one allows our customers to connect, engage and empower their beneficiaries in their own way. It’s more than just building websites — we work with our clients to craft a digital solution that acts as the #1 resource for their beneficiaries, and that contributes to their purpose each and every day.

Our clients are the ones doing the inspiring work for their beneficiaries — we help them deepen those connections, simplify their efforts, and ultimately create a more positive impact by bringing attention to all of the good that they do. We’re committed to the success and well-being of our partners — to celebrating shared passions, solving meaningful problems, and contributing to making the web a better place. To us, that means, connecting artists to their audiences, citizens to their communities, and information seekers with the answers they need.

Customer Stewardship

Because our clients’ work fuels our own, we strive to work with people and organizations that inspire us. We care deeply about each and every one of our clients, which is why we love long-term partnerships. 

In order to maintain these partnerships, we understand the importance of customer stewardship and making sure we have an accurate pulse on how projects are progressing, how the working relationship is going, and consistently verifying that we are living up to — and exceeding — expectations.

Although we have regularly scheduled check-ins with our clients throughout the course of a project, we have also implemented the following measures for customers to manage stewardship.

Offering guarantees, warranties & protection policies

We have outlined product/service guarantees, warranties & protection policies in our main service agreement, which must be read through and signed by our clients prior to starting any work. This agreement is reviewed regularly to ensure compliance with new regulations and further protection for our customers.

Monitoring customer satisfaction and feedback

Clear, consistent communication is paramount, and at the foundation of our collaborative model. We recognize that no one knows our clients’ products better than they do and that working together is the key to success. Every project manager makes sure that the lines of communication and collaboration are kept open throughout the process, from design to development, from launch to support. 

Each Plank client is assigned a dedicated project manager. Their PM will keep them updated and informed with regular check-ins and status updates. Our workflow centers around Forecast.app, the AI-powered project management software that allows for seamless communication and project outcomes. We believe in full transparency throughout the process, which is why we give our clients access to Forecast and Slack partner channels. With Forecast, team members have all the information they need at their fingertips; clients can watch their project take shape, access references and documentation, budget/timeline progress, and keep track of key decisions made along the way. With Forecast and Slack, our clients can make comments, provide feedback, and ask questions throughout every step of the process.

Formal quality control mechanisms

A big part of what makes Plank’s development process unique is our ongoing quality assurance (QA) — both technical (code) & visual (design) QA. We believe that doing QA throughout the process, rather than at the end, prevents a lot of issues from arising upon a site’s launch. We document all QA tasks on the project board on Forecast & assign them to the appropriate people. Each task is reviewed by a lead developer before passing checks. We work with a testing guide and a QA grid at regular intervals during the development of the project, which are uniquely created for each project. Our quality control mechanisms and process are presented to all prospective clients at numerous touchpoints prior to signing any agreements to ensure transparency and accountability — something we take great pride in.

Managing the privacy and security of data

As mentioned in our Service Agreement, and proposals, and specifically highlighted in our Ethical Website Design Framework, we believe that our clients and their users’ data is of primary importance, and we should be clear about what your organization will do with it. This can be achieved by being transparent about your position on meeting national guidelines such as CASL or GDPR. In order to ensure transparency and secure data handling, our processes are built upon the seven principles of the GDPR — the EU’s basic regulations and expectations for data protection. These principles lay at the heart of our development approach, allowing us to be proactive rather than reactive.

Next Steps

While this may be the last blog post in the Sustainable Change series, this is only the beginning of our efforts to make Plank a more responsible company — so it certainly won’t be the last time we talk about it! 

To reiterate what has been said since we started this journey, this is not just a certification for Plank. Our pursuit of B Corp certification offers us a framework for continuous learning, growth, improvement, and a way to demonstrate that commitment. It allows us to keep progressing towards better business practices, and to contribute to a global economy that uses business as a force for good. 

As we progress through the Evaluation Stages of the certification process, we will continue to assess, learn, and improve, in order to be the best version of ourselves. We are so happy to have you along for this exciting step toward Plank’s future.

Stay tuned for the next steps in our B Corp Journey!

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