You want who? Oh Customer Support, sorry they’re not in!

24 May 2011

Part of the project package that we offer with OpenCRM is a very high level of customer support.

We get told time and time again that its expensive to find new customers and this is of course true and that’s why we invest in our existing ones by providing this exceptionally high level of service to our subscribers.

I know that what we do is well received because our clients tell me so, but it is easy to become blasé about what we do…. Not because we allow our standards to drop, but by assuming that others offer a similarly high level of support also. Well I am here to tell you that in many circumstances this is just not the case, or at least that’s my personal experience.

Due to the consultancy side of our business and a fast pace in developing concepts within OpenCRM I have had cause over the last few weeks to purchase a number of products and services.

Just to qualify what I mean, these products and services have all been from technology related companies and/or include software products.

These products and services have all been chargeable. I mean these have not been trails or freebies, but have had commercially agreed terms with money exchanging hands.

I appreciate why some trail periods are not going be as supported as paying customers, this is a decision made by the supplier but in all of these recent cases I WAS a paying customer.

I had reason to contact a VoIP software vendor to ask a ‘conceptual’ question about how I could use their product. In fairness it was a question I raised during the pre-sales period and was clarifying because I was finding it difficult to achieve the desired configuration that I had been promised, so although I was raising it with the support team it should have been an easy answer.

The response I got was brilliant, creative to the point of frustration. My question was answered by referring me to the manual. The manual was not available on the web site where I had been told I could get hold of an electronic copy. When I followed up I was sent a link to the manual which did not work, subsequently I received (after another exchange) the right URL link. I turned to page 54 to see how the paragraph suggested would help me, only to find that it said (and I quote verbatim)…

“This feature is available for certain firmware version please contact support for more information”

At this point you start to consider what you said in the first email exchange that upset the support technician so much that he felt I was worthy of such a prank? But trust me, having gone over that ground there was nothing that could have been misunderstood.

If this was the only episode of poor support, or answers that lack any substance, I might have let it go, but over 3 weeks, 5 support cases raised and 5 support cases still open (well lets come to that in a minute) all have no resolution.

I have actually solved 4 of the configuration problems I was having myself and am loathed to share this information with the support teams, but that’s just me being peevish. On the point of Open cases – I fully understand that tickets have to be closed once they are dealt with, but on more than one occasion I received the close ticket email without any response from a support technician!

So you see I know what we do is great and believe me we want to do even better. You can rest assured we will be doing everything possible to support you properly because we fully appreciate how frustrating problems can be and how damaging to the long term relationship, you see I (or our business and any professional contacts which I might influence) won’t be buying from any of these poorly performing companies again.