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The Lake of Discontent

Our online chat support is, without a doubt, one of the most popular features of SARD.

Our users like it because it provides an instant way to ask a question, solve a problem or put forward an idea to a real human being at the touch of a button.

Administrators like it because we act as a first point of contact for hundreds of queries a day. These can range from ‘how can I reset my password?’ to a ‘how do I enter my one in seven on call emergency shift, with prospective cover’. Our customer support team are friendly, approachable and really know their stuff. It’s important to them to help and they do.

And we really like it - because it is the most useful tool to inform future development that we have.

We have operated live chat user support since 2012 and over those five years we have listened to, digested and acted upon the feedback of 1000s of users. Some of this feedback has been difficult to receive - we are incredibly proud of what SARD offers but there will always be ways to make something more clear, or easy to complete and sometimes, as much as we hope they won’t, things do go wrong.

Having live user support means that when something is amiss, we tend to hear about it straight away, when it is causing the most stress and when we may not be able to offer an immediate fix. This can be as painful as ripping off a plaster but it is just a necessary. Our live chat is our eyes and ears to the most pressing needs of our clients. Once we know how to be better, we can be.

So, when it’s so vital to us, why would any tech company not switch on live chat support immediately? The technology is readily available to install and only a small customer support team is needed to man it.

Our guess is because if you don’t open the door to feedback from the outset, implementing something later on becomes impossible.

If barriers between a company and its users have been in place for years, then opening them suddenly is tantamount to breaking a dam next to a huge lake of water - every thought, idea and of course, grievance that it has not been possible to directly communicate could come flooding in over a matter of days. That is a lot of feedback to wade through. Even the largest and most skilled support team would drown. It could take weeks, if not months to prioritise and act upon.

If the ‘Lake of Discontent’ is overflowing, it’s probably safer to keep the floodgates up!