One of my smartest friends noticed that when his support team answered emails quickly, the customer would treat this as an implicit invitation to shift the support thread into a support chat, via email.
They added a 3-hour delay before support sees any email, specifically to prevent threads from becoming chats. Note that phone support is also available; people with time-critical issues are encouraged to call in for immediate help.
The delay has been a huge success because people correctly assign priority to their concerns by selecting the medium. The back-and-forth is more focused and does not get off-track.
An unexpected bonus is that before the delay was introduced, people would often remember how one particular support rep helped them in the past and would hit reply on an old thread to pose a new question, unrelated to the original request. This was confusing (support people leave) and would mess up their issue tracking and happiness metrics.
After the delay, this behaviour went away almost completely and they didn't experience a statistically significant drop in incident satisfaction.
In conclusion, use email for email and use chat for chat. Email starts to feel like chat if you reply too quickly, and that's not a good thing.
For six months i answered all of my e-mails within minutes, because i thought that superb support was the way to go. But it only took a couple of months before i saw the negative effects - both employees and bosses started asking questions about every little problem that they encountered! This distracted me in the middle of all other work, and billing for it was impossible because they implied it only "took 2 minutes" to reply to. At the end of the sixth month, i got a large job and couldn't reply quickly any longer, now, client's only ask things of real value (billable value) and often they solve the problem themselves.
Instead, Hum addresses a much more fundamental shift in communication patterns that is already in full swing. Conversations are getting shorter and shorter, and more to the point. Most teens I know never check their email. Many of them don't even have email addresses.
Hum combines some of the core organization elements of email, like threads and subject lines, with features that many people have come to expect from their more modern IM/text/Twitter client like instant updates, presence, typing indicators, @mentions, etc. It strikes a balance between the two that helps bridge the gap from email to a much faster and more productive medium.
While it's true that they don't use email as a primary communication medium (yet) it seems likely that this is because they also don't have jobs (yet) and that it's currently easier to talk to their friends via Instagram, WhatsApp and Tumblr.
And yet they all have email addresses, because otherwise there's no way to access most of the stuff on the web. You have to sign up, and unless you're talking about a phone-centric app like WhatsApp, there's no practical way to avoid email.
Even if you can login with Facebook Connect, you still need email to use Facebook.
So, can we dispel the myth that "teens don't have email" please?
As for my referencing a support operation delaying email, I used it as an example because I wanted to demonstrate that it wasn't a half-baked notion based on anecdotal evidence from one guy.
Meanwhile, conversations are most certainly NOT getting shorter. Each message in an exchange might itself be quite short, but the conversation itself really never ends.
Ask yourself what is more distracting: a long email or a series of 80 individual "short, to the point" texts, where each one vibrates your pocket and you have no idea when the next one is coming. You already know the answer. Often times you give up trying to do anything else and just stare at the messaging interface, waiting for the next message/fix to arrive.
Don't get me wrong; I use iMessage constantly and vastly prefer texting to calling people for most trivial things. But I also gave up IRC and ICQ (dating myself) cold turkey because eventually I was forced to acknowledge that it was holding me back in life. It was not more productive; it was incredibly counter-productive.
Without leo, I would have stupidly increased my use of invective.
> Most teens I know never check their email. Many of them don't even have email addresses.
If urgent matters may come through, checking the messages only when two or three come in rapid succession is a good heuristic.
Well, of course teens have email, it's just not a primary method of communication for them (as you admit). To them, email is just how they sign up for 'real' (to them, at least) methods of communication.
This may as well be the same as 'teens don't have email'
Are they mostly talking to friends via email? Probably not--I don't think that's ever been the case with teens--but I can't imagine that they just flat out do not have an account anywhere.
There's no research to cite because as you rightly concluded, if you don't have email then you don't have Facebook or much else.
Because most teens don't have any need to be productive. This isn't a sign that the times are changing, this is a sign that the people you are using as a focus group have no need for the type of communication email facilitates.
This is a company that doesn't want my business. If I have to pick up a phone, you've already lost.
Email provides quick but asynchronous communication. Each side can take a few minutes to do research or investigation, find someone with more information, and try possible solutions, without heavy distraction.
Discarding this communications channel and demanding my attention be monopolized by a voice following a script is somewhere between disrespectful and outright inhumane.
Why do you claim the OP would have the customer monopolized by a voice following a script? How much do you know about this particular company?
In my experience it is far easier for someone to follow a script in E-mail than on the phone. If a company wants to give users the runaround there are much better ways than a 3-hour hold on E-mail replies.
OP explained how E-mail was handled. It's not discarded, it's used in a way suitable for the medium.
Trying to have a real-time conversation in email is nowhere as good as an actual voice conversation. If that's what's needed then that's the better option and people should be encouraged in that direction.
However, if the support staff needs to look into the problem a bit, and already has required information from the client, I think email is far preferable. Being on the phone is likely to put the support person on the spot to make instant answers, else appearing to lack knowledge), whether or not correct.
I know what was posted. What was posted gave me no reason to believe it's any different than 99.9% of companies. Even if it were, that would be inadequate to reverse my opinion of the stupidity of this strategy.
