Live support is like standup comedy. It’s brutal when you get it wrong.
I worked my way through college providing frontline support answering whatever came in through the door. Sometimes it was “the bathroom is there”. Sometimes it was “have you considered a different major?”
Live support is like standup comedy. It’s great when you can touch people and ease their pain. And it’s brutal when you get it wrong.
That’s interesting because i was just thinking about writing an example article and mock chat about site language.
Site language is an especially pressing problem because it changes all the menu items. How may of us have chosen the wrong language on a gadget and then been lost as to how to change it back because all the instructions are in that language.
Back to the post you linked to. This is a good example of someone having multiple issues and lumping them all in one message. That’s not a problem, however it makes it a little bit more challenging to solve it asynchronously. Chat is a remedy for that.
Well, I guess it’s all relative. Someone having to wait two days to find out that the browser they are using (which is default on windows machines) can’t view the site? Doesn’t seem like a success story to me. It could have been cleared up in about 2 minutes with a live chat.
We also need to be aware of success bias (is that the proper term?). It’s really not possible to know how many people have the same experience this person did but never reached out. For those of us who live on frequently use forums, it may be hard to imagine that most internet users have never even registered on a forum, let alone would know how to post a troubleshooting request.
This person was also exceptional in that they were able to describe their problem in a way that someone could understand it mostly in one go. Also the ability to share a screen shot is uncommon. By seeing the screenshot showing Edge it was fairly easy to suggest a solution.
I would guess that for this particular user, if there was a help site (that they could still access when the language of the site was switched to Chinese) they probably could have diagnosed their own problem. But again, we just have no way of knowing how many people are just giving up.
[By the way, if the site is truly impossible to view on Edge, can’t we have a notice for people using Edge of this fact?]
In the software industry we build software based off of items that are in what’s called, the problem space.
We gather problem space items from quantitative and qualitative customer feedback from a wide variety and a large amount of customers. This feedback helps us determine what the customers underserved needs and wants are.
Then we build a solution for it.
What try to to do is prevent building software based solely off of good ideas. These are what we call delighters. A delighter is great, but it is more to set your product apart from another product to pull people over to your product and is not really a core necessary function.
If you only build delighters that have no core function or serve underserved needs or wants then they usually become wasted time and effort.
Purely my opinion:
Your idea is great. But from a product perspective, it’s important to make sure that the great idea is a need or a want from the majority of users.
I think I understand your point, that one shouldn’t create unneeded features. However I think there are someways in which this model doesn’t quite fit.
First, we don’t have a way to collect data from the people who gave up on using the site because they had problems. That I can think of. That makes it hard to do decision making in the way you propose. So part of the idea with the project is that it would be tried as an experiment. If after 3 or six months it proved to be unnecessary, or if we gather enough data on the problems people have so that we can solve them some other way, then great. We’ve learned something. And we’ve improved non-live help or reduced the major issues.
I think it’s also important to remember that what I imagine as live chat is not part of the suttacentral.net website. There would simply be a link to a help website from which people could do a chat if they wanted. So the danger of it complicating the main website would be near zero, eh?
Oh, without a doubt there is no need for chat support for the majority of the users. The site isn’t that bad. So again, I’m having a hard time applying your method to the problem.
I think we can safely say that the majority of users who have a problem using the site would like to solve the problem they are having. So in that sense, we could say “majority of users with problems.” Then of course you would need to break that down into percentage of those users who would want chat to solve their problem. How to know that? If we had a help site, we could track usage and see at what point people opted for chat I suppose.
Personally, I’m coming at this from a Dhamma perspective. If I had the opportunity to help someone overcome the hurdles they are facing to access the suttas, then I would want to take it. Volume wouldn’t matter. And frankly the method of giving help doesn’t matter either.