The way we manage support at Simpleweb is unique. So much so we created our own SaaS tool to manage it – Taskcoin. We love it, we think you will too.
There will always be unpredictable ad-hoc incidents to deal with when it comes to supporting a product – third party API changes, incompatible updates, usability issues, the list goes on. Ensuring skilled people are always available to quickly deal with such issues, while budgeting for the variable costs involved can be a difficult problem for many new businesses to manage. It’s also often overlooked and is essential for success.
As revenues increase the options for Service Level Agreements (SLA’s), retained teams or even dedicated employees all become good options for handling support. This is not the case for many start-ups, where a little ad-hoc emergency help is all that’s needed. For any agency like Simpleweb, it’s also too expensive to keep developers simply waiting around “just in case” they are needed, so where is the middle ground?
At Simpleweb we’ve evolved a system of credit-based support over the years that provides predictability for both parties; freeing our team to work quickly and autonomously on urgent support requests without admin or scheduling delays. This unique way of working hits the right balance for everyone. Efficient support, predictable costs.
Support issues need an immediate, frictionless response, not delayed by admin, estimations, contracts, invoices, payments and so on. Costs still need to be tracked and managed though, and everyone needs to be in the picture. This is where Taskcoin and credits come in.
Credits are purchased in advance, in packs of 8, with discount bundles available too. Each credit is worth an hour which can’t be split; a credit is a credit.
We always encourage clients to maintain a balance of credits in advance of any issue occurring. Think of it as insurance. It’s better to be prepared and covered than caught out with the unexpected. With an available credit balance, the team can jump straight in and investigate issues, deducting the appropriate number of credits from Taskcoin as they go.
We don’t estimate for support (as it’s often quicker to fix something when investigating), but if it becomes clear a task will take more than a few hours or exceed an existing credit balance we stop and discuss the best way forward. A fair, quick route to fixes, that manages costs.
Simple overview for clients
Until now Taskcoin was an internal tool created and used only by the Simpleweb team to track support credits. We’ve now rolled version 2.0 out to all of our clients – keeping them fully in the picture with support tasks via timely automated notifications and a simple overview. Everything is transparent, simple and clear.
Works with any support system
For simplicity, support requests are sent to Simpleweb via a dedicated, shared support email address. We also happen to have this hooked up to a Slack channel so that the whole team has visibility on incoming requests. None of this is actually tied to Taskcoin though, indeed, any support desk (we use Helpscout) or email system can be used in conjunction with Taskcoin. We wanted to ensure a decoupled system dedicated to the single activity of managing credits used to complete tasks. Simple, lightweight and efficient. Simple is good.
Email (via Helpscout) is used to maintain client communications, with tasks from support requests being added to Taskcoin at any stage. This can be used to simply track credit usage, or for long-running or blocked tasks to check on progress and ensure nothing slips the net with the passage of time.
Taskcoin works so well for us and our clients, we’ve realised that we’re not the only business that needs this solution…
If you would like to know more about Taskcoin, or about working with Simpleweb, please get in touch.
If you’d like to discuss your startup or project, get in touch with Simpleweb today.