Support – Doing It Right

In my last post – How To Succeed – I mentioned that I’d shortly be offering support using a help desk and my own support staff.

To do that, I’ll be using my own soon to be launched support software (TicketDesk Pro).

One of my regular readers, Mike Russen, made a comment about his concern that handing problems to support staff is not the same as handling them yourself.

I agree with this if care isn’t taken to do it the right way.

The issue here is, a business reaches a point where it simply can’t be a one man band any more.  In fact I’d say that if it is a one man band, then it isn’t a business.  That one man is just kidding himself.

Here’s a case in point.

I’ve just taken the first of my holidays this year (I got back late last night), and while I was away, Paul (my developer partner), kept an eye out for show stopper support issues.  Anyone else is going to have to wait for me to answer the questions shortly.

That’s no good.  That’s totally unrealistic and unacceptable not only from my perspective, but also from my customers.

That’s why it all has to change, both for the benefit of my customers and myself.  I don’t want to be tied to this business for the rest of my life, I want my freedom!  I want to know that while I’m not around, everything continues as it should.

That’s the whole point of me doing this, and the whole point for anyone else to have a serious internet business.

You wouldn’t expect to buy from Microsoft or Apple and only deal with Bill Gates or Steve Jobs would you?

Okay, that example’s a little extreme.

Here’s a thought.  If you contacted me by email, and received a reply back from me that was typical of what I’d say, and even signed off as me, would you know the difference?

For instance, if this post were written by someone else (ghost written) who knew my writing style, would you ever know it wasn’t me?

As a reader, would that make you happy or not?  I guess it depends on your perspective, and maybe not in some cases if you thought there was a chance of that happening, but that’s exactly what I’m looking to do.  I have to do it.

I will have to test a lot of people to find someone who can do it, but I think it’s worth it.  Even so, day to day support stuff will (must) be handled by someone else so that I can concentrate on growing my business.

The fact is, I have a lot of great software either completed and awaiting release, or in the development pipeline.  I can’t possibly handle all the support issues that will arise from the many products that I’ll have out there by the end of 2008.

It took me hundreds of hours last year just to handle a couple of products.  Yeah I’m pretty certain I did it all wrong, but you live and learn.

And if I do all this right, you’ll see posts on here that will appear as if they came from me.  There will be one or two people who have the skills to pull it off who will be authorised by me to do so.

When I have a good business process for discovering the right staff to do this, I’ll let you know here on this blog.

It may take a while, as it did in finding the two great developers that I have on board now (Paul and David), but it will be worth it in the end.

-Frank Haywood


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3 Comments

  1. Wonder Wyant says:

    Well, I for one sincerely hope it helps. I’ve been waiting for support on a SmartDD installation issue for months!

  2. Frank Haywood says:

    Would that be the installation I did for you in April 2007, the installation I did for you in August 2007 on another domain, and the follow up fix that’s detailed here?

    http://www.smartdd.com/help/digital-delivery/tips-and-troubleshooting/

    It would be an installation issue if the installation wasn’t completed and a fix wasn’t posted publicly.

    I would expect my support staff to supply the same level of courtesy and follow up actions as I take myself.

    This can only be achieved through carefully constructed business processes and a continuous review of those processes. :-)

    -Frank Haywood

  3. Donna Maher says:

    Frank,

    Support is how I got to know you, and I found your support to be stellar, regardless of how ‘dumb’ my question may have felt at that time.

    You are outstanding at the processes I’ve observed, whether it’s support, teaching and training, or just sharing your knowledge with the world at large.

    You deserve a break from the mundane so you can concentrate on projects and of course, family and self a bit more.

    I wish you the best always,
    Donna

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