'Never had an angry user? It's likely they don't care' - An interview with Chris from Wufoo

Wufoo is an HTML form builder that helps you create contact forms, online surveys and invitations so you can collect the data, registrations and online payments you need without writing a single line of code.

Here s an interview with Chris from Wufoo on how they handle Support for their service.

Wufoo

Wufoo is known not just for its great product but also for its awesome Support. What are the things that you did initially to gain this reputation?

All you need to do in order to gain a reputation for great support is to give great support. We focused on support early on and our customers took notice. I think that people naturally expect sub-par support when it comes to email support, so just the fact that we answered questions quickly and honestly helped us exceed expectations.

Wufoo has customers across the globe. How do you manage to provide support across time zones?

Right now we have full-time support during normal business hours for the eastern US time zone (9-5). Requests that come in before midnight are answered that evening, and anything after midnight is handled first thing the next morning. Requests that come in on weekends are answered the same day.

What kind of Support channels do you have (Email, phone, chat, forums) and what s the volume like across channels?

The bulk of our support is handled through email, which comes from http://wufoo.com/support where we have a basic Wufoo form that sends us a notification email. Currently our busy days see us sending up to a couple hundred email responses out. We also have forums that get a few questions per day. We're starting to get the occasional question over Twitter as well.

What s your typical turn around time?

During our normal business hours, our initial response time averages between 7-12 minutes.

What s your opinion on phone support?

Right now we don't have plans to add phone support, and a big reason is due to the time and costs associated with providing phone support. Another reason we really like email support is that along with answering any questions somebody sends, we can also easily email links to tools and documentation that will help people help themselves in the future.

At what point did you decide to hire for Support?

Our initial support hire was made when we were getting close to a full-time workload for a single person handling support. Our first support person started in May of 2009. Before that, support days were rotated between developers. If a developer was on support that day, it was their primary duty, and no development work was expected.

You had once advertised for a support position. How was your hiring experience. Out of all the applications that you received how did you decide whom to hire?

When we advertised for our second support hire last year, we basically just put the word out through our blog and twitter feed. We are fortunate to have a lot of really great users, and it seemed like that would be the best way to reach some good candidates. And it really was -- we got a number of tremendous applicants. We went through several rounds of interviews and we've actually hired two people now that we initially interviewed during that process.

The main thing we look for when hiring for support is someone who truly enjoys helping people and providing great hospitality. Of course our customers can also be doing some pretty complicated things with their forms, so we need people with good tech knowledge, too.

Have you had any experience with angry customers?

Certainly. If you've never had an angry user, then it's likely that your users really don't care about your product or service. People who don't care just won't bother, and will leave without saying anything.

If something goes wrong, people can get upset. When that happens, a lot of anger can be defused by a quick initial response. Let's face it, there's a lot of bad (or at least bare-bones) customer support out there, across a lot of different industries. Even these days when email is common, if I'm sending an email to a company, I might expect to hear back next week or never.

If a customer is upset, but they receive a response back two minutes later, they know that at least someone is listening to them and wants to help them out. That goes a long way towards building a fruitful customer support relationship, when the customer knows you're on their side, wanting to make things better for them.

How do you split your support and dev responsibilities?

Almost all of our support is handled by our dedicated support staff today, but developers do still handle night shifts and weekend shifts. In the very early days, the founders would handle support, program, and run the business at the same time. After our initial developers were hired, we would each have a dedicated support day where your only job was to handle support.

Name one service that you have personally used that has offered you great support.

RoomAndBoard

Nithya Rajaram

Nithya Rajaram