Jigsaw Support Changes

I'd like to let you all know about changes we are making to the Jigsaw Product Support Processes. Partly this is to keep you in the loop on the things we are doing right now but also we'll be referring to this post in support cases because one of the things we are doing might seem a little aggressive if left without explanation.

The last change we announced for support was a move to a system called "Zendesk", which allows us to funnel all support requests to one central point. So regardless of whether you log an issue in the website, Facebook, Twitter or Email - Zendesk scoops it up.

We recently extended support to cover US hours through to the end of the trading day and we are now looking at where to go next - more staff, different processes, communications with the dev team etc. 

The first change is a policy that crept in to not close cases. It's not something I discussed with the team - but it became 'the norm' to only close cases if the customer confirms a case is closed. I get that, it fits the way we work - but it has a number of downsides.

All emails to support generate a case. Much of the contact with support isn't for product support issues. Some are general questions about the markets, brokers, methods. In addition, our audience is 99% male and it appears men are allergic to reading manuals, so someone might ask a question and the reply is to refer to the manual or a knowledge base article. 

One of my rules of thumb throughout my career is to not rely on other people to do our work - and this falls into that category. Even if it is an issue and it's fixed - we should not expect you to take the time to tell us it's closed. Many of you do - and it's to say thanks - but that should not be a required step in our process.

Because of this, we currently have 2,900 support tickets open. That means we received 2,900 emails to support, replies to Tweets, Messages on Facebook or tickets opened on the chat or support system

To put that in perspective, last month we had:

  • 399 new tickets
  • 257 tickets were marked as solved (not necessarily all from the 399 in that month)
  • 192 tickets remain marked as pending
  • 51.8% of tickets were solved in "one-touch" - which means a single reply was sent and the ticket was marked as solved. For example, stuff like "How do I download instruments?" - and we reply with a KB article or link to the manual. Anything with more than 1 reply is not included in this.
  • The development team currently have 62 change request from support. That's stuff where there is a bug or a minor change request that's come via support. It also includes internal issues we found but are not reported yet - both for released and upcoming releases that have passed QA.
  • We currently have 1 non-reproducible issue awaiting escalation. It is the support team's job to give is a test scenario before development work on it. If they can't, we have an escalation meeting to figure out how to proceed.

To make informed decisions, we need good stats. Based on the above, I have requested the support team do the following:

  • Close the 2900 old issues. Some of you will get an email about an issue out of the blue about an old issue, which will seem odd. We could close without the emails - but on the off chance there's an issue that slipped off our radar, please reply that you need it re-opened.
  • Be more aggressive in closing new issues. If they think it should be OK now - close it, politely tell the customer it's closed, refer to this blog post and ensure they know it's OK to reopen it.
  • Evaluate the Zendesk Robot, which may be able to help us reduce the load by automating the handling of the most commonly asked questions. That leaves support to focus more on complex issues.
  • Ensure we aren't messing with the statistics by being nice - but still be nice. Sometimes it's like 2 Englishmen trying to get the other to go through a door first "after you", "no, after you", "Sir, I insist" - and while this is going on there's 2 Americans behind mystified at the complexity of 2 Englishmen doing something as simple as going through a door. Sometimes we reply, the customer replies thanks, we say no problem, the customer says that it really, really helped, and so on - we don't want to see that as re-opened cases, or mess with the "one-touch" statistic we'll use for automation. It's OK to say thanks - it's our issue, not yours.

The goal is to create a better customer experience, to have less repetitive work for the support team (as that's boring), and to have them focus on issues that need 1 on 1 assistance. Then for us to be able to keep the support team growth in line with the customer base growth. 

On the development side, our new development office is in full swing and so we now have dedicated full-time resources allocated to fixing bugs and a separate team for new features. We implemented that change last week.

Cost is also a factor. Support is currently free as are product upgrades. I remember being happy when my gym offered me an upgrade to a lifetime membership for $300 and then unhappy when they went out of business because everyone had one. This is the risk of taking a single payment for something that has an ongoing cost. It has to be hedged. We have done that - but we can't have 24/7 phone support with a guaranteed "pick up your call in 5 seconds". It can be done - but not at zero cost. It's a balancing act.

The goal is to use tech and innovation to reduce costs without sacrificing the quality of service. The current changes are not driven by cost but if we are putting time and energy into something - we might as well look to squeeze a reduction in costs in the process as that might be used to hire more people.

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