Why Programmers Must Do Customer Support

I am constantly amazed by what the programmers at Skyrove come up with. With the minimum of intervention, our 2 full-time programmers seem to know what’s most important and what they should dedicate their time to.

Exploring this a bit, it dawned it on me: Skyrove programmers also do customer support. They have to help end-users get online at WiFi Hotspots and they need to help Hotspot owners set up new hotspots and help process paymentst to them. These tasks lie primarily with our technical division and accounting, but we rotate incoming phone calls to whoever is available.

Now, as any programmer would know, tech support is less fun than coding. The result of programmers having to do customer support is that they very quickly implement fixes that would prevent them from having to do customer support in the first place!

For example, it’s quite common for customers to have trouble sending emails from public WiFi hotspots. The reason for this is that most ISPs don’t allow mail to be sent from any client that is not on their network. A dedicated tech support representative can easily help a customer within 5 minutes to change some settings on her computer to use another mail server. The tech support guy would be quite happy with this outcome, as he’s done his job perfectly!

Not so with a programmer! A programmer has just had 5 minutes of his day wasted and has been distracted from doing something more fun. The result: The programmer spends an hour re-writing Skyrove’s firmware so that in future all emails will be automatically forwarded to a working mail server. The programmer never has to help a customer again with this particular problem.

Rinse and repeat this process, and you’ll soon find less and less customers phoning in with problems. Just imagine how efficient our banks would be if the consultants who dreamt up their systems were the same ones to provide customer support?  

One thought on “Why Programmers Must Do Customer Support

  1. Our programmers, at Smart-it Accounting do spend some time on support and the results, changes that flow from this is really outstanding and time well spent.

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