mailbox.org offers their customers personal technical support via e-mail. Many users appreciate the free service but naturally, there is also criticism – for instance, when some problems remain unsolved or response times don’t meet the users’ expectations. Today, we want to take a closer look at the Helpdesk team and explain what they do.
Our brand and communications manager Cordula Velten talked to Sebastian „Ben“ Knopp (pictured above), who leads the mailbox.org Helpdesk team.
Ben, you are customer service team leader at mailbox.org, JPBerlin, and Heinlein Hosting. How long have you been with the company?
I started in 2014 as a customer support worker and then went on to lead the Helpdesk team in autumn 2015. That is what I do now.
What motivates you in your job?
It’s the mission of mailbox.org. The protection of people’s data and privacy is important for maintaining a liberal society and I like working for a company that really lives this idea. Our users recognize and and appreciate this as well, and it has also helped mailbox.org to become more well-known to a wider audience – especially after we won the „Stiftung Warentest“ product comparison a few months ago.
As an IT person, I am also attracted by the technical aspects, of course. One might easily underestimate the complexity of the interaction between a sophisticated server infrastructure and the groupware running on that infrastructure. mailbox.org is, technically speaking, not just a simple service but a system that has a dozen different protocols in use. Things can get complicated when you need to deal with different kinds and generations of devices, software versions, as well as individual customizations, peculiarities, and errors. That’s a lot of software from different sources and we want all of it to work in concert, which is a challenge.
What kind of support does mailbox.org offer to its customers?
When it comes to technical support, we need to differentiate between private end users and business customers. Requests coming from private users are exclusively dealt with by e-mail communication for economic and practical reasons. However, in urgent cases our support team might call back the customer on the phone if a problem can be dealt with quicker this way. Our business customers can book regular telephone support as an option in their package. And when they sign up, our product manager Holger Kötzle becomes their personal first point of contact.
How many people did you work with when mailbox.org launched in 2014?
At the time, there were four of us working in customer support. However, consider that the support team does not only serve requests from mailbox.org customers but also those coming through our other business operations at JPBerlin and Heinlein Hosting.
What about today?
By now, the Helpdesk team has grown to seven staff in total and we are expanding further – just one week ago, a new colleague has joined our effort!
How are things in the team?
It felt very rewarding for us in the team when we won the Stiftung Warentest product test in autumn 2016. Since the organization that conducted that product comparison is so well-known in Germany, we saw a massive increase in the number of new private and business customers, which effectively doubled our user base. Naturally, all this means an increase in support requests, too. It is normal that new users tend to need a bit of extra help before they know the tools and services by heart. In addition, we understand that it can be a challenge for many users to cope with the fact that mailbox.org is a continuously improving and evolving product. Whenever there is a new functionality or tool there will be an increased number of support requests. In the weeks before Christmas we unfortunately had a few problems with load-balancing and software bugs on our servers, which customers of course noticed as well and asked us about.
Over the past months, we all have accumulated a fair amount of overtime hours because there were simply too few people in the team at the time to cover all requests. If you then experience service disruptions on top of that, I admit this can be a bit of a strain on morale.
However, I am very pleased about how my team has kept up their spirits, and faced up to all challenges with admirable dedication to get the best-possible outcome for all customers. At the end of the year, we all reviewed the team’s performance in a two-day workshop and decided on a number of adjustments. As a result, we are very confident and motivated going into the new year 2017.