Doctor appointment booking service ZocDoc is expanding into new markets, and growing, and growing. The company used to demur when asked how many users it has, but earlier this month it announced the site is “used by more than 800,000 patients each month,” the first time Betabeat has seen that metric released. But as ZocDoc explodes, it’s facing a common startup problem: scaling.
ZocDoc takes much of its inspiration from Zappos, famous for its delightful customer service, and leans heavily on customer service support by phone, with a human. But it seems to be having trouble keeping up with demand; a tipster told Betabeat he’d had trouble with the service multiple times in the last week. “They are always ‘helping other customers’ when I call,” the tipster said.
Betabeat just tried ZocDoc’s customer service line, open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST, and got a voicemail. “We are currently helping other patients and doctors, but if you leave a message we will return your call as soon as we can.”
ZocDoc public relations director Allison Braley assured us that the startup was seeing scaling issues “a little bit, but nothing egregious,” and is aggressively working to switch to a new phone system. ZocDoc is hiring like gangbusters—the startup hit its 200th employee at the end of 2011—and a lot of those hires are in customer service, she said.
Additionally, ZocDoc tracks its customer service performance to the T, she said. “We know the percentage of people in a week who didn’t get picked up on the first ring,” she told Betabeat.
Last week, 13 percent of callers got a voice recording, she said, which for ZocDoc is unacceptable.
Our tipster also reported problems with the website, but Betabeat was unable to replicate them.