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I wanted to share my experience as a startup co-founder that uses Drift as both a sales tool and a help desk tool.

We started using drift on day one of our product launch. Creating a user experience that is intuitive and "makes sense" from the get-go is not my forte, and we wanted to give users who were using our product a quick way to get help. We added the drift "chat icon" to the bottom right corner of our screen as a permanent way to make it easy to get in touch.

Over time, we've evolved our usage and now have a permanent menu-icon which opens the chat window, rather than a permanent icon that floats. This is a better user experience on mobile, as well as just generally being less intrusive.

As a support tool, Drift has been IMMENSELY valuable. We're able to respond to user requests, on average, in under 48 seconds (we monitor this). Rather than a user getting "blocked" on an issue while waiting for a help-desk response, we're able to address problems in under a minute, rather than minutes or hours. This aligns with our values as a business, and Drift has helped make that possible.

As a sales tool, we've begun utilizing drift landing pages in experiments, and also as a way to help clarify questions during the sales process. Because we're mostly an "enterprise" sale at this point, it has had less of a utility as a sales tool, but I see the virtue there.

As a consumer, I dislike when companies configure their chat widget to immediately prompt me after a couple of seconds of scrolling on the site. This is a configurable setting that they've opted into, and I would prefer if companies would not do this. Hopefully, over time, the statistics will show that this is a poor user experience, and companies like Drift will discourage this in the mean case, and rather encourage it only in critical moments in the user funnel.

One of the challenges in marketing is that we tend to always devolve down to the mean when creating products. Having worked in ad-tech, I've been both witness to this, and fallen for this trap. We're often willing to sacrifice a large percentage of our user base for features that show an aggregate lift, rather than asking ourselves if there are other features that can cause similar lift but not alienate other segments of our population. This is the balance that needs to be struck when using a tool like Drift, and I'd encourage the team at Drift to lean into helping customers understand this balance.

That being said, I have a lot of faith in David Cancel, Elias, and the team members at Drift to sort this out. They're smart, they're growing rapidly, and they'll adjust as needed.

Hey there, wjossey! I'm an engineering lead on the Drift conversations team. Would love to hear more about what you think of Drift. Interesting point about user base alienation, is there anything specific that comes to mind in that area? Anything you think Drift could be doing better?

Reached out on LinkedIn. Happy to chat.

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