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Email support vs. Phone support #2

by Alex Yumashev · Updated Jun 7 2019
Today we received a phone call from a potential customer, who was trying to install our help desk software and requested to speak to someone from the development team. John (that's not his real name) has refused to specify his questions by email, insisting on an phone call or at least an online skype/gtalk text-chat.

This is totally reasonable. But is it possible to provide great support without any phone calls? Yes. Email support can be even better and faster.

This is my second post on this topic and this is the second time I strongly recommend reading a great blog post called Why would you want to call me? at the 37signals company blog.

To be honest and straightforward, here are some facts about email support at Jitbit Software and why we prefer it over phone support:

  1. We do the support ourselves. We do not outsource it to some huge overseas call-center in Philippines. Those call-centers, by the way, do nothing but log your request into some ticket tracking system if your question cannot be easily found in their FAQ-sheets.
  2. Support is done by the developers. If you send us a tricky question about, say, our web-based help desk you can be 100% sure that your question goes straight to the helpdesk developer. To the actual guy who writes the code and designs the database. And we guarantee that when he makes a break from his code-writing and designing, he will find some time to dig into your question and answer your email.
  3. We're most likely in a different time zone with you, since we're UK-based. This makes a phone call next to impossible. And the amount of time that we spend negotiating and scheduling the call - can be spent answering your question instead.
  4. "All fixed, please download the latest version" - that is the best answer you can get for a feature-request or a bug-report. Is it possible by phone? No. Can you request a refund by phone? Yes. But can you actually get your refund by phone? No, because a person who answers your phone-call is typically not the person who makes the decisions you need. More likely - it's just a person who sends an email to the decision-maker. Your question is being handled over email anyway.