January 28, 2010

On failing our customers

I try to stay accessible, publishing my email address, answering my own phone, participating in our forums, etc. In normal days this means I get occasional complaints from customers, and I’m able to make that customer happy and hear about weak spots in our product or systems.

But now I’m hearing from upset customers every day. And I don’t blame them: wait times to talk to customer service or technical support can be over half-an-hour. (It hurts me to type that!)

We released Logos 4 on November 2nd. Knowing that upgrades always create extra customer service, we planned appropriately. We scheduled overtime, extended our hours, opened on Saturday, and even catered lunch for the team the first few days.

It’s not been enough. Within a couple weeks our reps were burning out, and we had to cut back the extended hours. We started hiring, but too slowly. We kept thinking “the rush is almost over.” But it’s still not; Logos 4 upgrade sales were more than double my expectations, and in the first eight weeks of our release we had as many users move to our new platform as move to our platform in an entire “normal” year.

And now we’re facing limits we didn’t even consider. We need to recruit, interview and train more service agents. We need to shuffle departments to make more space for desks and chairs. We’re out of phone lines; we’ve hit capacity on our telephone trunk line. (The one I thought would last us forever!) And our six-year-old phone system that was supposed to grow with us? It was discontinued the year after we bought it, and we’re having problems expanding it to support a second receptionist.

Our goal for customer service is every email answered in 24 business hours, every phone call answered — by a person – in a few rings, and no more than two minutes, if any, on hold.

These are ambitious goals, and we’re not meeting them today. I’m sorry. But we’re working hard to get back there as fast as possible.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the post Bob. We know this is where you’re at. For some reason I believe it’s helpful to see it in print.
    This may not change the state of things by posting it, but it will help to defray some criticism as people get an opportunity to realize you’re not being evil, you just got overwhelmed.
    I trust you Bob. I trust the company. It’s why I’ve spent thousands over the past few years buying from Logos.
    And I’ll do it again.

  2. This post does more to keep me as a customer than any amount of PR spin ever could. We’re behind you. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. I’ve had only positive experiences with Logos –extremely positive. This Fall you earned a customer for life.
    Thanks for being humble and open about the reality and opportunities before you. (That’s rare yet builds customer trust.) Sounds like you’re not just “trying” to improve, but training for the future as well.

  4. Praying for you all. I love your service and your product. Thanks for your humility.

  5. Bob,
    Thanks for sharing. This is exactly why I’ve been a customer of Logos for nearly 15 years.
    You make a great product, you keep your customer needs in focus, and you do it with integrity, wisdom and vision.
    You have a customer for life, and as Thomas so eloquently said, “It’s why I’ve spent thousands . . . buying from Logos. And I’ll do it again.”

  6. Mark Bainter :

    Wow – I am duly impressed. I’m not (currently) a customer of Logos I admit, as I don’t have the cash to plunk down for this type of software – though I do confess to having to guard myself against coveting some form of it. ;-)
    I do so wish that more businesses were willing to simply be honest with their customers. Granted, the market you’re targeting makes it a little more likely to be rewarding, but still most people just want you to be honest with them, and will bear with you if they can see you’re working things out.

  7. Jeremy White :

    While the delays can be a little frustrating – unlike some other companies at least when I get to through to someone I’m finding my issues being dealt with very proactively. This puts you in a good position because it is a lot easier to add a few more phone lines, etc then to change an entire company culture.
    BTW, I have no sympathy for your capacity issues. If you must insist on putting out a great product (even taking account some of the not quite rolled out features) and sweeten the deal with some very attractive discounts then you’ve just got to take your lumps like everyone else :)

  8. Bob, I know how it must have pained you to write that, but I pray the pain is negated by our appreciation of your honesty. I have been a Logos customer for… I don’t know, did you have a CP/M version? :)
    I have been known for my complaints of the product from time to time. However, I hope you receive it the way I intended. After all, what would be your incentive to improve the product if everyone was satisfied?
    Logos was, is and will continue to be the finest Bible study software on the market. Keep up the good work!
    Gerry

  9. Karen :

    I appreciate all your hard work.

  10. Robert :

    Bob,
    I’m glad you posted this.
    As TC said..to see it in black and white helps me get a handle on what you’re facing…
    It’s a good problem to have and your honesty in this has only endeared you to your customers even more.
    God bless you all for your efforts.

  11. Alan Gielczyk :

    Bob,
    I have read some comments on the forum that indicate some dissatisfaction with Logos 4, and I have had to wait a couple of times when I have called. I even hung up once. But what I think about during this time is how wonderful Logos has been to me over the past five years. How you all have never failed to exceed my expectations. How when I found myself in difficult times you all were a shining light when I needed it.
    I know this has to weigh heavy on you right now but just know the vast majority of us understand and will be here when Logos makes it through this time of transition. Thank you for this post Bob and hang in there, we are praying for you.

  12. Phil Faris :

    Cheer up. L4 is the best thing that has happened to me in years. I am an IT tech myself, so that might make me more tolerant of the learning curve. But 90% of the comments I’ve viewed would go away if users just got a new $249 PC somewhere. Thanks for releasing this when you did. Not a moment too soon.

