I guess I've got customer experience + service on the mind. I just stumbled across this site and had no idea it even existed:
Why Basecamp Sux
Now, I have two full disclosures to this post which is more of an observation than anything else.
1. I have never used Basecamp (so I can't comment on if it "sux" or not)
2. I have been a fan of 37 Signals since seeing their presentation at AIGA Risk & Reward back in 2000.
Mostly I am a fan of 37 Signals because I find their philosophies to be very inspirational and more times than not very true. Or at the least, worth taking a look at and thinking about.
But this site caught my attention. It made a pretty interesting case regarding flaws in Basecamp and a lack of interest from 37 Signals in taking on some of these issues brought up by customers.
Here is the top 10 (or 12) reasons "Basecamp sux" according to the site:
Top 10 Reasons Why Basecamp Sux
"Here are my (current) Top 10 Reasons in increasing order of importance, although wait a few days and I'm sure I'll find more:
- 37 Signals seems to be more interested in offering lots of fancy color schemes than in meeting its customer's needs
- 37 Signals rolls out changes without any external customer feedback and without notifying anyone. And if you don't like them, you don't get configurability, you just get told your voice doesn't count because 37 Signals likes them, thank you very much.
- Jason Fried has his own ideas about what to do with BaseCamp, customers needs be damned.
- No GANTT Charts: No visual respresentations whatsoever. No not ever.
- Jason Fried's favorite response to practically every feature request is "No. sorry. (end of discussion)"
- Many of the Basecamp users on the forums treat Basecamp as their cult and Jason Fried as their leader. Don't make a suggestion that Jason doesn't like or you'll be heckled by all of Jason's disciples.
- The tiny team at 37 Signals keeps launching other services: Backpack, Tada List, Writeboard, and three more before the end of 2005 instead of focusing on meeting BaseCamp customer needs.
- Roapmap? What roadmap?
- 10Mb File Attachment Limit.
- You can't split or merge projects, so be extra careful that you don't make a mistake in how you organize your Basecamp projects...
- Three words. NO PROJECT TEMPLATES!!! Enter everything manually.
- And the worst one is, they hold your hostage data! You can't even export it, contrary to their FAQ "Can I get my data out if I want to discontinue using Basecamp?" that implies you can. BEWARE: Once you get in, you can't get out!!!
Sorry, I just couldn't seem to manage to limit to only 10. :-( "
...And then the site goes into some responses from 37 Signals:
Great Examples of 37 Signals Prioritizing Themselves Over Customers
- Jason Fried: As I've said, feedback comes from a variety of sources, not just the forum. And part of the feedback is our own feedback and our own vision for the product.
- Jason Fried: JWright, thanks for the advice on how we should develop our products, but we feel like we have it under control. We know what we're doing.
Now, I will probably still be a fan of 37 Signals, because I find value in their thoughts and philosophies. But it does make me think. Should I blindly "endorse" any organization because I like what they say and how they say it? Shouldn't I actually try their products for myself before I speak well (or ill) of anyone?
I guess I could be overthinking this, Maybe for me the product that 37 Signals offers which I find value in is their "thought leadership" Maybe that's enough. Or maybe this site is a fluke and Basecamp is as good as most of the reports say it is. This site could be a sign that Basecamp is becoming mainstream, or it could be an authentic gripe (like Apple has experienced in the past and most recently Facebook).
I guess one thing is for certain. If even one customer has a gripe with your product/service these days. You're gonna know about it.