Monday, November 30, 2009

Support...Does it matter? Answer = YES

So the question today is one that I feel needs answering on a number of
levels. Companies who operate within the US should hold themselves in
today's age of twitter substantially more accountable and responsive to the
needs of the public. This includes those who operate small businesses from
their home and share resources with clients and friends alike.

Stop outsourcing support overseas and start taking time to work WITH customers. Talk WITH them.
Don't talk DOWN to them. They pay your paychecks by purchasing your products.
Stop focusing so much on the new Ferrari and focus more on giving back and helping
others achieve the results you promise in your advertisements. If you can't then admit it
and get back to the drawing board. Some software changes lives. Filing is important.
Doing it digitally does things to help our planet as well.

Now, granted this past weekend was a holiday weekend. However, when support
calls are responded to on a holiday weekend that means someone is there
taking responsibility for things. Bravo. But, it does not mean that the
solution to your software product not functioning with a specific printer
model is for the client to bag their current printer (for any reason) and go
get a new one which is less capable than what your QA department decided to
test with.

Yes I am serious.

Let's take the company who has grabbed my attention antennae today:

http://www.neatco.com/

They make a scanner akin to the Paperport Vx scanner of many years ago
although Paperport really kicked their butt in the performance and
compatibility section these folks wish to make a play in the document filing
space. Their software allows people to scan things such as receipts and
such, but when using their scanner apparently they're able to glean much
more information from the receipts or papers, get OCR done on them and have
some magical filing system created from this. I am all for ridding the
planet of paper.

However, they also wish to play in the Macintosh space and that's where I
come in. They make a product called Neatworks for Mac. It's NOT a Macintosh
product. It has some potential, but generally when developers take a PC
product and make it a Mac product it's counter-intuitive and it's never
really made fully compatible with the BIBLE of UI books (now on the web)-
Apple Human Interface Guidelines

People never seem to read these things now and that's perplexing for me.
When you design a program to work on a computer system should you not at
least read the guidelines and allow all of the keystrokes to work? Allow the
right dialogs to pop when there's a problem, support printers that use
Preview (the application under OSX that scans) correctly within your
application?

One would think so, but they'd be wrong where Neatco is concerned.

Folks you have much to learn about program design, but you have MUCH MORE to
learn when it comes to support.
If I'd ever told a user to go and buy a new computer because they could not
run Pixar's software on it when I worked for Steve Jobs, he'd have had me
drawn and quartered and then he'd have gotten angry.

To tell a customer that their printer does not work, they need to downgrade
to a lousier one because you did not test or even try to support the
higher-end Office Jet printers from HP...You're HIGH. HP would be more than
happy to help you with this problem if someone in your organization would
pick up a phone call them and say "Hi, this is Neatworks Support, we'd like
to borrow an OfficeJet 6500 printer so we can make sure our software works
with it so we can sell our software to people who use your products and make
them happy".

That's what you do. You don't tell the customer that things don't work,
here's the instructions for configuring a lower end product and we're not
supporting the higher end printers. OUCH. When that happens you publicly get
smacked by someone like me who has been on the front lines of support and
would never stand for that. I'd be knocking on doors at development asking
why we don't support the higher end. I'd take my own paycheck go to Costco,
buy the printer for $150 take it to work and give it to development to make
sure it worked. Anything to help my company make a customer happy.

I am more than happy to rave about a product that has a team that at least
is trying, but to push back like this one did...not something I can sit
silently by and not speak up about.

So, here's what I did. I called my Apple Store, I told them the story and
they said: "Mr. Murdock, we'll help you out, bring the software back and
we'll give you a refund, we appreciate your business".

I returned, logged into Mail, went to the message from Nuance offering a
Paperport 12 offering at an unheard of $29.99 and I bought that! Thanks Nuance & Digital River
for a flawless transaction.

If Neatco wants to set things right, they can package up one of their lovely
little NeatReceipts for Mac Printer & Software packages and ship it to me at
my POBox. I'll then think about saying something nice about that product once I've
seen whether or not it actually does what's advertised. Because the
Neatworks for Mac product alone gets -

0 out of 5 DMs ( a DM is a DocMurdock Approved Rating. 5 is great, 0 is
"don't touch this with a 10 foot pole".

Thanks for taking time to read this long drawn out explanation, but some
things have to be addressed. Hopefully this saves a lot of Mac users a lot
of hassle.

Michael Murdock, CEO
DocMurdock
7904 E Chaparral, Rd.,
Ste A110., PMB 148,
Scottsdale, AZ 85250-7273
ceo@docmurdock.com

Posted via email from DocMurdock - Technology Tidbits