Archive for the ‘Customer Support’ Category

FileCloud and VPAT Compliance

Web Accessibility Series – Part 2. To read Part 1, click here

FileCloud is committed to ensuring that the platform, whether Online or Server, is accessible to all users by embracing industry standards and guidelines such as VPATTM (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) and WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).

VPAT Compliance and WCAG Guidelines

Since the 20.3 release (December 2020), FileCloud supports VPATTM 1.1, 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.1.3, 2.2.5, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1.1, and 4.1.2.

“A Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is a document that explains how information and communication technology (ICT) products such as software, hardware, electronic content, and support documentation meet (conform to) the Revised 508 Standards for IT accessibility. VPAT helps Federal agency contracting officials and government buyers to assess ICT for accessibility when doing market research and evaluating proposals.”Section 508 official website.

FileCloud also follows WCAG 2.1, which enables users with limited accessibility to work with FileCloud.

“Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. Following these guidelines will make content more accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including accommodations for blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, and combinations of these, and some accommodation for learning disabilities and cognitive limitations; but will not address every user need for people with these disabilities. These guidelines address accessibility of web content on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. Following these guidelines will also often make Web content more usable to users in general.” W3C definition.

By following these design guidelines, FileCloud is more user-friendly to all users. In this blog post, we’ll go over a few elements that demonstrate FileCloud’s VPATTM compliance.

FileCloud Enhancements for Accessibility

FileCloud has been designed with the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPATTM) in mind and offers a variety of options to improve usability:

  • High contrast mode
  • Color options
  • Visual cues
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Dark mode
  • Non-blocking operations for long-running tasks
  • Support for color customization and themes
  • Complete translation in multiple languages

High Contrast Mode

One of the recommendations from W3C is to provide a style switcher for a High Contrast mode.

This mode is available from the user UI and can be activated per user through the user settings:

High Contrast Mode

When you check the enable box, the UI will immediately change to the high contrast mode:

Keyboard Shortcuts

FileCloud supports VPAT Compliance by enabling navigation of the user interface using only the keyboard. These include tab navigation through the interface, no keyboard traps, and the ability to move between frames in the user UI.

W3C Keyboard accessibility guidelines say: “If all functionality can be achieved using the keyboard, it can be accomplished by keyboard users, by speech input (which creates keyboard input), by mouse (using on-screen keyboards), and by a wide variety of assistive technologies that create simulated keystrokes as their output.” – Keyboard accessibility guidelines 2.1.

To view the list of available shortcuts, the user can click on the “Show Shortcuts” section in the user menu. Then click on “Shortcut Keys” to bring up the full list:

For more information on how these shortcuts work, you can visit the first blog post in this accessibility series: VPAT and Keyboard Shortcuts in FileCloud.

Themes and Dark Mode

The W3C distinguishable guidelines recommend making it easier for users to see content by separating the foreground from the background. FileCloud has a theme option that enables users to switch between color schemes, including a Dark Mode. This can be accomplished through User Settings.

The two bars on the right side of the theme selector allow the user to choose the hyperlink text color and the background of the button color. Once a theme is selected, the UI switches immediately:

Language Options

This feature has been available for a long time in FileCloud for select languages. Recently though, Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Chinese have been included as options for both users and admins, helping a broader user base leverage FileCloud in their day-to-day operations.

The user can update their display language from the user settings. Current language options include:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese Simplified
  • Chinese Traditional
  • Chinese
  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish


Here are some examples of the UI after the language is changed:


FileCloud continues to implement changes according to W3C guidelines and VPATTM to create a user-friendly interface for everyone. The last VPATTM assessment gave FileCloud a 75+ score, and all “A” scores were accomplished. FileCloud is working on achieving “AA” and “AAA” scores for maximum compatibility in the future.


Article written by Daniel Alarcon

Security Recommendations, Part 1: Protect Your Personal Information

Many of the topics that we will cover in this new series are common sense; however, every year, we need to revamp our personal security practices in person and online.  This installment will cover how we can protect our personal information throughout our day-to-day actions.


Don’t Share Your Personal Information Freely

This may seem like an obvious action, but this is also one of the most common mistakes.  This wasn’t such a high-risk problem in the past (some 5-10 years ago).  Nevertheless, we are in 2022, and your data like SSID, date of birth, full name, preferences, etc., comprise essential security access information.

