How we provide customer support
In this article I’m going to explain how we provide customer support.
Customer support is free. There is no charge for customer support.
Customer support is provided on a first come, first served basis.
We respond to requests for customer support in mostly the order the requests come in, unless a different order makes sense. Sometimes it’s easier to respond to requests out of order.
Because support is free we will refuse requests that insist we serve them immediately because for whatever reason their request is urgent.
Because it’s a free service, we organise how we provide support in a form to best serve the business. Think of it this way, if we prioritise your request we are deprioritising someone else. How would you feel if we put you to the back of the queue just because someone else insisted they were more important than you? That’s why we, most of the time, operate on a first come, first served basis.
Some support issues are more complex and require time to reproduce, investigate, fix and test. These will play out over time, and other support issues may come and go during the lifetime of these longer support requests.
We’ll ask you for the minimum amount of information to understand the support request you are making. That may be as simple as asking one question, or as complex as asking for a variety of data dumps. We may ask for:
- computer operating system
- environment variable values
- software tool you are using and it’s version number
- event log crash information
- exception report
- crash callstack, module load addresses and register dump
- log files
- test application that demonstrates the bug. This could be a “Hello World!” that demos the bug, an eval version of your product, or the full version of your product
We won’t ask you for all of these things. We may not even ask you for any of those things if your customer support request contains the information we need.
The key thing is that we’ll only ask you for what we think is relevant for the customer support issue you are reporting.
We use email for customer support.
Email has the benefit of:
- Detailed text descriptions
- Step by step instructions
- Easy meta data exchange. Images, video, data files, log files, test executables can be provided easily via email. It’s impossible to provide these things via telephone, zoom, etc.
- Email provides an automatic audit trail for each support request.
- Email is timezone insensitive. Regardless of where you are in relation to where we are both parties can continue working and not have to attend a real time call at a very inconvenient time of day.
- Email allows us to work on bugs at our pace rather than waiting for a phone call/zoom.
Only rarely do we escalate to telephone/zoom/remote access, and we’ll only escalate to this once we have determined, via email, that for whatever reason, email isn’t working.
Telephone/zoom/remote access is the last option, not the first option. Requests that insist we go straight to telephone/zoom/remote access will be ignored. Customer support is free, we decide how we provide customer support, and in what order.
All data provided to us is stored on either
- a physical disk that is removed from a machine when not in use and locked in a separate room
- an encrypted disk (bitlocker, truecrypt).
Some companies need a non-disclosure agreement prior to sharing certain applications with us. That isn’t a problem, if you need an NDA, please discuss this with support.
We do not discuss support issues of any customer with another customer, unless they are on the same team.
The only exception to this are support issues that have resulted in testimonials – in those cases we may mention the support issue in relation to the testimonial. All testimonials are unsolicited. We ask for permission to use the testimonial once provided.