Hi, I’m Jim. I work in user support at Dashlane. Before I worked here, I was at another Internet company that, at the time, had a fairly small staff compared to its user base. One of the biggest complaints we received was that we had no phone number. Users demanded that they be able to call us, and we continued to promise them that we would get a line, despite the fact that we didn’t have the resources to handle answering so many phone calls.
Both our users and our managers had this sense that our user support team needed a phone number to show we cared. But would that really have done any good? Would a user have felt more cared for if they called a number and got put on hold for several minutes only to be rushed through the call so the rep could get to the next one? And if we outsourced our calls, would our users truly enjoy those conversations?
To be clear, our user support team was comprised of very caring representatives who did their best to help, but overwhelming them with a phone system would have added undue stress to their jobs and, further, would have created an unobtainable promise that with phone support the user would be attended to faster and therefore, somehow, better.
Now let’s leave the tech bubble for a second, and think about in-real-life customer support. I have two very specific memories about waiting in line.
One time, I was at a Hertz car rental location. The line was long and hadn’t moved for several minutes due to a slow or demanding customer at the front, but the single employee did not seem to notice that there was a growing line of impatient customers waiting. All the while a closed-circuit television loudly blasted advertisements for the company we were already patronizing. The effect, no doubt the opposite of what their marketers were hoping, left me with a feeling of contempt whenever I saw those ads again or considered the possibility of using Hertz again.
The other line was at a Chipotle restaurant. The line was also very long — much longer even — but walking down the line was an employee with a small credit-card device, who took orders from those who were paying with plastic. He’d ring those customers up and they would merely hand over their receipt when they finally reached the register. Whether or not this did anything to speed up the process, I can’t determine — if it did, it likely wasn’t by much — but the simple act of being acknowledged while waiting made the experience of waiting much better.
Now I realize I just said that waiting for something without acknowledgment is a pain, but that sometimes attempts at instant gratification fail. A bit contradictory, I’ll admit. But it boils down to this: We need to express care and value for the user without promising unrealistic expectations that will later disappoint. Companies’ relationships with their consumers should be built upon the same blocks regular one-to-one relationships are based: Honesty and commitment.
Here at Dashlane I run the user support team, and the way I view my job is similar to the company’s overall idea of ownership — users are in total control of their data and their security. In the same way, we want to share ownership over users’ support experience. What this means is users can be assured we will always listen and value everything they bring us. Everything users tell us is important; every issue brought to our attention will be considered and worked on. Not everything can be achieved, but that’s fine. We won’t make false promises and instead, we will ask you how we can come close. Ultimately, we want Dashlane to feel as much your product, your app, as it is ours. Because, well, it is.
In the meantime, I actually can promise we’ll respond to all feedback sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and through our app’s bug reporter within 24 hours. Well, maybe slightly longer on weekends, when we get a chance to sleep in.