  13. Jeff Straub :

    Bob:
    As someone who has been put on hold twice in a week with wait times of 45 minutes, I appreciate this candor. At the same time, I really hope Logos, which I love, does not collapse under the weight of its own success. Slower, steady growth might be better. You have pushed a lot of new product out lately. And I love the stuff, but hey, I’ve been using books for years, a few more months won’t kill me while you expand!
    Keep plugging,
    Jeff

  14. Sid :

    Bob,
    Thank you for your honesty. I will be praying for you and the staff. You have the best bible software ever. Thanks

  15. Kevin Becker :

    Bob,
    Thanks for your candor. We’re rooting for you and Logos as you go through these growing pains.

  16. JJ Miller :

    Bob,
    Thanks for your transparent openness. Know that we understand. Success can sometimes be harder to deal with than the opposite.
    To make your life easier, quickly go to the phone and hire me! Can’t wait to get started! :)

  17. Al :

    Bob, thanks for the post. I have some issues with the company – frankly, the perceived theological bent of the company is far more conservative than I – and it’s reflected in the sometimes “not helpful” materials for me.
    And I do get occasionally frustrated at the lack of quality more “progressive” material.
    BUT, I believe in the company. Period.
    And I will continue to buy products as they interest me.

  18. Donn Heinrich :

    Bob,
    Thank you for all you and your team do for me (and my Mac) so that I can have the greatest Bible software in the world!

  19. Jeremiah M :

    Your post here is appreciated. Apparently L4 is a greater initial success (as far as sales are concerned) than you expected! Thats not a bad thing. Keep up the great work!

  20. Maybe its time to start hiring people to work from home? I know a guy in Illinois that really needs a job :)
    It’s a delicate balancing act we participate in. A Christian business and Christian customers trying to love one another in front of a non-Christian world. It gets thick sometimes.
    You keep working hard and I’ll keep working on being patient. In the mean time can I please access my library on my iPhone now, before the Mac version is done? I’m laughing out loud…really!

  21. Mike T :

    No complaints here… love the product. Thank you!

  22. Jonathan Sine :

    I’ve with Logos for years and not going anywhere. I have always been greatly impressed by customer service. Thanks for the product, the hard work, and your honesty. May God bless you and those using the software to declare the Word of God!

  23. Michael Scoggins :

    Bob,
    I have seen the frustration that you talk about on the forums with some people even asking for their money back until Logos gets finished adding all the features that were promised. Thank you for being honest, not let me be honest. Customer frustration, constant updates and indexing, a very bad economy ( I know of some churches losing their buildings)and yet the discount is going away this month. It really does not make sense to me.

  24. Charlene :

    Thanks, Bob, for your honesty…and for everyone’s hard work. It is appreciated, even though we don’t say it enough. The product is great and it will continue to get better. That we know. Logos is the way to go!
    Keep up the good work!

  25. Brian Blanchard :

    Logos customer service, even with this workload and backlog, performs better than many software companies–including your former employer. Don’t over-hire for the short term workload–unless the excess staff (in a few months) can be funneled into Logos4 resource conversion or Marketing with Dan!

  26. Robert Warren :

    Hi Bob:
    I gave my opinion on your customer service ethic in the forum post below, which was made shortly after I became familiar with the Logos forum. I hope it is encouraging.
    http://community.logos.com/forums/p/3483/31746.aspx#31746

  27. Bob,
    Posts like these are why I believe in Logos. Thanks for being real. Holding for 30 minutes is annoying… it’s a lot better knowing how “not ok” you are with that.

  28. As a user from w-a-y back, Logos has always be a cut above, not only with service but with a product that significnantly multiplies my ministry! Just as I’ve “grown” in my years, I can “grow” with Logos in these years and look forward to greater things when attitudes are guided by thoses like yours. And, I do believe you haven’t called some other companies for any “assistance” of late, you’re miles ahead even now! Thanks!

  29. Ouch. I really sorry to hear about that phone system. That’s just wrong.

  30. Jonathan Burke :

    Bob, much to my embarrassment I only recently realized that you’re the president of this company. I have noted you as a regular contributor on the Logos forums, but thought you must just be one of the programmers or software developers. I never dreamed that the president would be directly in touch with clients in the way you are. The time investment involved must be immense.
    I’d like to echo all the sentiments expressed previously. Logos has a massive client base not only because of the excellence of its product, but also because of the incomparable level of client service. Failing to meet Logos standards of client support means you’re still above the industry average.

  31. David Bailey :

    My Logos experience has been positive for years; keep up the great work. I applied for a sales position at Logos (20 year pastor; longtime Logos user; Ph.D.; familiarity with biblical languages; computer proficient; great people skills; great presentation skills) but was turned down. I would like to call you “boss” some day!

  32. J Morris :

    Thank you for the post, very encouraging, and I hope you have been encouraged by many of the purposely up-lifting posts here. Good to see Christianity at its best in these responses.
    So much is expected from you and your company. It’s your own fault for grooming us to expect the very best because of all the great past experiences from so many concerning their interaction with Logos… :P
    Praying the Lord will continue to bless you, your family, and Logos.