For example, you may be invited to share your personal information with a store to win a prize or become eligible for a discount code.  It doesn’t matter if it’s handwritten at a physical store or if you enter your details on an online form; submitting this kind of information is no longer an innocent thing to do. The store could share or sell your information unless you specifically opt out of this kind of third-party interaction. The store could also be the victim of a hack, in which case your information would be compromised. The best way to protect yourself is to be wary of sharing your information; anyone can use it to steal your identity, hack their way into your online accounts, or any number of unsavory tasks.

In summary, don’t give out your identifying information unless you need to.


Separate your personal information from your work ID information

What does this mean?  Basically, for any personal matters (online shopping, social media, communication with friends and family, etc.), use your personal information, private email, private phone, etc.  For work-related communications, only use your work identity to communicate with co-workers and external contacts (vendors, customers, partners, etc.)

The objective is to separate your identities and keep them separated in every interaction.

This applies to your computer usage as well.  Most internet browsers can save multiple profiles (like Google Chrome).  This will help you keep your data where it belongs, so you can avoid mixing your identities and help categorize your information.  Your search history, open tabs, browser extensions, and more can be saved to distinct profiles and easily accessed or updated if you have “Sync” enabled:

Creating and maintaining this separation in your mobile device can be somewhat challenging, but you can still apply the same principles and set up profiles for web browsing and apps.


Secure Your Information on Your Mobile Device

Security on mobile devices is a major topic on its own, but you can take certain steps to protect your personal information by following some simple recommendations:

  1. Always enable security to unlock your phone. Even though face ID is replacing the fingerprint scanner, choose the fingerprint scanner when possible.
  2. Don’t store important information in notes on your phone. Even though it may be practical, never store personal information on messages, pictures, notepads, or similar apps on your device. If you want to keep this information at hand, use a secure application or database for storage and access, like KeePass.
  3. The device and its content should be encrypted at rest. Always enable encryption, when possible, even with microSD storage. In the event of a lost phone, no one will gain access to the information stored in the device.

These are just basic recommendations to protect your personal information. In future articles, we will go more in-depth on encryption at rest, email communication, sharing private data securely over the internet, and other topics.


Article written by Daniel Alarcon


Using “Folder Permissions” in Team Folders

When companies migrate from local file servers to the cloud (for example, moving from Windows File Servers to FileCloud Online Storage), many system administrators worry about losing established NTFS Permissions.

FileCloud’s Team Folders has a built-in functionality designed to preserve these permissions called “Folder Permissions”. This functionality allows the administrator to specify custom permissions inside Team Folders for each file.

To explain, let’s use an example: a company has a Team Folder called “Customers”. Inside this main folder, it has one folder per customer, with the following structure:

In the “Customers” folder, the company wants to grant these permissions:

  • Sales Team Manager will have access to the “Customers” folder, with all file operations (view, download, upload, share, and delete).
  • Sales Team will have access to the “Customers” folder, with all file operations (view, download, upload, share, and delete), apart from subfolder “Customer 05”.
    • In this folder, the Sales Team should not have access to any file operations (view, download, upload, share, or delete), as the Sales Manager wants this information to be kept private.

To accomplish this, the administrator can do the following:
1. Share the Customers’ Team Folder with the Sales Team.
2. Edit the “Folder Permissions” in the “Customer 05” subfolder to disable all operations from the team, except for the manager.

1. Share Customers’ Team Folder with the Sales Team

From the admin portal, in the Team Folders section, select the “Customers” Team Folder. Then click “Manage” to share it with the Sales Team.



2. Edit Folder Permissions for “Customer 05”

In the Team Folder section, select the “Customer 05” folder and click on “Permissions”.

When you open the Permissions section, add the “Sales” group; by default, it will grant all the file operation permissions.


To block these operations, click on every green checkbox from right to left; they will turn into an “x”. This change blocks all operations to the Sales Team. To allow the team manager “John Doe” to perform all operations, add the correct User in the Folder Permissions section and grant all access to “John Doe”.


Close the Folder Permission window. All permissions are saved. Now, whenever a team member (not the manager) accesses the “Customers” Team Folder, they will not see the sub-folder “Customer 05”.

If the Sales Team manager goes to the “Customers” Team Folder, he will see all folders, including “Customer 05”.

For this example, we hid the folder from the rest of the team, but we can also set special permissions; for example, we can allow read access only, with all other operations blocked.

More information on managing team folder permissions can be found in the FileCloud documentation “Set Granular Permissions on Team Folders.” If you have any questions about Folder Permissions or any other FileCloud functionalities, please reach out to CodeLathe Support.

