Tag Archives: process

Don’t leave your customers hanging while you debug

Has your team ever found a bug or had one reported by your customers? If you are in the software business then you likely answered “yes.” So you direct the team to resolve the bug – while also performing other tasks which they were already working on. This alone has cost your team time. Your team states this will only take five minutes to resolve.

Eventually it is time to test and deploy the solution. During which time you find that testing fails, and you need to go back to the customer for additional feedback for a retest. Before you know it, five days have passed and you have not provided a solution but worse than that your customers have no idea what is going on because they have not been kept informed of what your company has been doing.

What can you do about it?

So the moment that you or aware that there is an issue with your product – before you start working toward the code fix – put together a process for how your brand will interact with it’s customers. This might include the following:

  1. Acknowledgment of the issue and a brief description, date and time when it was identified. Display this to your customers on a webpage so that you can make updates. Then maybe send an email to your customers that points to that webpage. See examples in the “Delivering Status” section in this article @ http://wpsaas.net/3-reasons-document-status-crisis/
  2. Have your team think through and create a workaround. A workaround is a set of steps that your customers can use in the short term to solve the issue until such time as a code fix is available.

This does two big things for you right away.

  1. You provided your customers with a solution. All be it short term, it is still a solution and that is what your customers want.
  2. Your team can focus on the long term without feeling rushed or pressured otherwise known as fire fighting which often leads to poor code and future issues.

For example – Let say your customers can’t update their profile information because of other work you are doing to the code that powers that section of the website, so all they get is an error message. That leads them to create a support request. These will come into you ticketing system in addition to the others that you receive already.

As a workaround, maybe you provide an alternate page with a simple form to gather that information or only their email address. Your team can then later enter that data manually into the database once the issue has been resolved OR advise the customers to do it themselves via email.

The primary point being, that the customer was not inconvenienced or left hanging while your team worked to resolve the issue.