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How not to do support

I am a business owner with multiple stores on Shopify.

I am not a developer but come from a technical background (network, infrastructure).

I wanted to setup a few new stores in different markets using different strategies and came across ‘headless’ CMS/eCommerce.

Having a decoupled frontend and backend setup to run my projects seemed like a good idea (and still is).

For my eCommerce platform, I zeroed in on Swell.

For the frontend, builder dot io seemed to check all the boxes. 40 bucks for each space/store. It includes heatmaps and analytics (no more hotjar). They even had a Shopify app - all good reviews barring a few disgruntled folks who had a bad support experience.

How bad could that be?

Pretty, pretty pretty bad

I sign up on Friday for the top tier Growth plan.

I connect my domain, follow the instructions. Easy peasy, all done!
DNS records propagated.

I create a /about page just to test and play around with builder dot io

I cannot view the draft or view the URL I just created.

The support seems to be away as it is Friday.

I can’t seem to figure out, so I send an email to help at builder dot io. I include all the details, screenshots etc.

I get a reply asking for my Public API key. Okay, here is my Public API Key.

For some reason the support was off on Monday! To your credit, you did mention you’d be back on Tuesday!

So, I get a response from support and it is so anti-climatic:

Thanks! This would actually be a great question for our technical team. Would you mind sharing this in [our forum] along with your public API key, tech stack, and the error you’re running into?

Are you kidding me? :rage: :rage: :rage: :rage:

Then why ask for my Public API Key in the first place? Why give me the hope that you’d help or that you are looking into this?

I agree to do so, because I have no choice but I share my disappointment and ask if this is how you treat paid customers?

I get a boilerplate response:

You can learn more about our support channels and how they work here: Builder Support. Our live chat feature is primarily for urgent account and permissions issues regarding Builder accounts and services, or severe bugs. Our forum is the best place to ask technical questions. Let us know when you post your question and we’ll be sure to help you out!

  1. I did not contact you via chat, I sent you an email.

  2. Your new customer cannot use your platform. The domain is not working, no page is being published, nothing is working! Do you need a decision tree to figure out if this is an urgent issue or bug?

  3. Why ask for the Public API key in the first place?

  4. Left with no other options, disgruntled and frustrated I create an account on this forum and am prompted to share as many screenshots and videos to describe my problem. I prepare my post with all the necessary information and guess what?
    new users can’t post more than 1 embedded link

Horrible.

New users have a terrible experience on your forum software. Cannot add links, cannot embed images!

Have you mapped out the user journey for a customer who has to go through your support?

Not investing in support makes you lose customers.

Make support easy for your customers. Make every interaction delightful.

Don’t let support be an afterthought or something a software engineer also has to do on top of their day job.

You might save a buck in the short term, but you will come out losing in the end.

Hey Bhavesh,

I want to thank you for calling this to our attention. The responsibility for your bad experience here completely lies on me - I pushed our team to look for more efficient and scalable means of supporting our customers by utilizing the forum more. We find when our users provide more detailed information that our engineers can read and resolve their issues more quickly, plus the forum post can be used by future users experiencing similar issues.

But this is a new process, and we definitely need to work out the kinks. Your detailed explanation of the many hiccups you experienced is incredibly helpful for us to tweak the process.

Several things you’ve called to our attention that we will fix asap:

  1. We were unaware there was such a low default limit on links and images for new accounts in the forum. That is a pretty bad experience (especially when the form asks for those links!) and I’m so glad you called this to our attention. We have removed these restrictions
  2. You are right, we need to be mindful of knowing if a message came in via the chat widget or email so we can reply accordingly. I apologize for this frustration, it’s very valid and will be corrected
  3. Re: your Q about public API keys - we ask for it because it allows us to trace back to which organization/space you are referring to in your questions to us so we can make sure we are looking up the right account info. We can, should, and will be more clear in the future about why we ask for this
  4. You are right that it is very frustrating when you have a blocking issue and we won’t be available to help for days. While today we have a live support and technical team available M-F 5am to 5p PT, we are actively working to improve this by building out a comprehensive team across time zones to provide 24/7 support, especially for important blocking issues like yours. While I can’t ensure this one can be fixed immediately, it is in active progress and expect this to be a reality at some point in 2022. We will also be more clear in the future about when / if we are away during our expected hours.
  5. Finally, you are fair to be annoyed that we send you from live chat to the forum. We will be reviewing the process and updating it with your feedback in mind. We are also actively looking at new tools to help us bridge these types of support gaps in the short term.

We looked into your DNS issue and it seems to have been caused by a race condition. The issue should now be resolved but please let us know if it’s not and we will look deeper

I really want to emphasize here that your detailed illustration of what you experienced and how each step made you feel is some of the most valuable feedback we’ve gotten on our support processes. While I completely understand if this negative experience has made you choose to look elsewhere for your needs, I just want to thank you for taking the time to share all of this in detail so we can improve. You can also always email it directly to me - steve@builder.io

Steve

2 Likes

Thank you, Steve.

I really appreciate your detailed answer and the personal note you sent to me.

For now, my initial builder.io related issues are resolved and I look forward to exploring this platform for my projects.