We're Done Supporting Users

It's true. We're done supporting users. Not interested anymore. I know what you're thinking. "Wild Frog is a technology services company. How will you survive without users to support?" Please bear with me.

Looking back, 2017 proved to be a challenging year. My wife and I decided to build a new house and I would joke with people that if you don't have enough drama in your life, you should build a house. But it's true. There was a LOT of time, attention, and stress involved in seeing through a million details during construction. And in the end, I took my eye off the ball. I founded Wild Frog to help Central Ohio businesses use their Macs to help them go crush it, but I let us slip back to "capable and competent". It cost us two clients - including one that had been with us for 5+ years. They just couldn't wait for us to figure out where we left our mojo. With time, distance, and a lot of introspection, I realized that we'd become "just OK". And if you ever want your company to end up on the scrap heap, all you have to do is be "just OK". More than anything else, mediocrity kills companies. So something - a few somethings, actually - had to change. 

For 2018, we made two huge investments. In January, we started rolling out new tools that became the platform for a dramatically better support experience. We want to deliver more responsive help in better ways so we can empower the people we work with to be even more awesome. But more importantly, we're investing in our mindset and culture. Which means that we're no longer supporting users. It may seem counterintuitive, but I swear that we're not improving our culture by getting rid of our reason for being. As I thought about how we are going to laser-focus on creating an awesome experience, I kept coming back to the word "users". And I kept hating it. "Users" feels cold and impersonal. You ever get an e-mail or snail-mail solicitation from someone who doesn't know you from Adam, so they address it to "Dear Mr./Ms. Customer/Homeowner/etc.. . ."? How did it make you feel? Well. . .the more I thought about supporting "users", that is how I felt when I put myself in their shoes. Yet these people are our reason for being! So if "users" is far too generic, how should we describe a relationship where we look out for the other person, go out of our way to help them, and remember how special they are? The more I tossed the problem around in my head, the more this described a FRIEND. Someone who is there to help and look out for my best interests. Someone who treats me like a person and not just a support ticket.

If you're the cynical or skeptical type, you're probably asking "isn't this just semantics?". Well, it's only semantics if your actions don't reflect the difference. I'm a firm believer that how we think of something is a strong indicator of how we are going to interact with it. To that end, we've removed "user" from as many of our systems as possible and replaced it with "friend" since this is the basis for how we need to treat each interaction with the people we work with/for. It's simply a lot more accurate of a description about how we feel.

So we're done supporting users. We support our friends! Removing technology challenges is how we contribute to their awesomeness. Friends > Users!