Article written by Daniel Alarcon


Real Estate Developers Secure Data Sharing – Customer Case Study

Real estate developer secures & streamlines file sharing with FileCloud  

Managing the day to day activities of a commercial real estate developer can be a challenge.  

One of the country’s largest commercial and industrial real estate developers, Belz, manages large projects across the South and entire country. They develop and manage warehouses, retail locations, offices, outlet malls, residential, land and hotels with more than 20 million square feet of developed property.  

Belz, with 20 years worth of contracts, property photos and associated files, has mountains of sensitive data that needs to be both stored and shared securely.  

Streamlined secure data sharing FileCloud is the answer 

As their business continues to grow, Belz stores and shares a massive amount of data that also continues to grow. Managing these documents dating back over 20 years is becoming more and more challenging.  

The company had been using a cloudbased secure data sharing alternative while trying to maintain a local file server. This led to continuous duplication of work ensuring that files were updated in both locations while leaving sensitive information potentially exposed in the cloud.  

Belz was facing significant issues stemming from its file handing and sharing solution. Issues such as: 

  • Security risks – with security for sensitive data being a major concern, finding a self-hosted on premises solution was mandatory. 
  • Duplication and Tracking – with files being stored both in the cloud and on a local server, it was difficult and time consuming to maintain data integrity.  
  • Complicated maintenance  challenges stemmed from a counter-intuitive user interface combined with laborious updates causing ongoing adoption and maintenance headaches 

Modernizing secure file sharing  

As things became more challenging with their existing solution, Belz was encountering more and more issues, both administrative and user relatedBetween the challenging user interface, duplication of data and difficult updates, it was time to find a more streamlined, modern solution.  

Based on their current solution, Belz realized that what they needed was an easy to use platform to ensure quick adoption, a self-hosted on premises solution to ensure data integrity and security, and a company with top shelf customer service.  

What they needed was FileCloud. 

Managing user needs 

Both users and administrators at Belz had their own requirements while searching for a new secure data sharing solution. The IT team needed to find a solution that would address them all. Their solution needed to: 

  • Be user friendly  
  • Provide self-hosted on premises option for security  
  • Allow large files to be shared and store 
  • Offer a mobile solution to allow for file sharing and sync from the field 

To read the full case study click here.

Canadian City Consolidates & Streamlines File Sharing – Customer Case Study

File Sharing for Cities

Canadian City Consolidates & Streamlines File Sharing with FileCloud  

Managing the day to day operations of a sizable city can be an ongoing challenge. The City tries its best to manage both smooth and secure operational efficiency, however, with the number of employees and users, it can be a daunting task. With many stakeholders within each department, and at external partners, an easy to use, efficient and traceable file sharing system is important. And now, with the amount of digital information moving between people, it is more important than ever.  

Where is that document? Streamlined File Sharing 

As the digitization of files and documents continues to increase, the sharing and management of these documents and photos is becoming more and more challenging. The City’s file sharing system had become a collection of individual solutions cobbled together in an effort to meet the increasing needs of moving and sharing information. The challenge the City faced was that different users were using different methods leaving large gaps in consistency, security and traceability. With some employees using FTP, some sending files via email, some sharing internally with USB drives and some using personal file sharing accounts, documents and information were everywhere.  

The City was facing significant risks associated with its file handing and sharing processes that needed to be addressed. Issues such as: 

  • Security risk – viruses and malware can propagate quickly using FTP and email while personal file sharing accounts left the City open to hacking risk. 
  • Missing files – because there were so many methods to share files being used throughout the City, with no central file location, it was very easy for files to go missing. A USB drive gets lost, an email gets deleted, or a personal file sharing account gets closed and important files are lost 
  • Version control and accountability – with files being shared so many different ways, it was virtually impossible to know which was the current version, who had made changes and who they had been shared with 

Time to Modernize, Streamline and Secure File Sharing Processes 

As the City continued to grow, it was encountering more and more issues associated with its file sharing and maintenance processes. It was time to find a secure file sharing solution that helped them to maintain a central repository for important city documents, increase accountability and tracking while addressing the ever increasing sizes of files being shared.  

The City needed to improve its overall file security and compliance and it needed to do it quickly.   

Managing User Needs 

Nearly every department had its own requirements when searching for a new system. The City’s IT team needed to find a solution that would address them all. Their solution needed to: 

  • Be easy to use for all users 
  • Provide security levels appropriate for government compliance 
  • Allow for the sharing of large file sizes 
  • Be able to track file sharing and version history 
  • Offer a mobile solution to allow for file sharing and sync from the field 

To read the full case study click here.