  33. Bob, as always your honesty and straight forward approach has been a definite blessing to me personally. I have used Logos for about 7 years and the service from every department has been exceptional. I recently had to contact a department in regards to being a Logos Ambassador. Even though I did have to wait I still received the same exceptional, friendly service from the Logos family. Your approach in dealing with Logos users with compassion and understanding while producing a great product has been one I take to heart daily. The Logos family is doing a great job and will come out on top. Those calling or e-mailing in need to remember to maintain a Christ-like attitude. It does wonders rather than getting upset.
    Thanks again and God Bless.

  34. Steve Maling :

    Hi, Bob,
    Because I check your blog infrequently, I did not see this until today’s Logos Blog post referred to it. THANK YOU for it. On balance, I’m amazed at how well my transition from L3 to L4 worked. My early frustrations were dealt with courteously, patiently, and in ways this non-geek codger could grasp. (Not unlike your conversation with me at the Portland roll-out of the first bus tour when you helped me see I needed to add a base package (Originial Languages)to my disparate collection. So I’m another longer-term customer hooked for life who remembers Logos and all its fine people in prayer in good times and in challenging times.
    All the best,
    Steve

  35. Dale Durnell :

    Bob, as always, I truly appreciate your openness about the company, your products, service, and relationship with us (the customer base). I rarely see that level of interest on the part of management in today’s world (it reminds me of the early days of WordPerfect).
    I’ve been using Logos for something like 10 or 11 years. You won me over from the competition with the depth and quality of your resources. I was with you on the leading (cutting) edge of Series X and again with L4. Not every change, not every new innovation, has been well received (even by me). But, growth (and change is inevitable, even if not always necessary). Which, brings us to your present dilemma.
    I for one, know your folks are working as fast, and as hard, as they can. but, when that’s not as fast, or as hard, as necessary or deired, I understand and appreciate your frustration. And, when the infrastructure won’t support what the people need to do, I *REALLY* understand how frustrating that can be.
    In all our years together, never have I ever had an issue that hasn’t eventually been resolved. But, I know you’d like it all fixed even sooner and quicker. I know too that you’d like not to even have to fix things — wishing, hoping, and praying that it all works right the first time, and all the time.
    Bob, just know that this ol’ “Bible thumpin’ country preacher boy” (now in his 60′s) from Oklahoma is with you all the way, and for the long haul.
    Blessings to you Bob, and yours
    Dale

  36. Hey Bob, like Steve, I didn’t see this post until today. I just want you to know that I’m still geeking out over Logos 4. It’s awesome! I’m so proud of what you guys are doing and how much glory it’s going to bring our Lord! Keep up the good work.

  37. Kevin :

    As one of the frustrated users that tried to deal with the mess on the consumer end i pray that this is more than lip service to a community that is forced, when one seeks repentance, to forgive. I hope also that you are doing something for morale at Logos. When i called with my problem i listened to co-workers blaming one another for each others problems. I realize this was born from frustration but was unprofessional to say the least.

  38. Martin Weber :

    Bob, as one who has visited Logos hdqtrs and met everybody (including you), I must say that I experienced a culture of deep caring for one another (and for me as well), plus an amazing professionalism and integrity. If I can paraphrase Winston Churchill, when it comes to producing and distributing quality Bible software products, Never have so few done so much for so many–and in so short a timeframe. It’s easy then to be patient when considering all you guys are doing. Maybe it’s like ancient Jerusalem during the time of the Feast of Tabernacles–incredibly hectic but for a good reason. So may God bless you all, Bob, as you continue to “be there” for us the best way you can, which is plenty good enough for me. Only eternity will show how amazing you guys really are in your digital exploits, working together for us.

  39. William Dirr :

    Sir, I have been a customer for several years and I can say beyond any doubt that this product has been revolutionary. Logos is one of the best things to happen to the Church in recent decades and this is only the beginning. L4 is remarkable and I cannot begin to imagine how I would function without it. As a seminary student and full time employee Logos has made it possible to do both. This company ROCKS, and I will be praying for you all. Keep up the good work and GodSpeed.

  40. David Shuttleworth :

    Thanks for a great product and patient customer service agents. It was a very helpful that she was patient and took the time I needed, even though she and the others were really busy asnd it was towards the end of the day!!! GOd BLess You All for you hearts of service and tender ways!!

  41. Glen Curry :

    Bob,
    Thanks for your honesty–but all I’ve experienced from Logos is excellent Customer Service and an awesome product! Thanks for all you do! May the Lord bless you through this all!

  42. Fred Chapman :

    Bob,
    Before being called into ministry I ran a service business for more than 20 years. I completely understand your situation and your post affirms the perception I have always had of Logos and your entire team. This is a good challenge to have; so keep pressing forward and doing the good work you and Logos have always done. You have a very loyal customer base that is growing as a result of your vision and committment to excellence.

Practical wisdom on growing your business that you can start using today.

Get it now