Dropbox Manages To Get It Right

A disproportionate percentage of my life (and probably all of yours) has been spent managing the bad customer service offered by most companies, technology and otherwise. It's worth calling out a company that gets it right.

I've had a Dropbox account for years, but I foolishly had the company convert my normal, free account into a Teams business account for a review two years ago for Macworld in which I looked at several cloud-storage options for businesses. I asked the PR folks if they could convert my account back later, and it didn't happen — I didn't follow up and forgot about it.

Recently, I received email that my account was expiring and I realized I need to take action. I guessed I was well above my 2 GB initial account size even with referrals and other upgrades that Dropbox offers. I can't accept free services or products except for testing, and should be paying for a premium account. (Normally, I cancel or abandon services after testing, or have just a 30-day account set up and then can start paying.)

I emailed Dropbox tech support about the issue, fearing I'd lose my history of deleted files, short-term revisions, and the like, and have to start a new account from scratch. I would lose any data, but it seemed a shame.

Instead, Dropbox took care of it like a boss. I have Growl installed in Mac OS X, which integrates with Mountain Lion's Notifications feature. This gives me little transient feedback notices when stuff happens in the background that is useful to know if I'm watching, but I don't need to go back and check on.

Dropbox messages start to come through. First, the account drops down to not enough storage. Then it jumps to 85 GB of storage. A few more messages come through indicating someone is mucking about on the backend. I log in via the Web, and see I can now upgrade and pay for a 100 GB-level account (about $10 per month or $100 per year). I do so.

By the time I'm done, I've received email from Hannah at Dropbox explaining that she's converted my account and added 85 GB for 14 days to ensure I have enough time and space to upgrade my account during the transition. The technical part worked perfectly; so did the wetware side.

Dropbox has become like oxygen to me. It is something I barely think about, except when it goes pear-shaped (which is rarely, fortunately). I throw stuff in there, and I expect it to be available everywhere, nearly instantly. I barely use file attachments in email or any other file-transfer methods because of its option of sharing a link to any file. It's nice to know they can execute on this end, too.

It's a sad thing that competence seems so outstanding, but it's true.

Bonus! Finder-Based Sharing

Just before this, I had the nice experience of an invisible upgrade from Dropbox that improved the user side of things. Dropbox has long required a round-trip to the Web site to complete many tasks. The company added Finder-based link-sharing a while back, but it requires Control-clicking a file or folder, selecting Dropbox from a submenu, and choosing Share Link, and then being taken to the Web site to complete the operation.

Dropbox improves Finder-based contextual actions.

Dropbox improves Finder-based contextual actions.

Now it's all in the Finder. Control- or right-click on a file or folder, and three options appear that were previously in the sub-menu. Copy Dropbox Link creates the link and puts the result in the Clipboard. One operation. Less friction.