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Improving Customer Support

By Brian Armstrong


, June 6, 2017

, 2 min read time

Over the past few months, we’ve seen an unprecedented increase in the number of customers signing up to use Coinbase (4x since January 2017). As a result, our systems have been pushed to the limit. This has caused many customers to have a negative experience.

I’m writing today to apologize for the experience you’re having and tell you what we’re doing to improve the situation.

First, it’s worth acknowledging the gravity of the situation. Our goal with Coinbase is to build the product that is the most trusted and easiest to use in the space. It erodes trust when customers can’t get a timely response to customer support inquiries, or when there are delays in pay ins, pay outs, limit increase requests, or getting access to your account.

We’re storing customer funds, and I can understand how incredibly frustrating (and scary) it is when an issue arises and you can’t get a prompt response.

We haven’t done enough to keep up with the growth, and we’re taking steps now to correct it. I want to share with you specifically what we’re doing to improve the situation.

Near Term:

  • We are doubling overall support capacity by spinning up an outsourced support facility by the end of June. This will allow us to rapidly add level 1 support agents during future surges.

  • We’re hiring 10 new contractors for our in house team over the next 3 months.

  • We’re adding new hires on the Trust team (part of the engineering org that helps deal with security questions).

  • Hired a consultant (former VP Customer Success at larger company) to consult on scaling, and how to introduce phone support.

  • Several account security improvements are rolling out, including improvements to our two factor authentication, and a new system to flag risky withdrawals.

Q3 Plan

  • Goal will be < 6 hours first response time for everyone; < 2 hours in cases of large balances

  • Goal of having first version of phone support introduced for high balance accounts, and/or security related questions by end of September

Q4 Plan

  • Roll out phone support for a wider % of customer base (potentially a paid option, still TBD)

  • Introduce additional account security options such as Yubikey support

We understand that trust has to be earned, not given, and that we haven’t done enough lately to earn that trust. Thank you for your support as we continue to scale.

Thank you!

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Brian Armstrong

About Brian Armstrong

Brian Armstrong is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Coinbase. As CEO, Brian is responsible for Coinbase’s consumer and institutional arms, which offer an entire suite of products that make accessing cryptocurrencies easy and secure, in addition to new products that operate at the frontiers of crypto and blockchain. Before co-founding Coinbase, Brian worked as a Software Engineer at Airbnb. He holds three degrees from Rice University: Bachelor’s of Computer Science, Bachelor’s of Economics, and a Master’s of Computer Science.