Software Support

For various reasons I have recently bought three pieces of software. These are the only pieces of software I have bought in recent times, so what I am about to say is not just taking a few samples from a larger population, but based on the last three pieces of software that I have bought.

I will not name the software companies, or products, as I do not think that is fair in a public forum but it would be interesting to hear if any other people have experienced problems with software as soon as they have signed the cheque. Here are the issues:

1) I bought some software, and there was a problem with its functionality. I reported this to their technical support. A few exchanges took place. When the problem could not be resolved they asked me to supply a whole lot of log files (Gigabytes worth) and said that they would pass it to their programmers. I followed up a month later, saying that the problem had not been resolved and could they give me any indication as to when I could expect to use the software to its full potential. I should say that the software was working, but was missing an important element that I could really do with using. The response I received said that it would be months before I would get a response as the programmers were very busy. I find this an amazing response, but I did thank them for their honesty (which I did appreciate). They did, also to their credit, add five months to my subscription, which I also appreciated.

2) A totally different product I bought, strangely, faced similar issues (surrounding the synchronisation of files). I reported this to the company and after a few exchanges, one of the technical support people actually phoned me, from their car, on the way from home from the office, on what was their Friday evening (not mine as I am quite a few hours ahead). I was really impressed with this service. At the time of writing the problem is not yet resolved, but I am hoping to have further contact after the weekend.

3) For this product I was renewing my license, as I had let it lapse. As I did the renewal, I made the mistake (I now realise) of trying to change my email address at the same time. That caused a problem whereby I now had two accounts. One using my original email address (where the license had lapsed so I could not download the product) and another using my new email address which has no knowledge of the product I had paid for. This means I have two accounts, neither of which can access the product. After raising the issue with the technical support department they confirmed I now had two accounts and that they would have to merge them. I am still waiting for this to happen, which I hope will be in the next 24 hours.

What I find amazing is that I have had issues with the last three software products I have bought. Yes, bought, and paid out real money for. It is not freeware, shareware, or some other type of unsupported software. These are paid for products, which you would hope (well at least one of them) would work straight from the box.

I am not sure what this says about the software industry. Is this normal for small software companies, or have I just been unlucky?

I should say that all three companies responded quickly to the support tickets that I raised (above and beyond the automated email response) but, as yet, none of the problems have been resolved. One has been outstanding for at least two months, one for about two weeks and the other for about two days.

I’ll let you know how they progress, but I would be interested in the experience of others?

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