Why developers aren't responsive to customer support teams

2 min read

Ever thought… Brick walls would be more responsive than talking to developer teams?

Well here’s the truth… We’re trying to be brick walls on purpose.

Between blocking out entire days on the calendar, permanently enabling do not disturb, to even closing out of Slack entirely.

Here’s the reason. As a developer I’m on a maker’s schedule. My days are split into 2 intervals:

  1. Before lunch
  2. After lunch

It’s not that I don’t want to help, I do. But if someone needs help with an urgent customer issue for 20 to 30 minutes, it throws off my productive interval. Paul Graham said it best in his blog post, Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule:

One meeting can sometimes affect a whole day. A meeting commonly blows at least half a day, by breaking up a morning or afternoon.

Customer issues are important and often urgent. A quick 30 minute fix to make a customer happy seems obvious. But the problem is the two schedules clash… For a deeper dive as to why they clash see my other article where I wrote about why interruptions are frustrating to developers.

So what can be done?

Creating barriers and ignoring requests for help isn’t going to work. We need to work together.

Teams sync-up everyday at standup. I guarantee any member of a team can handle a question or problem you have. But here’s what actually happens.

Everyone is roped in with @channel or developers are singled out because they were most recently helpful.

That’s why I’m creating Tellspin. It’s a way to create a simple rotation directly in Slack that helps assign someone to assist for a day or week. It works because everyone takes a turn helping out.

The assigned developer can plan for interruptions and resolve urgent customer issues. The rest of the dev team gets the focus they want/need.

If you’re not ready to try out my Slack app be sure to checkout out my tips for reducing interruptions for Slack teams.


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Written by Dan Willoughby

Hey I'm Dan. I'm the solo-founder behind Tellspin which helps dev teams respond to support through Slack. Tellspin takes the guesswork out of who should pay attention to which messages making it easier to focus. You should try out Tellspin and follow me on Twitter