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Customer support at a company of one

Published by Felix Gurtler on
Customer support at a company of one

tl;dr: support chat is great in the early days to learn more but a time thief in the long run.

During the early days of Landen and even the first year, it's been fun to chat with you (the people using Landen)! I've learned a lot during that time, met some great people and fixed bugs while talking with customers.

The Problem

However, as Landen grew and got more customers and users, the amount of support requests grew as well. I initially only intended to keep the chat around during the launch time to get more feedback but kept it even after because I felt pressure to be available and helpful to my customers as much as possible.

At some point nearly all my time working on Landen was spent in the support chat and answering emails. I didn't have time to actually fix bugs and make improvements anymore and that of course led to more support requests, frustrated customers and stagnation.

During that time I also lost my motivation and the joy I experienced when I started this project. While I'm lucky to have some very kind, understanding and patient customers, I've also had to deal with unrealistic expectations, confusing questions and spam. Some people even asked me how to use Facebook...?

The Solution?

Ultimately all customers wanted the same: bugs fixed, features added, or tutorials on how to do things. Since nothing got done with the existing system, I've decided to change things. First of all the asynchronous chat would have to go away (sorry 🤷🏼‍♂️).

At the same time it still had to be possible for customers to reach me, so I've set up a more guided system for feedback, bug reports, feature requests and learning. And thus the new help centre was born ✨:

Each of the options in here (except for the Knowledge base) will lead you to a different form. Here's the feature request form for example:

Every request is stored in the database and I get a notification in telegram with the form's content and the account that has submitted it. This system is still relatively new but has already received lots of input.

This new format also forces customers to be more thoughtful about their message and to include necessary information from the start instead of the typical "Hi - Hello - how can I help?" dance. There's still a lot to learn and improve about this system but for now it already has freed up a ton of time and mental capacity to make Landen a better product.

It's maybe not a big surprise that some customers would simply file a "Feature Request" in which they would actually ask a question about how to use XYZ... I will have to work on more guides for common topics but I actually got the time now.

I'm curious about your own experiences as a customer or fellow founder, please share your thoughts on the twitter thread.

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