The State of MXroute Customer Support
I wanted to take some time today to more formally acknowledge the state of MXroute customer support. Additionally, I wanted to tell you what led to the current reality, as well as what is being done to ensure resolution of the least favorable details.
1. The current state of MXroute customer support.
If you have opened a support ticket at MXroute in the last few months, the odds are high you have noticed that we have a high wait time for a response. Ticket response time has been anywhere between an hour and a month. For someone committed to providing a service as intricate as email, this is not something of which to be proud.
2. The catalyst.
I have identified three items that, collectively, created the current reality.
First, we blew up in popularity. You recommended us to your friends, family, and complete strangers. Thank you! I'm sorry to blame such an incredibly positive thing for a negative situation. The truth is, great things can have negative consequences. You're not at fault though; it merely tore open a wound that I created in the first place. You'll see that next.
Second, I created this service for system administrators like myself, the nerdiest of nerds. It wasn't intended to be well documented or easy for a new user to understand. I know now that it doesn't matter who I created it for, I made a mistake when I failed to build it in such a way that less technically inclined users could feel right about and the experience and understand how to use the product.
Third, I built the business model around the idea of customers being system administrators who just wanted to get out of the email game and spend that time doing more important things. The business model came with a projection of average expected support volume per customer, which was quite low. For a long time, this projection proved accurate, and it reinforced the business model. When our customer base began to shift, the support volume per customer changed in such a way that the business model was unsustainable. I could not manage it alone, and I could not hire anyone to help because of the low prices I chose to charge.
3. The wrong answer.
It is essential to speak about the reason why the most obvious answer is not the correct one for us. The obvious answer is the first one that anyone logically arrives at:
"Spend more time answering support tickets, get faster at solving them. "
It seems logical, almost too much so. If it were that easy, why are companies continually losing their quality of support as they grow? Do we honestly think that no one at Comcast had the idea of "If we answer customers quickly and give them what they need when they reach out, our support will be great." They run a vast infrastructure and, for the most part, it does what it's supposed to. They are not that unintelligent.
If growth is not in line with the business plan, and you continually throw all of your resources at support, how long will it take before you have depleted both your time and financial resources, and you are no longer able to grow your efforts at a rate that is equivalent to the customer growth? It isn't a question of if it happens, it's a question of when.
It is at this stage that we should consider creative solutions. I have landed on a solution, and I believe it is the right one for both MXroute, and it's customers:
4. The answer.
Available resources to answer support tickets must be split. We should use half of it for responding to tickets, and the other half of it should be used preventing tickets through product improvement, documentation, and policy. In this way, we will slow the rate of growth of the ticket volume, which increases the effectiveness of the time spent answering tickets by allowing that time to make a more substantial dent in the overall volume.
With this plan, we intend to improve your experience with our service, improve the clarity around our features, and only lose potential temporary gains on ticket response time.
Business is hard. I don't think there is anyone among us who only makes the right decisions. Increasing our pricing was not on the table as a solution to this problem, I will provide what I set out to provide, at the prices I have charged along the way. I've got your back, and I'm incredibly grateful that you have mine as well. You have all shown an incredible amount of understanding concerning this event. That is why I felt you deserved to know every detail.