customer experience
Gary Sherman
April 1, 2015

Given that I’ve been working in customer service in some way shape or form for almost all of my career, I tend to be overly sensitive to customer experiences that aren’t great.

I recently had an interaction with a support rep that irked me a bit. Email in a problem and a support case was created. Followed up the next day with an email with an additional screenshot and description with what was thought to be a related issue. The support rep responded, requesting that a new case be created instead. Basically: here’s what you need to do, so that I can have my work organized the way I want it. The support rep had all the info – if they wanted to create a second case out of the additional info, they very well could have created it themselves.

Gary Sherman
April 18, 2008

Over on IT toolbox, a recent post was inquiring about people’s experience of dealing with Dovetail. One of our customers responded:

we were a customer of theirs for about 2 years (purchased Super Email Clerk)…we moved on to a different package at the end of those two years, so we did not need them. I did Clarify work from version 5 through version 12 (from 1997 – 2004) on various projects, so my Clarify experience is pretty decent.

Everything I have heard about FC/Dovetail has been solid. Their people know Clarify, the data model, the architecture as good if not better than some of the folks at Clarify/Amdocs. The founders were clarify employees at one point. I think it also speaks a lot that they are small, dependent on this software, and through it all, they are still

Gary Sherman
April 11, 2008

Becky at the Customers Rock! blog recently detailed the FreshBooks roadtrip, which is a great example of how a company can stay connected with its customers.

I love this:

This was not a product roadshow.  This was a listening tour.

I also really like how they’re using face-to-face conversations, but also expanding their conversations using a company blog, a roadtrip blog, and Twitter.


Gary Sherman
March 20, 2008

I’ve run into two scenarios this week where co-workers asked me how they should handle certain requests. How these questions get answered shows how much you’re in a customer-centric mindset.

Customer requests a new version of a product

Within our SelfService application, we allow customers to request product upgrades. Rather than using this mechanism, a customer simply created a new support case asking to receive the latest version of one of our products that they have licensed. One of my co-workers asked me: Should we tell him to go into SelfService and request the upgrade using the mechanism we’ve setup?

Customer requests SelfService logins for his new co-workers

From our SelfService login page, we have a link that allows you to register for SelfService. If a customer doesn’t already have a login, then can fill out the form in order to get login access.

Gary Sherman
September 26, 2007

Over the last couple of years, a number of very useful JavaScript libraries and frameworks have been introduced that make it tremendously easier to build rich web applications. A few of the more popular ones:


These frameworks allow developers to easily write very rich, cross-browser web applications.

I’ve heard about these libraries for some time, and have experienced many great web apps that use these libraries.

So I asked myself whether I could use these modern libraries with fcClient. The answer is a resounding Yes!

A simple example: Modify the Save/Discard/Cancel page in order to improve the user experience. How it used to work

If a page was "dirty", meaning that data on that page had changed, and the user attempts to dismiss the page (such as by clicking the Done button), then a Save/Discard/Cancel window is posted,

Gary Sherman
September 11, 2007

In a recent destinationCRM article, a couple of Oracle execs say:

Transforming your business to a customer-centric organization starts with a CRM-focused services-oriented architecture.

I have to disagree. While I concur that well-architected solutions will make it much easier to integrate multiple systems, software architecture will not create a customer-centric organization.

A customer-centric organization starts with people and culture. It empowers people to make the right decisions. The culture shifts from a break-fix reactive mode to that of a proactive mindset. It aligns the goals of service, sales, and marketing around the customer.

Technology can help achieve these goals. But by itself, it does nothing. There are plenty of technology solutions out there that abide by good SOA practices. Just because a corporation adopts one of these technology solutions, it does not make them customer-centric.

There are plenty of organizations that are customer-centric,

Gary Sherman
August 22, 2007

The 37signals guys point us towards Twitter’s use of HelpSpot’s Help Desk software:



How do you help your helpdesk/support team give you the best support? Give them the information they need right from the start.

I really like the simple, clear, and concise labels:

This is what I DIDThis is what I EXPECTED to happenThis is what ACTUALLY happened

I’m sure this greatly helps the support team resolve more requests on the first go-round, as opposed to the all-too-common first response having to ask the customer for more information.

It’s good for the support team, and good for the customer.

Nicely done.  

Gary Sherman
July 23, 2007

well_doneI’ve blogged in the past about turning blog entries into customer experiences.

Here’s a recent real-world example of that.

Adam Esterline reviewed Watir as part of a web application testing comparison.  In his own words, "I did not give Watir very high marks."

Bret Pettichord, our Test Architect here at Dovetail, and a core contributor to the open-source Watir project, left a comment on Adam’s blog, simply asking for more info about Adam’s experience using Watir.

Bret’s comment was a pretty simple one, but it engaged Adam. Enough so to prompt Adam to revisit Watir, and try again, this time with much better results. Even more so, it was enough to get Adam to post a follow-up praising Bret:

This is great customer service.

Gary Sherman
July 19, 2007

Check out this post on How Seagate learned to package like Apple.


Not only is the packaging well done, but the “technical” manual (that doesn’t come across as technical) is as well. They obviously thought about the entire customer experience, from a potential customer picking up the box in a store, to the unpacking of the contents, to the manual that guides one through the setup, and finally to its use.

Someone obviously kept the customer experience question front and center at all times:

How does it make the customer feel, at every step along the way?

Nicely done.


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Gary Sherman
June 19, 2007

The Customers Rock! blog points us to Chad, the web concierge at Element Fusion (formerly 

From the Customers Rock! blog:

bellChad’s job as concierge is to hand-hold the customers as they take their first steps with Light and make the who experience quick and easy.  He gives out his direct line or clients can email him directly as well in order to contact him with questions about the first 2-3 sites they bring on board.  What I found the most interesting about Chad (who is a real person, by the way – that’s his picture up above!) is that he is a high-level director of IT at the company, not a low-level employee.  Being a true concierge, as in a hotel, is a part of

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