One of the great things about working at FreshBooks is getting to know our fantastic customer base. As you may know, everyone at FreshBooks from the Big Cheese on down spends a day a week or so answering the phones, posting in the forums and replying to emails. What you may not know is that part of joining the FreshBooks crew is spending a few months doing NOTHING BUT this kind of customer support.
When I first started hiring developers at FreshBooks I was a little worried about how this would appeal to software developers. I worried that we’d scare off developers who would otherwise bring the kinds of technical skills we were looking for.
It has turned out to be quite the opposite.
Whenever we find a strong candidate with the technical chops we need, and we bring up the fact that they’ll be spending a few months doing nothing but talking to customers, their eyes light up and they tell us how much they wished they could have talked to their customers or end users at their LAST job. Far from treating it like an obstacle or a hoop to jump through, they look forward to it and indeed, when their time is wrapping up, many of our developers have expressed a fondness for that period of their time with FreshBooks.
The software business has gotten big and the default case nowadays is for developers to be situated far from the folks who are actually going to be using their software, and this practice has built up an image of the software developer as a remote, anti-social sort of character, but the truth is that everyone likes to see that their work is used and appreciated. And a standard practice at FreshBooks that I originally worried would make us LESS attractive to candidates turns out to do quite the opposite.