Big Cities Moving from FTP to FileCloud – Customer Case Study

IT Challenges in San Diego

Running the City of San Diego’s while meeting the needs and expectations of its 1 million citizens is a daily struggle.. Of course, the city tries to simplify its activities and processes as much as possible, but at this scale, complexity is a reality. Procurement, social services, city regulations and more need to communicate and share information, often with external partners, to function efficiently. Digital data helps accelerate change and improvement, but introduces new difficulties, like security and orderly exchange management of files with external partners.

Missing Until now: Security and Visibility of File Operations

File transfer plays a key role in the daily life of the City of San Diego. For lack of a better solution, the city had been using an open File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server for file transfer and collaboration internally, and for sharing files with external stakeholders. However, this situation had to be improved rapidly for two reasons. First, the FTP folder on the server was open to the public and therefore insecure. Second, the city’s IT department had no way of monitoring the transfer and use of files that needed to be shared. This created risks and issues such as: • Security Risks – Viruses, worms, Trojans, and other malware can travel easily on files that are shared via FTP and start infecting systems as the files are downloaded on other workstations. • Lack of Accountability – Not being able to track the various changes made to files as well as what was being shared with whom was creating an accountability vacuum with the various departments and external entities

The Decision to Retire FTP 

FTP has the advantage of being an industry standard, allowing enterprises across the world to exchange file-based information. However, times have changed since FTP was created. File sizes and frequencies of transfer are now far higher than what was originally envisaged. Regulatory constraints and cybercriminal firepower have both increased too. Whether in compliance, IT management, scalability, security or visibility, FTP struggles to meet the requirements of today’s business world. Even basic controls such as tracing senders and recipients in case of a security incident do not exist in FTP.

The City’s IT Department Has Its Own Demands 

The IT team for the city of San Diego needed a file transfer solution that would: • Keep track of the comings and goings of the various files for accountability. • Have the ability to set different levels of privileges for internal and external users. • Monitoring tools such as reports on usage and notifications on system anomalies. • Be Cost Effective to Fit Within the City’s Budget.

Searching for Better File Transfer 

The City of San Diego wanted a solution that could serve to streamline backups, enable secure file sharing and let users safeguard their files. The best solution needed to be easy to use and learn, so that non-technical users could switch quickly from the old system to the new. For audit requirements and employee accountability, the IT department wanted something to keep track of the trail of the various files. Finally, with many departments and San Diego facing budget cuts, the solution needed to be both cost-effective and affordable.

FileCloud Brings The City of San Diego What it Needs

FileCloud was the solution of choice. The City of San Diego was impressed by the capability of the software to sync across all devices and allow users to backup files and folders easily. Naturally, it didn’t hurt that FileCloud was also recommended by a neighboring city. After deployment, City of San Diego employees are now enthusiastic and intensive users of FileCloud. With a very light learning curve, the FileCloud platform is now being used across the 44 departments in the city. The IT department was also able to save considerable time by batch adding or removing users as needed

Well Positioned for the Future 

City of San Diego users are increasingly connected via their mobile computing devices. At the same time, the cloud is becoming a standard resource for many municipalities. FileCloud already supports this new connectivity and cloud use. It has OpenOffice integration for users to view common file formats directly in the web browser of their mobile computing devices. It offers flexibility in the types of data storage that can be used, including cloud object-based storage such as Amazon S3, Azure, and OpenStack. The FileCloud administration portal will also continue to make life easy for the city’s IT department as it deploys and manages potentially thousands of users with millions of files.


Centralized, Secure File Sharing- Customer Case Study

Texas Utility Company Streamlines File Sharing with FileCloud

New Braunfels Utilities is a community-owned public power company in Texas. As a non-profit with many thousand customers, NBU has similar business requirements to other commercial companies: store internal data securely and efficiently. NBU, however, has requirements unique to their operations: managing data that comes from daily site visits throughout the community. As a community-owned utility, NBU is about more than simply providing excellent electricity, water, and sewer services – their customers are neighbors and friends. Customer service and data security are an integral part of their ongoing success. Keeping customer information and operational procedures secure was an ongoing challenge for NBU. Inefficient and insecure data sharing leads to security breaches. For NBU, security breaches are not an option. This is where FileCloud Server can help any organization.

