The new Tendenci helpdesk system has been a real eye opener for us. I fear we have let you down, actually I know we have, and I also know the blame resides squarely on my shoulders as CEO. Nobody else. If you have great people (and we do, and we’ve lost some of them now) and the results aren’t great to stellar then it is a SYSTEMS PROBLEM. And that is a CEO’s job. I can dissect it down to particular leverage points, staffing levels, transparency, lack of integrated systems, a naive belief in accepting suggestions from everyone without stress testing them, etc, but ultimately it falls on me.
So let’s be clear about who is at fault for our turn-over of late. Me. There are many things in hindsight I should have done to prevent it. It has cost me personally, professionally and on every other level. As a CEO you don’t get that luxury. Because it’s not about me, it’s about you. And isn’t that the real issue? It’s how it has impacted everyone else. We all count on Tendenci to just work!
I’m familiar with failure. It hurts more when it is your friends. I won’t sugarcoat that. Nor will I give up as I have an obligation to our clients and rebuilding is the only option, up to and including a few critical conversations to ensure a strong future for all of us. We need you, our clients and open source contributors, more than you need us now that we are open source and I fully get that.
LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES – NO PER USER PRICING
We liked zendesk, but as I have blogged in other places, I still view the per-named-user business model as a failed business model that is inherently unfair to clients and part time employees. The economics incentives of named-user-licensing is to create devastating silos of information to save 70 dollars a month for someone to just check in.
It is particularly harmful for remote workers who need to be able to see more information, not less, to keep up with those in centralized teams. The per-named-user-license model creates an economic incentive to do the opposite. “Does this contractor really need to use the toll road? Nah, let’s just assign them work and they don’t need to know the backstory or inside jokes of the office.” – see? Fundamentally evil.
Why did it take me so long to figure that out? #duh
I’ll grant you that some companies are starting to find a hybrid pricing model.
Hipchat has a great offering and, then, sure we upgrade for the 2 or 3 dollars per person to get the call functionality. That is reasonable. But we love hipchat internally.
Salesforce? Not reasonable. Long term contracts, integrators that don’t work and nobody held accountable. They aren’t so much “no software” as “software that isn’t as evil as Oracle.” – not a big differentiator IMHO.
Given a choice I prefer to work in the environment we program in – Python/Django/Postgres/Ubuntu and hence we went with Django-Helpdesk to organize and provide transparency and accountability. Drop in Django-Model-Reports and I can actually see the level of support my clients are receiving. And while clearly my responsibility, results are results and they completely unacceptable.
The data and timelines were just hidden. No more. You can’t manage what you can’t see and I can see it now. I will need some help from clients to copy their support email account to keep from reverting to silos again.
SIMPLIFY SIMPLIFY SIMPLIFY
For the helpdesk and ongoing projects in the shop, with candor, it may take a month or longer to dig out and create a refined simplified simplified simplified system. But we’ve done it before and we’ll do it again.
Thank to our clients for your patience. I frustrated a lot of clients and lost some great clients and employees as a result of not having systems in place. I apologize.
IT’S ABOUT CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
Yet as I have said many times –
“Clients don’t want great customer service, they want great customer satisfaction. They want the software to work so they don’t have to call in and get a quick response. They want it to work so they don’t have to call or email in the first place.”
– we need better systems. This is one of them.
We will be announcing partnerships to fill in and take care of holes made apparent by the extreme transparency of the new helpdesk system.
We will start with differentiation. Clients on paid support contracts should and will go straight to the top of the queue. Our old systems didn’t have the ability to filter and prioritize. Now we can. I will announce these partnerships, some with former Schipul/Tendenci employees who already are familiar with our clients and strict security systems.
We will do our best to forge ahead, rebuild the client contact and communication portions of Tendenci the company. Our technical team is still charging forward with long term goals rest assured. Like the return of the newsletter generator.
I thank you for your business, your contributions to the software, for being a part of the global tendenci team, and for not giving up. I won’t either. It’s not me or you, it’s us. #peace