* The Business of Software

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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Having your phone number beside email support?

It seems reasonable to me that having your phone number listed next to  your contact email would affect sales positively. The same way 30 days money back policy does, it is rarely used yet everyone likes to see it as an option...
So do you have support phone number? And if so how often do they call you?
And in  what price range is your software when they call to ask something?
Do you answer personally? Do you answer immediately? Is there a service where they can leave a voice message for you? (other than voice mail)

I'd like to put my number but not being native speaker I'd like to avoid long pauses over the phone (assuming anyone going to give me a ring at all...)

Would  it be stupid to just put a phone number for the sake of it (for show that is...) without any intention of ever answering it?
alexandar Send private email
Thursday, September 05, 2013
 
 
> (assuming anyone going to give me a ring at all...)

They will. And the calls will come at the most shittiest times - like 3 a.m. Sunday night.

So better be able to offer the telephone support :)
Jeremy Morassi Send private email
Thursday, September 05, 2013
 
 
>Would  it be stupid to just put a phone number for the sake of it (for show that is...) without any intention of ever answering it?

Yes. It is also disrespectful. And I wouldn't buy from a company that didn't answer the phone or return voicemails.
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, September 05, 2013
 
 
Regarding the call at 3 a.m, I think it's OK to state your hours of business in your own time zone and stick to that.
On whether to offer phone support at all, I think that depends  on the price you charge for your software.
I certainly wouldn't expect it on most of the software I buy.
Paradoxically for the same price I have a higher expectation from a smaller company than a large one.
If I spent $1000 dollars with Alexander I'd expect phone support whereas if I spent $1,000,000 on google apps I'd count myself lucky to get it! They've trained me well, as in:
The one time I did phone Microsoft all that ended up happening was me initially being asked a ton of personal questions (for their records presumably) and only then being told I'd need to contact the reseller.
Drummer Send private email
Thursday, September 05, 2013
 
 
Use something like Ring Central and give them the Ring Central number.  That way you can configure the IVR to go ring you directly during normal business hours and then go directly to voice mail after business hours.
Frank Coukos Send private email
Thursday, September 05, 2013
 
 
We are like Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Facebook. You are going to have a hard time finding a phone number for customer service. We don't publicize it at all. But I do pay people to answer the phone since customers get ahold of our number anyway.

I think publishing a phone number might result in a small number of additional sales. Is it worth the cost of maintaining a larger call center? That's for each person to decide according to his own circumstance.
Scott Send private email
Thursday, September 05, 2013
 
 
With the specifics, we have business hours in a specific time zone. If you call outside that time you'll get a message saying to call back during business hours.

If you call during business hours it probably is answered quickly. Sometimes it's not. Sometimes it will ring and ring and there will be no answer for you.

If you call at 3AM our time your call gets a message. You will not be asked to leave a message. We will not call you back.
Scott Send private email
Thursday, September 05, 2013
 
 
"We are like Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Facebook. You are going to have a hard time finding a phone number for customer service. We don't publicize it at all. But I do pay people to answer the phone since customers get ahold of our number anyway."

People! You pay people!
Scott,  you must be bigger than Carlsberg!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oTs6Oz-OW8
Drummer Send private email
Thursday, September 05, 2013
 
 
If I have to phone you about your software, it would only be because I am having problems with my pacemaker or airplane that your software powers. Otherwise, I'm going to try Google and if that doesn't work out, either suck it up or find another vendor.
GregT Send private email
Thursday, September 05, 2013
 
 
I have my phone number available on my contact page.  But I do state explicitly that I do not provide phone support.  People still ring though, typically it's people wanting pre-sales support.  If I am working when the phone rings then I answer it.  I never, ever return phone calls though. I follow up by email if I can. 

In not much less than 100% of cases I can address technical support issues by email.  When it can't I resort to using Teamviewer.  I probably do that twice a month.

All that being said, I'd always have your phone number available on the website.  Even if you have it hooked up to an answering service it provides comfort to potential customers that you're a real business.
Mark Nemtsas Send private email
Thursday, September 05, 2013
 
 
I'll call people back if I have down time and feel sociable. But only for things arranged long in advance from email, not from cold calls. I hate to be interrupted and don't want to even know about the phone.

Cases where I call back the person has some special need because they are doing something interesting, or they are in some area I am curious about. I will often spend a lot of time on the call trying to find out what is going on in their area, or stuff about their culture. Like if I had a user from Syria making an inquiry, I would totally be calling them right now for one on one support that would consist 75% of my asking them targeted questions about what is really going on over there. Doing this over the years I have amassed a lot of personal contacts that I can access when I want to separate media propaganda from reality.

Last year there was a kid wanted me to help him decide what film school he should attend. That was almost a 2 hour call! I tried to convince him not to go to school as it was a waste of time but the kid was stubborn and really wanted to go to UCLA.
Scott Send private email
Thursday, September 05, 2013
 
 
Thanks all, this was suprisingly good feed back from all of you
alexandar Send private email
Friday, September 06, 2013
 
 
@ Scott "Last year there was a kid wanted me to help him decide what film school he should attend. That was almost a 2 hour call!"

Boy are you going to have FBI at your heels for child abusing :)

@ Scott "Like if I had a user from Syria, I would totally be calling them right now for one on one support that would consist 75% of my asking them targeted questions"

Is NSA going to like that one...
alexandar Send private email
Friday, September 06, 2013
 
 
@Andy "Yes. It is also disrespectful. And I wouldn't buy from a company that didn't answer the phone or return voicemails."

It WOULD be disrespectfull if I DID it ,which I did not before asking for your opinion :)
alexandar Send private email
Friday, September 06, 2013
 
 
I was once recommended a US-based company that employs native US English speakers who would answer calls for you 24x7 and patch them  to your private number during the hours you specify. Of course, that would be very basic outsourced front desk, but at least they can say, *in real human voice*, "Thanks for calling Alexandar's Widgets. Our business hours are this and that, but if you give me your name number, I'll make sure that somebody calls you back the next working day."
Dmitry Leskov Send private email
Friday, September 06, 2013
 
 
Dmitry, services like that usually only provide for US-based customers.
PSB136 Send private email
Friday, September 06, 2013
 
 
"Is NSA going to like that one..."

Alexandar, that ship has sailed long ago. If I were to reenter the US for any reason, or pass through a US imperialist controlled airport, there is no doubt I would be interrogated for hours, searched intimately, my digital devices cloned or confiscated, and taken into custody if at all justifiable on the flimsiest of premises.

If you don't have an FBI file on you, you might ask how you have failed as a person. Anyone who stands up for what is right is an enemy of the american imperialists.
Scott Send private email
Friday, September 06, 2013
 
 
@ Scott
I'm sorry ,I forgot that you hated US
alexandar Send private email
Saturday, September 07, 2013
 
 

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