What is support from a start-up’s stand point?
Support in a start-up by definition is a direct line of communication with their users. Support channels many things for the company including requests, complaints, feedback, and assists users in their needs with the product. Whether it be widgets or placing those widgets in the cloud.
How do most companies treat support?
In a word? Ugh. My experiences with various companies’ support as a user has always the same. I think a specific example is trying to get a response from support.
Once I had to email support for a clients downed piece of hardware. a robot emailed me back and said that they would get back to me. I never got a reply back. OK, things get lost in the web, it happens. So I call the company three business days later, which led me into the phone tree.
Yay phone trees! So 20 minutes later in the phone tree I get the operator, who then very tersely forwards me to support.
I am greeted with this: ”Thank you for calling (company name), I am sorry, our support team is busy, we will be with you in…95 minutes…” (Rage level rising)
Ok fine, it could be an off day, or things are crazy, it happens. So I wait…and wait…and wait.
30 minutes till I am allowed to speak with someone and the elevator music stops…yay someone picked up my call! Wait, the other end is silent. I say “Hi my name is Rich, I have a (product go here) that has been down for 5 days I need a hand getting it up and running again.” To which I get “Hello sir this is (person’s name? Alias? Codeword? I don’t know) what is your name and what product name are you calling in regards to?” I repeat my previous statement. To which I get this reply ”We no longer support (product) sir, you will need to purchase (upgraded product).” followed by a “click” sound….
I call back, get the operator who remembers “me” and forwards me again to support. Phone line was non-existent, so, yay me!
I get another individual and say the same thing ”Hi my name is Rich, I have a (product go here) that has been down for 5 days I need a hand getting it up and running again.” To which I get verbatim the same response and a “click” sound.
head->desk, repeat, repeat, repeat.
Suffice it to say the “product” never got fixed and was promptly replaced.
Ouch! So based on that experience, what is wrong with Support in general?
Support is a channel for your customers. However most companies have virtually closed that channel through layers of authentication to email support, or licensing to get support for a product you PAID for and so on.
What makes a Start up’s Support department different?
Contrary to what my original thoughts were, support at a start-up is unlike any other that exists in business. Support is treated as a known channel that has to be left open and available to users. But more than that, support is encouraged and given a serious consideration.
So after all that, what REALLY is support from a start-ups standpoint?
Support from a start-ups standpoint is simple. Treat it as though it is a very important channel for your users…because it is your largest channel of communication for your users.