Drupal has been around for more than 10 years and while we've seen more and more organizations migrate to Drupal, there is also a increasing number of organisations that are running Drupal websites in the whole world and in extension in Belgium.
A few years ago most of the requests started with : "Dear Wunderkraut, we want to build a new website and ... " - nowadays we are addressed as "Dear Wunderkraut, we have x websites in Drupal and are very happy with that, but we are now looking for a reliable partner to support & host ... ".
By the year 2011 Drupal had been around for just about 10 years. It was growing and changing at a fast pace. More and more websites were being built with it. Increasing numbers of people were requesting help and support with their website. And though there were a number of companies flourishing in Drupal business, few considered specific Drupal support an interesting market segment. Throughout 2011 Wunderkraut Benelux (formerly known as Krimson) was tinkering with the idea of offering support, but it was only when Drupal newbie Jurgen Verhasselt arrived at the company in 2012 that the idea really took shape.
Before his arrival, six different people, all with different profiles, were handling customer support in a weekly rotation system. This worked poorly. A developer trying to get his own job done plus deal with a customer issue at the same time was getting neither job done properly. Tickets got lost or forgotten, customers felt frustrated and problems were not always fixed. We knew we could do better. The job required uninterrupted dedication and constant follow-up.
That’s where Jurgen came in the picture. After years of day job experience in the graphic sector and nights spent on Drupal he came to work at Wunderkraut and seized the opportunity to dedicate himself entirely to Drupal support. Within a couple of weeks his coworkers had handed over all their cases. They were relieved, he was excited! And most importantly, our customers were being assisted on a constant and reliable basis.
By the end of 2012 the first important change was brought about, i.e. to have Jurgen work closely with colleague Stijn Vanden Brande, our Sys Admin. This team of two ensured that many of the problems that arose could be solved extremely efficiently. Wunderkraut being the hosting party as well as the Drupal party means that no needless discussions with the hosting took place and moreover, the hosting environment was well-known. This meant we could find solutions with little loss of time, as we know that time is an important factor when a customer is under pressure to deliver.
In the course of 2013 our support system went from a well-meaning but improvised attempt to help customers in need to a fully qualified division within our company. What changed? We decided to classify customer support issues into: questions, incidents/problems and change requests and incorporated ITIL based best practices. In this way we created a dedicated Service Desk which acts as a Single Point of Contact after Warranty. This enabled us to offer clearly differing support models based on the diverse needs of our customers (more details about this here). In addition, we adopted customer support software and industry standard monitoring tools. We’ve been improving ever since, thanks to the large amount of input we receive from our trusted customers. Since 2013, Danny and Tim have joined our superb support squad and we’re looking to grow more in the months to come.
When customers call us for support we do quite a bit more than just fix the problem at hand. Foremostly, we listen carefully and double check everything to ensure that we understand him or her correctly. This helps to take the edge off the huge pressure our customer may be experiencing. After which, we have a list of do’s and don’t for valuable support.
- Do a quick scan of possible causes by getting a clear understanding of the symptoms
- Do look for the cause of course, but also assess possible quick-fixes and workarounds to give yourself time to solve the underlying issue
- Do check if it’s a pebkac
- and finally, do test everything within the realm of reason.
The most basic don’t that we swear by is:
- never, ever apply changes to the foundation of a project.
- Support never covers a problem that takes more than two days to fix. At that point we escalate to development.
We are so dedicated to offering superior support to customers that on explicit request, we cater to our customers’ customers. Needless to say, our commitment in support has yielded remarkable results and plenty of customer satisfaction (which makes us happy, too)