> In my experience it is far easier for someone to follow a script in E-mail than on the phone.
And equally easy to spot. My business is also lost at that point.
> it's used in a way suitable for the medium.
It should be plainly obvious that I disagree with that assessment.
> Trying to have a real-time conversation in email
Is not what I was talking about. Quite the contrary. The non-real-time nature of email is exactly what makes it superior to voice communication.
"Fast" and "real-time" are not the same thing.
Well, if "opportunity cost" estimates pan out, the only responce to that is "Don't let the door hit you on your way out".
Interesting observation (and "solution"). I'd say that model of dividing things is completely wrong, though. When I worked in support, I would much prefer to get everything via email. At the time we had a small user base (small office internal support) -- and this wasn't an issue -- we could educate our users (if needed).
But the general rule I've formulated, is don't let the user set the priority level. They'll be wrong. So for email, you might want to triage/prioritize every issue at once (and: eg group requests that have to do with a service being down/unreliable) -- adding a full 3 hours delay on top of every email sounds like the wrong approach for most help desks. If for no other reason than that it seems it would generate an increase in calls -- which are much harder to handle (scale) than email.
Haha, had the same experience too! Started taking longer to respond and this stopped.
As a customer, I want great service too. As a business owner, I understand that their are economics behind delivering such service, especially when customers also want low prices. There has to be a balance, and avoiding unnecessary interaction (or engagement) is an absolute key to providing better service overall.
All this particular business did was tell people that if they have a time-sensitive problem, call them and get immediate help.
Delaying replies to emails solved a number of problems and streamlined the exchange. Everyone seems happy.
If you can be un-furious long enough to consider that you might have a blind-spot, here's what I can tell you about the company I am referencing:
- they are well-loved
- it's highly likely that you are their customer or know someone that is
- it's flat, not tiered (there's no "supervisors")
- the system I'm describing is working specifically because those people that pick up are carefully trained and well paid North Americans that are actually subject-domain experts
The key detail and the reason I'm replying is because I know that what I described is working and you're not allowing yourself to imagine the possibility that it could actually work just fine.
The only thing I'm seeing Hum offer that Slack doesn't have any equivalent to is the email integration, and if I'm emailing somebody external to my team or company I'm not going to want to treat it like a chat anyway.
What does Hum offer that Google Hangouts doesn't? That just about every other alternative chat offering doesn't? (Keeping in mind that all sorts of people are already segregated by many of these services, including Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger which currently doesn't support any kind of annexing.)
Also where do you place 'security' in your list of priorities in regards to Hum. ('Secure, security, encryption, encrypted' are words that do not appear on your launch page.)
In addition, every Hum user gets an email address at letshum.com that they can use for incoming email.
Which chat program do you know can send a message as an email? And receive chat messages via an email address?
It seems the idea behind this, is that it's a "persistent chat".
Send an email to someone new from your facebook chat.
Regardless, this is clearly a different product, if you want to try really hard to think it's not, that is your prerogative.
you can build it on .NET. Don't care about XP, FUCK THESE XP USERS.
This works in Chrome: http://jsfiddle.net/dandv/wT26x/1/
I think Safari has a system for this too: https://developer.apple.com/notifications/safari-push-notifi...
CanIUse stats: http://caniuse.com/notifications
The copy could use some work, you should be able to pare down a lot of the text. Also, you could increase the font size for maximum comfort. Why is the product name capitalized? When I see HUM I think "H. U. M."
Oh, god, no. It is very well sized as it is.
Increase your display DPI instead.
It should be double the size at least. Way too tiny.
I'm sure the email you receive when it launches will give you all the information you need to remember what it is.
But I guess I'm something of a Luddite, with my flip phone.
There are so many different ways to communicate currently, that soon we aren't going to be sure what app to best contact a particular person with. You've got Email, SMS, iMessage, Facebook (Chat), WhatsApp, Twitter, and those are just are some of the top ways.
Everyone has their favourites and because of this, communication is getting more annoying and difficult purely because of the diversity of choice. Its not helped by large companies vendor locking their customers into a specific way of messaging, fully knowing that not all of the people they contact are there.
I have a strong opinion on this yet I have no real solution.
Whats the chances of the top tech companies coming together to create and implement a secure open protocol and/or app allowing end users to message anyone regardless of platform? I guess its pretty bonkers.
In a perfect world Google, Apple, Mozilla, etc would just contribute new features to the codebase, and everyone could have their own client interfaces and do unique team apps etc
*Bonus points: Jabber chat protocol addresses are the same as email addresses, they are interchangeable. One less thing to list on your business card. Socially, this mindset would potentially shift into just being called an 'address' instead of assuming it's only for email.
I have noticed we're running into this right now with iMessage, Facetime etc in giving out an 'email address' to do connect doing something other than emailing.
For a little while I actually bothered using IM, as I actually had someone to talk to (most of my friends had facebook or gtalk -- and I could talk to them in the same interface I used for xmpp at work) -- and I could keep all the logs in one place (if I needed them) -- and it all supported secure texts (OTR).
