Our ability to support our clients has always been of the utmost priority to us here at GEL Studios. We understand that having us on hand to assist with a wide array of queries is important to not only your business and its operations, but at a more personal level - it provides you with a feeling of reassurance.
Over the past years, we've tried many different approaches with regards to handling support - trying to find the perfect balance between offering a service that meets our high expectations, whilst remaining sustainable and commercially viable.
We've been able to exceed one of those goals but we've not been able to meet the other. Today I am announcing a fundamental change into how we deal with ad-hoc support moving forwards at GEL Studios.
The support we offered.
I feel it's important to take note of the great work my development team have done to date with our support desk. They take great pride in their work and their attitude to always wanting to help is inspiring.
A change we made some years ago was to have a constant support presence. We had three time slots a day, with each slot manned by a member of the Dev team. Tickets were solved fast, consistently and the knowledge shared around the team was fantastic. For our business size, sector and industry - Zendesk marked our support statistics as exceptional.
Whilst the support experience was great - the sustainability hasn't been. The three time slots a day results in 60 hours of resource per month, with 2021 returning an average of less than 8% billable.
Where's the other 92%?
If something is our responsibility, then of course we'll fix it and that will never change. However, my development team have had to constantly tread on the blurry line of what actually is our responsibility and what is impacted by a third party. Here are some examples...
- "The chat bot on my website isn't showing, can you find out why?" - Third party service is down,
- "A customer has said they cannot buy something" - User issue due to incorrect card information,
- "My images are not displaying properly on my website" - Uploaded image is of a poor quality,
- "Data is not showing on my website correctly" - API not yet synced,
- "Google is reporting issues with my website, here are my login details can you see why?" - Page is of a large size due to content entered by user.
Sending an invoice for the time spent looking into all the issues above takes time - and this is where the issue resides.
What is "support".
Support is a broad term and ranges from anything like a bug fix, to a question. Regardless of what type of support request it is, there are always more factors to consider:
- Response time - Getting to an issue requires stopping something else,
- Investigation - A question asked, needs to be checked. Be it by peers, checking prior work, or other means. This takes time,
- Changing - Altering anything requires time,
- Feedback - Ensuring you are aware of what we're working on and when is vital!
The common factor in all the terms above is time.
Quite simply, our time has not been covered and to continue with this approach is bad business practice.
Support from 1st March 2022.
From the 1st March 2022. All support requests will need to either:
a.) Be logged via our online support form, so there is complete understanding of our support process and that you may be billed. Or,
b.) If you have a support agreement with us, logged via your Active Collab project board.
The last thing we want is for you to feel that we are not available to help. That is most definitely not the case! So, if you email support directly after this time, we will deal with your first request and explain to you the correct way to log a support request moving forwards.
Our commitment to our support customers.
If you come to us for support, we will do everything we can to get your issue resolved as soon as humanly possible.
With the time and money saved, we will be investing this into new systems and processes to ensure that we can give best in class support and preventative maintenance to our customers as and when required.
We offer ongoing support agreements to cover you 24/7 365, with best in class SLAs. If your business is interested in one of these, or would simply like to know more about how we can support you, please contact us for more information.
We need this to happen, so we can continue to offer a sustainable service that is not only fair to our customers - but also my development team.
I am very rarely direct, however I must be clear. There will be absolutely no exceptions to this support change. I have instructed my team to not action any support request unless it is through the methods mentioned above.