Hi.

This is crazy. We’ve only just met, and I think you should hire me.

Why do you want to work in customer support?

Helping people is what I do, and I’m pretty good at it. I believe that if you are in business, your number one priority is to help your customers. To listen to their problems, to ask the right questions, to identify the friction and to take responsibility for removing it.

The world is full of companies who see support as an unfortunate cost of doing business. A genuinely good support experience is rare enough to be noteworthy. That sucks.

“We apologise for any inconvenience”

There are too many non-apologies, and not enough, “I’m really sorry. Here’s how I’m going to put things right, and stop it from happening again.” When I see something broken like that, I feel compelled to fix it.

I love making real connections to people, spending time to help make their lives a little bit better. I’m not a doctor or a school teacher. I’m just a man trying to help however I can, whatever my job title is.

Why do you want to work for 37signals, and not anyone else?

I want to work with people who care what the back of the cabinet looks like. People who ask “why?”, and then shortly after, “How can we make this better?”. Working with intelligent, dedicated colleagues sounds like a pretty great way to earn a living. Now that my daughter is growing into her vocubulary, I ask her the same question I ask myself each night;

“What did you learn today?”

From everything I’ve read1 and experienced2 about 37signals, I’d have interesting answers every single day.

Describe a great support experience you had recently, and what made it great.

Last week I stumbled across Kandan, an open source team chat application written by CloudFuji. I like kicking the tyres of new software and finding new ways of solving problems, so I signed up for their free account and did my customary tour of the account settings page. I was alarmed that there didn’t appear to be a way to cancel the account & delete my data (I view this as an indicator of how much thought the company has put into giving their customers control over their data). I raised a support ticket suggesting they change the admin screen, and asked them to delete the account.

4 minutes later, Sean, one of the co-founders, replied. He quickly acknowledged my issue, confirmed he had cancelled my account and deleted my card data as requested, and asked for my feedback on the type of changes I thought they should make. On its own, that would have been enough to rate pretty highly.

The following morning, I woke up to an email from Sean with a screenshot of the changes he’d made to the admin screen, based on my suggestion. I was incredibly impressed; Sean had clearly worked till late in the evening to make changes to their platform based on a suggestion from someone who had not only never paid a single penny, but who had even cancelled their account.

Sean did everything right; a quick, friendly response that confirmed the exact actions he would take, asking good questions about how he could make it better, and then going above and beyond to show how he had solved the problem. Thanks Sean!

Writing samples

Here’s my take on the three support queries, in three paragraphs or less. I’ve only counted paragraphs spent actually answering the question.

Explain why a customer would pick Basecamp or Highrise.

Hi Sunil,

Thanks for your question. Here’s how I see the difference between Basecamp and Highrise.

Highrise helps you to manage the relationship you have with the people you do business with, and the people you’d like to do business with. It gives you one place for you and your team to store notes, phone numbers, tasks, and to use that information to close sales, follow up leads and deliver a really personal service. Highrise lets you have better conversations, by reminding you of the conversations you’ve had before.

Basecamp organises your projects, and makes it easier to collaborate in real time with your colleagues, clients and suppliers. Everything to do with a project is shown on a single page; all the discussions, files & to do lists are stored safely in one place, right where you can find it. Basecamp also makes it easier to see what has been going on in your business, with a daily timeline of all activity across all of your projects, and to schedule what you have coming up with a great calendar. You can even update your projects by email.

Basecamp and Highrise compliment each other, but they also work well on their own. I’d recommend you try our free trial for both services, and see if they work for you. We run live guided tours and live Q&A sessions for Basecamp - the next tour is on Monday June 4 at 2pm CT, and I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about Basecamp or Highrise.

Hope that helps,

Jim


Write to a customer looking for project categories, explain it isn’t something we offer, and suggest to use project titles/stars for organisation.

Hi Jennifer,

We don’t have project categories in Basecamp, but there are a number of ways you can categorise and organise your projects, which you might find helpful.

When we want to group a couple of projects together, we use the project title, like so: BCX:Marketing, BCX:BCX v1.1 and so on. This way, related projects appear next to each other in the alphabetical list of all projects, which makes it nice and easy to see everything at a glance. If a particular team are responsible, we use the groups feature (for instance, we've assigned our Marketing group to BCX:Marketing).

To prioritise particular projects, each user can mark their favourite projects, which pins them to the top. You can see how stars work at the start of this video from one of our online classes.

I hope that gives you a starting point for organising your projects. Let me know if you have something specific you want to do, and I’ll see what we can suggest.

Jim


A company using the job board failed to find a suitable candidate, and wants a refund. Explain that job board postings are non-refundable.

Hi Callum,

Thanks for getting in touch. I’m sorry you didn’t find the right candidate this time. We don’t offer refunds for Job Board postings, but perhaps we can help with the wording of your ad? If you can give me an idea of the reasons you didn’t feel the applicants were suitable, I can make some suggestions to tweak your post to find the right person.

Thanks,

Jim

Thanks for reading. I hope you like what you’ve seen so far, and you’d like to get to know me better. I’d suggest you start here.

Jim