This column is authored by Srikanth Adiga, Founder, Krishagni
When you report an issue in OpenSpecimen, it is very likely that you will hear back from one of Sri, Vinayak or Poornima – the three key folks who run the company. You might think – well, seems like these guys have nothing “big” to do! 😉
Many companies delegate customer support to a “support team” – usually a team of junior staff who have spent some time in poking around the product – just enough to act as if they know the product. Many companies even outsource it.
Unfortunately, in India (maybe even outside), many people consider support and QA as low-class work. Many developers think it is beneath their status to do it. They don’t realize that it will, in fact, help them become a much better developer – especially if you are in a product development company.
Most times the support staff are busy “defending” the product – even when it’s a genuine shortcoming of the product. They tell the user why “what is” is good enough and how the client can “make do” with it. It can be very frustrating for the clients and a major loss of ideas to improve the product and build new features.
This is why the top leadership and product developers should be involved in support. Many times, it is amazing to see how what they built is used in the real world – both in a positive or negative ways. You will see clients using a feature in a way you didn’t imagine. Other times, you will see that even though you built it to solve a particular problem, it still does not really do that effectively. Maybe it needs a bit more fine tuning.
This is why the CEOs, CTOs, and product development team should be monitoring client support tickets and answer then personally when possible. What the heck – even Steve Jobs used to reply to customer emails (click here).
That reminds me of a personal story. I was charged 1200$ for a Budget car rental when the original booking was for $200. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the initial contract papers (usually in a very light ink printed using a dot matrix). For 3-4 months I haggled with the customer support to get it rectified with no success. Until one day I read the above article about how CEOs of big companies respond to client emails and decided to try my luck with the CEO of Budget. I emailed the President/CEO/MD etc of Budget telling them my sob story. The very next day I got an email from the assistant of one of the top guns saying the issue is resolved and the money is refunded!