Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Postbox: How not to do customer support

I am generally suspicious of large organizations, and I am often in areas with poor wifi access, so I have never totally bought in to the idea of relying on Gmail to keep track of my mail for me.  While I do use their product, I prefer to use a Desktop client to back up my messages and give me a little more flexibility in how I use my email.

Unfortunately I am in the minority, and desktop mail applications are dying off rapidly.  Thunderbird has largely been abandoned.  The developers of Sparrow have stopped working on it after Google acquired the company.  Postbox is one of the few options left, and for the most part I like the product.  It works cleanly with Gmail and has a pleasant interface, as my tastes go.  There are a few bugs, as there are with all products, though nothing out of the ordinary.

However, they have cut themselves off from their customers as completely as they can.  If you look at http://support.postbox-inc.com/entries/21694767-How-to-Get-Help-with-Postbox, every option there is designed to avoid the burden of dealing with their customers.  There is no way to report issues or even to post on a forum.  A year-old message reports "we're currently evaluating a number of different Forum solutions that will enable Postbox users to collaborate and share ideas."

Dealing with customers can be annoying; ignoring them is fatal.

Nothing is more irritating to users than having a problem and not even being able to report it.  The company has no way of learning about which issues matter to their customers, or even learning about these issues in the first place unless they themselves have the same problems.  It is a damning flaw in a fine product, and it is likely to cripple Postbox going forward.  I hope that they address it in the near future, though I am not hopeful.