Now all my friends have access to crappy html5 chat silos that I'd rather not touch with a stick if I can help it. The things are all but impossible to use in a sane way without having to use a mouse -- and even if I could use them, I can't aggregate the logs, keep them independently of whether or not I keep the account(s) and I can't have access to everything in one application.
Why would anyone use this or slack.com rather than setting up a jabber server? If you desperately want to restrict your choice of interface, you could always deploy a html5 jabber client, and pretend there aren't good native clients out there. I'm not sure why anyone would do that, though.
Generic marketing copy, check.
Generic video with uplifting folky music and hipsters dressed like hipsters doing hipstery stuff, from sitting at a minimal wooden desk to surfing, check.
So what exactly does this bring to the table that we don't already have or does better?
Interesting, but might be a little creepy in practice, I'm not sure.
Do you have any suggestions to give the founding team? Any constructive criticism to offer? I'm sure they'd like to hear it. On the other hand, snide remarks provide hardly any value to anyone.
Sure. Does the same apply to single-sentence "This is great!" comments?
Is a new business helped by people who cheer them on with vague support without also confirming that the product solves a real problem for them?
It brings to mind some of the ideas behind having an MVP. It's almost meaningless to have people say your business idea is great. What matters is will they part with their money for it.
Empty naysayers don't contribute much, but neither do empty cheerleaders. They're just less irksome.
Snide remarks can be valuable. If everyone you pitch says "your idea sucks!", then you know you're 'probably' not sitting on a billion dollar idea. That value (from snide remarks) starts to drop rapidly once you start to get a few positive responses. Why? Of course some people will hate your idea, that's fine. The key question is: can you gain enough users/customers to build a profitable company?
A "This is great, I would totally use this!" comment is much more valuable than a "Yet another chat app, count me out." comment.
As I write this though I realize I have a pretty fundamental disagreement. Going up to someone and telling them that they're an idiot or otherwise abusing them is totally unacceptable in most social settings. Congratulating someone is not. Why should HN be different?
The essential distinction here is between personal comments and comments about a product.
There's a difference between congratulating someone on launching and telling them their product or idea is great.
I don't believe that "What a great idea" is as bad as "What a stoopid idea", but question whether the former actually contributes any more to to the discussion or is tangibly useful to anyone.
I've noticed quite often comments of the form "+1" or "Cool article!" get down-voted quickly into wispy gray. They contribute nothing to the discussion aside from a virtual pat on the back. One-sentence "Great idea!" comments feel much the same.
From your link: And since it's hard to write a short comment that's distinguished for the amount of information it conveys, people try to distinguish them instead by being funny.
Or perhaps by being super-upbeat, a more acceptable way to post without offering much substance.
That's a good question, but it's not the question I posed.
I agree that vapid positivity is easy to ignore.
Sniping is arguably worse than "+1" back-patting for the community overall, but I was asking whether vapid positivity was adding any benefit to anyone, or is it simply a lesser or different kind of bad.
As someone else pointed out, individually these sorts of three-word comments do not contribute to the discussion. In the aggregate, though, both the good and bad may have real value, at least to whomever is behind the product under discussion.
It's a weird situation because no single comment of that form provides discussion space for a response (other than perhaps meta-comments about superficial commenting) but as a whole they may drive some useful observations.
That said, I really hope 11MB splash videos on home pages doesn't become a trend.
This might even be worse than the old autoplaying music embedded on every page fad. Hell, at least you could mute it.
I took like 5 to 10 seconds to load on this connection:
.... Well Hum no thanks :)
I prefer Hangout for friends and Hipchat for work
If everybody thinks like you, than an iPhone was never invented ;-)
Team i was on at the time made a concerted effort to use wave, and we were just starting to be pretty productive on it when google axed it.
IMO, the fundamental challenge of feature-based "utility" apps like this is that big players will eventually implement the most useful pieces of it, and slowly erode your market share until you are worthless to the average consumer. The best play for these guys long term is to get acquired before the OS people take their features.
For many corporations, I think one of the biggest issues is having their internal chats hosted in the "cloud". Maybe I'm assuming too much here, but i'm guessing all of this is happening on your servers. I'd highly recommend allowing people to deploy this service on one of their own servers and also providing some sort of security guarantee. Then some of the bigger companies might be willing to move to it, and I could see how this would be a joy to use over IM/e-mail/IRC/maybe even HipChat?
Anyway, good luck on your product. Hope your launch goes well! :)
I would generally agree that the biggest market is probably for self-hosted solutions.
I'm sure there's a big market here, but companies have been reinventing the wheel here since the days of AOL. What the world really needs is for something like XMPP to gain traction and actually work in a federated way with email addresses.
Disclaimer: I wrote the Mac client for Moped.
This looks much more focused, although its unclear what it offers over Hangouts or FB messenger. The only feature it seems to add over facebook's product is a focus on conversation subjects versus social groups.
Which does make me wonder what problem Hum is solving. What group is saying, "X is really painful for us"?
Hey! you too, it's cool.
Hmm! come over, now let us find a problem.
It's web 3.0's blink tag.