For the Public Good: Data Security and Streamlined File Sharing

With thousands of customers, NBU collects, stores and shares large amounts of data. Employees require easy document sharing internally and with external vendors, with the requirement that the data is secure. This is particularly important for data like pictures from site visits. File sharing that is both secure and efficient is integral at NBU. Before finding FileCloud, NBU was sharing data and moving files in several ways – using a mix of personal DropBox and Google Drive accounts as well as with email. Sharing data and files in such a manner makes it difficult for administrators to secure data as it is shared across many different channels and with software outside of its control. Using less secure personal accounts and email leaves a company open to data breaches and system infections. It also causes internal administrative headaches and lowered productivity due to inefficient and inconsistent processes. NBU needed something different. They chose FileCloud Server.

Streamlined Sharing & Security Powered by FileCloud

NBU requirements combine business, administrative, security, and confidentiality issues. In order to meet all of these requirements, NBU needs: 

  • Highly secured and encrypted sharing of sensitive data
  • User-friendly process for storing all employee data – both in the office and in the field
  • Ability to share with both internal and external partners
  • Sync and sharing processes easy enough for all employees to follow

FileCloud Tops The List

NBU started its search to replace its inconsistent and insecure file sharing solution by looking at various options. After reviewing several potential solutions, it was clear to NBU that the most important factors to them were security, ease of use, and customer support. With team members having experienced security breaches with other solutions, it was of utmost importance to the NBU security team to find a solution that keep their data secure. With FileCloud, was able to password protect data sharing and keep their files secure. The functionality of the admin portal was a huge step up for NBU. The admin team found the platform very easy to use and could easily identify what people were doing within FileCloud. During their free trial, and beyond, NBU found the service from FileCloud to be top notch. “We deal with a lot of other companies that are not like that and we have been extremely happy with responsiveness.” For NBU, the best solution to meet their requirements for a an easy to use, highly secured file sharing solution with industry-leading customer support was FileCloud. After the choice was made, implementing FileCloud was fast and easy with full support from FileCloud.

Best Alternative for Syncplicity is FileCloud for Business


Alternative to Syncplicity – Why FileCloud is better for Business File Sharing?

Tonido FileCloud competes with Syncplicity for business in the Enterprise File Sync and Share space. Before we get into the details, I believe an ideal EFSS system should work across all the popular desktop OSes (Windows, Mac and Linux) and offer native mobile applications for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. In addition, the system should offer all the basics expected out of EFSS: Unlimited File Versioning, Remote Wipe, Audit Logs, Desktop Sync Client, Desktop Map Drive and User Management.

The feature comparisons are as follows:

Features sharefile
On Premise
On Premise Storage Enterprise Edition Only
File Sharing
Secure Access
Data Loss Prevention
Public File Sharing
Access and Monitoring Controls
Document Preview
Outlook Integration
Role Based Administration
Endpoint Backup
Amazon S3/OpenStack Support
Customization, Branding
SAML Integration Under Development
NTFS Support
Active Directory/LDAP Support
API Support
Application Integration via API
Handle Large Files
Network Share Support
Mobile Device Management Limited
Desktop Sync Windows, Mac, Linux Windows, Mac
Mobile OS Compatibility iOS, Android, Windows Phone iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Pricing for 25 users/ year $1200 $3750 ($150/User/Month)

From outside looking-in, the offerings all look similar. However, the approach to the solution is completely different in satisfying enterprises primary need of easy access to their files without compromising privacy, security and control. The fundamental areas of difference are as follows:

Privacy, Security & Complete Control


Syncplicity is a public cloud that provides an EFSS solution. As soon as enterprises start using a public cloud based EFSS solution, the proclamation of Privacy, Security & Complete Control is a fallacy.

Tonido FileCloud:

Tonido FileCloud is an EFSS solution that can be installed on-premise and all the enterprise files doesn’t leave the premise. Needless to say, on-premise hosted EFSS solution provides the true private, secure and complete control for enterprises over their assets. Moreover, there aren’t any storage limits and cost doesn’t go up for additional storage.



Enterprises need to buy add-on or upgrade to satisfy basic requirements of an EFSS solution. For a 25 user package, the cost adds up to around $3750 ($150/User/Month).

Tonido FileCloud:

Enterprises get one simple solution with all features bundled. For the same 25 user package, with more features the cost is $1200 /year, almost 1/3rd of Syncplicity.

Feature benefits of Tonido FileCloud over Syncplicity

NTFS Shares Support – Many organizations use the NTFS permissions to manage and control the access permissions for internal file shares. It is very hard to duplicate the access permissions to other systems and keep it sync. FileCloud enables access to internal file shares via web and mobile while honoring the existing NTFS file permissions. This functionality is a great time saver for system administrators and provides a single point of management.

