Our Dev team spent a week working in Customer Support

Mar 3, 2017 · 5 min read

How we ended up in this unusual situation

NowFloats’ product, LightHouse is a way to get organic traffic onto your website. But it only works if you keep updating it with content. Your website won’t rank high on Google on it’s own.

Unfortunately, our sales team sometimes over promises the customer saying their website will come as the first link on Google within a week. We also don’t do a good job of explaining to the customer the importance of making regular and relevant updates.

This resulted in irate customers considering our company to be fraudulent when their expectations weren’t met.

To educate our customer, our customer support team started making on boarding calls that explained how and why to use our product — which took a lot of time.

But that led to a backlog of customer issues. More than 500 of them.

As developers it didn’t make sense for us to continue working on new features while our existing customers were having issues with the existing ones.

So we decided to work exclusively in customer support for as long as it took to clear out issues that we could address. It took us a week.

Here is what we learnt

The pain that customers and customer support agents face

When a customer raises an issue and we don’t respond or fix it on time, then the customer feels frustrated and loses faith in us. This gives much more meaning to giving higher priority for customer issues on the tech team than on regular dev work which we prefer doing.

The internal tool that customer support uses to get data on customers doesn’t show the cursor or highlighting in the input box. It’s hard to know whether something is selected or not. Easy thing to fix but never got priority.

Customers don’t GET our product

While we think our product is easy to understand, many customers don’t know how it works. Sales guys just talk about the benefits, not the “how it works”. On boarding started just a few months ago so a lot of older customers are left out of it.

Customers want someone to hear them out

Half the problem that customers have is that no one listens to their problem. Just listening, understanding and assuring them as a human being rather than a robot that goes through a script goes a long way in repairing the damage done.

On Boarding is long and boring

Our customer on boarding spends more time on spoon feeding the features than on why it’s important to use it regularly. We should create a video out of it and only talk over the phone on the importance of regular updates.

Testing and slowing down while development is important

We devs aren’t doing a good job of testing. This directly affects the customer when it doesn’t work in the real world.

How to speak to customers

We learnt how to listen to the customer, understand their problems with patience and how to get data that we needed from the little information provided by customers.

Some customers don’t understand theme changing or want it

Our vision was to use the right theme that works the best for the content on the site, the category of business and the city from which the visitor comes from. This is a new concept which isn’t getting a lot of love from the market.

What we need to fix

We respond late

When the customer reaches out to us, we either take too long to respond or take too long to fix his/her issue.

Forgot password email is going out many hours after it is requested

This is hampering on boarding calls and irking our customers.

Unrealistic expecation setting

Some in our sales team are promising rank 1 on Google within a week. While this is being addressed by our verification calls, older customers still are facing an expectations mismatch

Crawling isn’t happening for some sites

This needs deeper investigation. No crawl means no discovery.

Websites are being created with incorrect email and phone

Initially, customers don’t have the trust to divulge their information. Or sales agents are in a hurry to create a website. After payment, the customer calls us to change it. We have disabled them changing their primary number because it got abused by people who would resell an already sold website.

Lots of theme changing requests

We need to provide the option in Manage and Boost to let the customer chose the theme. And until that happens, we should add the option in our internal tool so that customer support can do it without coming to engineering.

SEO report for everyone

We only send an SEO report for those for which we get data for from a third party. We should send it for everyone, even if the report says that you don’t show up on Google at all. And then encourage them to update.

Primary number change

Customers want to change their primary number. Primarily because they were on boarded with a wrong number. We should give a way to do this through OTP

Fake reports misconception

Some of our customers are mistakenly thinking number of visits to be the number of people who are visiting their site. And thinking that those numbers are fake. We should consider showing unique visits before number of visits.

On boarding of older paid customers

We should start explaining the concept of our product and importance of updates to older paid customers.

There is a time to resolve promised in email replies

This might be higher for complex issues. That needs to be communicated.

We need a better way to deal with hard to reproduce issues

It’s hard to reproduce issues that happen intermittently or only in certain specific scenarios. We don’t have a good way to deal with those.

People ask us to unsubscribe instead of using the unsubscribe link

We used to have an issue where unsubscribe didn’t work. We fixed it. Our current hypothesis is that unsubscribe isn’t prominent enough

Physical on boarding

Many customers are asking for someone to go to their place and explain things. This is an expensive affair and might not be feasible in some small towns.

Customer support agents are subscribing themselves while onboarding

This is leading to tickets on customer support any time the customer makes an update. We need to stop doing this.

Spam tickets

Auto replies and invitations from LinkedIn because the customer support’s email is in NowFloat’s LinkedIn account. Emails from competitors are creating tickets.

Multiple tickets for the same issue

Sometimes, replies to the ticket are creating new tickets. This needs to be looked into and fixed.

A few weeks ago the dev team dedicated every Tuesday to resolve customer issues. In the coming weeks, we’ll spend that time fixing the above issues.


Making small business, bigger


Written by





Making small business, bigger

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade