Why is your CEO’s cell number on my homepage?

Since Cloudmetrx v1.1, my cell phone number has been prominently plastered on the home screen of all my clients. And I always get the obvious question:

Why do you put your cell phone number on here? Doesn’t it get annoying?

To be honest, no. We don’t get a lot of complaints or problems. It’s a rarity that anything pressing comes up — we mostly deal with small feature requests or user questions about best practices. Most reported issues turn out to be user error, which we (apologetically) work out with them; later, we try to alter our user experience to eliminate whatever the source of the confusion turned out to be. But it’s a low-pressure thing.

Almost all phone contact is regarding an issue the user considers pressing. This is typically due to internal factors (e.g. “I have an investor meeting in 10 minutes and need to know X,” or, “market Y just exploded”). If it were any less important than that, it would almost certainly be reported by email.

That’s why my cell phone number is on the home page.

When a user is going through a personal crisis, I want it to be me that deals with it — no matter what time of day or night. When people are in a crisis, they have a low tolerance for any sort of delay. If a customer service rep has to look up information and check knowledge bases to help a user, they’re not going to be able to answer as fast as I can. And furthermore, if there is some genuine insight needed, you want to be talking to the inventor of Cloudmetrx — not an employee.

And, as it turns out, the privilege has never been abused in any manner. I’m very appreciative that my clients are engaged enough to feel the need to contact me, and relish the opportunity to help them through their problems — after all, that’s what determines our future product development path.

All programmers aren’t in a position of responsibility, even if they’re in a position of accountability. But those that are — programmers that wear a management hat, as it were — should really consider putting their cell number on their app. Because when a user is having a lousy day, and they don’t have to go hunting to get in touch with you, they appreciate it.

And that’s what we’re all about.


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