Network Shares Support – FileCloud’s network share feature satisfies enterprise requirement of user/group specific access to folders. And, as files are already shared via network shares, no need for additional setup or products to buy. Moreover, FileCloud provides Active Directory & LDAP support along with NTFS permission support restricting access to network folders to just authorized users.

Multi-Tenancy Support – The multi-tenancy feature allows Managed Service Providers(MSP) serve multiple customers using single instance of FileCloud. The key value proposition of FileCloud multi-tenant architecture is that while providing multi-tenancy the data separation among different tenants is also maintained . Moreover, every tenant has the flexibility for customized branding. MSPs who are interested in becoming FileCloud partners click here

On Premise: Tonido FileCloud is a pure private EFSS solution that will not only enable enterprises to keep storage on-premise but also run inside enterprise’s own infrastructure.

Multi-tenancy: Supports multiple tenant/sites i.e. an enterprise could have separate sites that are housed in a single installation of FileCloud. This reduces complexity and provides flexibility for enterprises.


Syncplicity is a regular public cloud based EFSS solution that supports on-premise data storage at an additional cost. On the other hand, FileCloud provides a true private, on-premise storage and installation solution at a very inexpensive price.

Here’s a comprehensive comparison that shows why FileCloud stands out as the best EFSS solution.

Try FileCloud For Free & Receive 5% Discount

Building Successful Customer Support for our Enterprise Customers

Great Customer Support


 It is not only enough to have an awesome product, you do need awesome customer support.

As a company that started out with end-customers who were using our Tonido Desktop Product and moved to business customers with Tonido FileCloud, we have had to change our support infrastructure and how we approach and work with each and every business customer. This has been quite challenging to say the least and we wanted to share how we approach this and offer you insights into our customer support setup. The following key takeaways apply to any business thinking about building a Customer Support infrastructure for their organization.

Customer Support Wins Business

Contrary to public opinion, customer support is NOT a fringe activity, nor is it a chore to be handled as part of selling the product. It is an “essential” piece of the business as important or more important than your product itself. Customer supports starts even before the sale and encompasses every interaction you have with the customer. Good customer service is invisible and sometimes taken for granted but with enterprise customers whose time is money, solving their problems or needs is invaluable and becomes a pivotal point to close new sales. It is not only enough to have an awesome product, you do need awesome customer support.

Customer Support Improves Product

One of the best ways your product is going to get better is through customer feedback. Customer feedback is provided directly sometimes, but most times it is provided indirectly by the problems reported by customers and handled by customer support. In many organizations, where there is a thick organizational wall between development and support personnel, it is almost very few items that get past this barrier. Customer support folks simply keep doing their job of handling tickets without actually sending the feedback that a particular feature or function generates a whole lot of questions. Also, soft questions on whether a product can do ‘X’ or ‘Y’? never even get outside the support organization. These are buried in emails sent by customers. Good Customer support has to bubble these requests, questions, comments, feedback up to drive the product so the next iteration or release pushes it to the next level. It also makes customers immensely happy that we are listening in. A quick and easy way to cut down the organizational walls is actually make your developers handle customer support at-least part time. An even better way is make your management folks handle customer support. At CodeLathe, everyone does customer support and it really is *everyone*.

Customer Support is an Essential Customer Relationship building Exercise

Customers who buy our products are not buying some widget that can be swapped out without any impact, they are actually buying because they like the relationship and they are comfortable with talking to support regarding any problems they might have. We, in turn, treat every interaction with a customer as an opportunity to show how responsive and how much we want our customers to succeed using our solution. We also go out of our way to make them our customer for life as we are in it for the long haul. Based on the above takeways, we went to on to create our Customer Support Mantra which aligns everyone on our team to the same goals. Our Customer Service Mantra

  • Highest Priority: Customer support is considered as #1 priority within our organization and trumps everything else.
  • Swift: Faster is better. We try to respond to every request within a max of 24 hours, averaging 1-2 hours normally and usually immediately.
  • Useful: Fast is not good if it is not accurate. We spend time understanding the actual issue at hand and then try to solve the problem fully.
  • Human Touch: Build relationships by addressing by name, taking time to write a personal note and not just be a cut-and-paste knowledge-base article. Recognize people are on the other end.
  • Always Improve: Look for avenues to improve, product, documentation and business processes. Listen to the customer, what is the customer telling us and what he is not.

Following some of these tips has improved our customer support quality immensely and all our customers are ecstatic as we continue to grow. So let me close out with the immortal words:

A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.