News

Updates about the MXroute service

Affiliate Payout Update

- Posted in News by

Hey everyone!

I updated you a while back on the closure of our affiliate system. There are still many of you who have pending payouts, and I wanted to post an update to let you know that I have not forgotten about you. I'm trying to balance a few things here, and for transparency I'll share them:

  1. Growing our outbound infrastructure to sustain our current customers and some growth beyond it.
  2. Paying for additional help on support.
  3. Costs associated with migrating infrastructure (with overlap).
  4. Affiliate payouts.

Now, in all honesty affiliate payouts are last on that list because they are last in priority. The reason being that those payouts rely on the previous 3 items going over well, and being well paid for. The first and third on the list are temporary, and they ensure the continued funding of MXroute. That continued funding is what ensures the payouts.

We're by no means in any financial bind or at risk of failure, simply prioritizing the items that ensure our continued success. At the latest, we expect to have these affiliate payouts completely resolved within a few days after Black Friday.

Thank you so much for your patience. We're not going anywhere, we haven't forgotten about you, and we're so incredibly grateful for you.

Jarland

 

Affiliate System Shutdown

- Posted in News by

Greetings friends!

It is with great regret that I announce today that we have had to shut down the affiliate system on MXroute. All amounts owed are pending payout and will be paid out. We will always make good on our promises, even if it takes some time for this to happen.

We greatly appreciate every one of our affiliates who recommended customers to us, and we have been thrilled to share the wealth throughout this process. However, we are noticing that the amount to pay out is increasing while our profits are not. You have likely also noticed the high support wait times as we continue to struggle on that front, offering support mostly through our Discord chat. It has been decided that this is in the best interest of both MXroute and it's customers, that we move toward paying for additional help with our support.

Thank you all for your wonderfully kind words about us, we do hope that you will continue to recommend us, and we hope to grow into the kind of company that you will want to recommend for years to come.

Kind Regards, Jarland

 

Admitting failure and moving forward

- Posted in News by

Admitting failure is an extremely vital part of running a business. Often we tend to double down on our failures in hopes that more effort will convert them into success. That, however, is a great way to take a business toward it's end. That is especially true when the business is small and run by few people. Failure will happen often and repeatedly, if you're doing anything that is even worth doing. You must continually recognize it and choose how to move forward after it.

What I'd like to talk about today is where I've failed, and what I'm doing next. You most likely read my previous blog entry about our issues dealing with support workload and meeting my own expectations. While I stand by the concept that was outlined for repair, but I failed to recognize that I lack the resources to turn that concept into reality. As a result, these are my current failures: Handling support requests, resolving product issues.

To address these failures, three things will be happening. The first has already occurred, but will be made more clear with the others.

Support

I have split up support ticket categories into specific ticket types with specific input fields relevant to that topic. These are things like product bug reports, email delivery issues, feature requests, etc. This allows better prioritization of tickets based on the actual issue type and severity. This also allows us to set more clear expectations. For example, I can say that a feature request is the lowest priority up front. I can also say that a bug report clearly identified to be a client side issue can be lower priority than a platform wide issue. The remainder of issues will be handled as community support, via our Discord chat. Community support does not mean that I will not be present there myself, merely that the support will be a community and as we grow customers will be able to offer assistance to each other as well.

Product Simplication

We are going to make a sweeping change to our product offering that will impact all new orders. By lowering the complexity of our product offering in general, we will eliminate a variety of reasons to need support. This is not live at the time of this post, and you will know it is live by the third change.

New Expectations

A new website will be launched with the simplified product, outlining more clearly what is to be expected of us, what items I will support, and what product functions exist. This reduces the need for new customers to require support with things I consider basic like configuring their DNS, their email clients, etc.

With these efforts I hope to take what is growing failure and instead grow with new expectations of myself and my customers, clearly communicated and outlined, so that it instead becomes success. This is a top priority, and more will be visible over the next few weeks.

 

The State of MXroute Customer Support

- Posted in News by

Hey friends,

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.

5. Conclusion.

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.

 

Hosted DNS no longer supported

- Posted in News by

A while back, we suggested that customers use our hosted DNS to make their lives easier. As it turns out, it doesn't really do that at all. Rather, it adds unnecessary complication. It has been consistently simpler for customers to host their DNS elsewhere than with us, which in turn takes time away from improving the actual base product (email). As a result, we announced that it would no longer be supported a while back. That announcement was simply done via our billing panel, not via proactive notice. Today, I'm letting you know directly that this feature is no longer supported and I highly recommend moving away from it if you are using it. This is only important if you are using nameservers of ours, like ns1-3.mxroute.com, ocean/ocean-ns2.mxroute.com, etc. What is currently online will not soon be removed, but future efforts may continue to work against this feature and it is possible that it will be broken in many ways.

If you are not using our hosted DNS, there is no concern here, you may ignore this notice. If you are, your DNS is not being taken offline intentionally at this time. It could be months or years before that might happen (if even then).

Kind Regards,
Jarland Donnell
MXroute Administrator