Getting the actual process of the support request right has been a challenge and it’s one that we are still working on.
We think we’ve found the right balance of responsibility, trust and freedom to make sure that our Experts know that they are trusted to deliver on their knowledge and that our Customers know that they are placing their faith in a system that protects them.
In this video our founder, Simon, walks through the process of what happens on both sides once I support request is submitted:
The process of creating a request is quite simple from the customer point of view - from the repository page, the customer can click book a call with an Expert which will lead them to the support request page - this has an area for them to title the request and to add a description, which can include markdown (including code examples).
The customer is required to submit payment upfront which is then held within Stripe until the request is marked as complete. We use Stripe Connect, which allows us to be very clear about how the funds are distributed, and ensure that Customers can have complete trust in the payments side. This also means that Experts get paid quickly for the support that they provide.
Once the request has been submitted, the Expert can review the request and choose to Accept or Decline it – declining the request is OK, we don’t want experts who feel that they can’t help feeling that they have to accept a request, but equally we do want experts to help where they can!
The scheduling screen allows Experts to indicate their availability really easily for the coming 7 days:
Expert view of the scheduling interface
Once the expert has sent the Timeslots, they appear for the Customer as follows:
Customer view of the scheduling interface
The customer can select any of the white areas of the calendar, which reflect the Expert’s availability. We encourage Experts to provide as many timeslots as they can, and to bear in mind that timezone differences may mean that a call is better earlier or later in the day.
Once the customer accepts a timeslot, we send both the Expert and the Customer an email confirming, with a calendar invitation.
Ringer allows video calls to take place within our site - we encourage this because it avoids having to negotiate using Teams or Zoom and will hopefully keep things simple. Prior to the call it is worth confirming that you have permission to share screen through the site!
Once the call takes place, the expert and the customer can mark the request or if further work is required, convert it to a project.
We’ll discuss converting the request to a project in another article, but for resolved requests, we release the funds for the expert immediately and close the request for both parties.
Thanks for reading, we’re looking forward to seeing you use Ringer!