Back in 2007 when we incorporated TidBITS Publishing, Tonya and I were the only employees. Between us, we replied to all support email personally, and as much as we always tried to reduce problems by improving our Web sites and clarifying instructions, it still took a lot of time. In 2013, we hired Josh Centers as the managing editor of TidBITS, and his writing and editing has helped free up some time. But even still, as the number of administrative and support details ballooned, we found that we could no longer help people with lost passwords or accidentally duplicated orders and still have time to publish new content, especially on the Take Control side.
So we turned to our friend Lauri Reinhardt, who we met years ago when she was providing us with stellar support at our cart provider, eSellerate. She had left that job and was looking for part-time work, and most important, she understood what we meant when we told her that she should treat everyone writing in like a friend — beyond this being just good manners, we count many of you among our friends. If you’ve written in to the Take Control support address in the past year or two, you’ve likely been helped by Lauri.
We’re extremely pleased to announce that Lauri has now joined TidBITS Publishing as our fourth employee, with the title of Director of Customer Service, although she’ll be helping with all sorts of tasks. Lauri played an essential role with testing the Take Control Web site redesign earlier this year, and she serves as our liaison to the iBooks Store and to our publishing partner O’Reilly Media. We have lots more projects along these lines in mind for Lauri to work on. You may not see her name in TidBITS regularly, but if you write to me with an administrative problem, for example, it’s likely you’ll hear back from Lauri (and probably sooner than I’d be able to respond, too).
Lauri is one of the nicest and most empathetic people we know, which is why she’s so good at customer support. Perhaps it’s partly due to being from the Midwest (she hails from Lincoln, Nebraska), or perhaps she’s just constitutionally pleasant, but regardless, we’ve enjoyed working with Lauri tremendously. Should you have the opportunity to interact with her, we hope you’ll come away with the same impression. And while this doesn’t come through in email, all our video calls with her are brightened by her parakeets chirping happily in the background.
With Lauri handling more administrative and support tasks, Tonya and I can spend more time on those projects that will benefit the most from our skills and experience. Without the excuse of needing to procrastinate on support email so often, we’re hoping to implement more of our big picture ideas that require time and focus.