A former community discussing the business of software, from the smallest shareware operation to Microsoft. A part of Joel on Software.
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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
Just now I got my first feedback (and email lead?) from someone who uninstalled one of my apps, which automatically loads a web page asking why they were unhappy, via an email link.
They did choose to email and their beef was that they didn't know where the trial code license was. I replied stating that it's in the copyright splash window, attached a small screenshot for reference, and thanked him for looking at my app.
So, what's next? Am I supposed to follow up later, maybe in a week, now that I have their email address? Or let it be and see what happens, with the hope he'll be happy with my fast response and maybe buy a license? Fingers crossed!
I usually follow-up with people trying my software. I think sometimes it helps. I also follow-up with people that make a purchase. Sometimes I can find out where they found the software and why the chose mine. I must admit that mostly, the do not reply but when they do, it is usually valuable information.
Good Luck with your software.
Saturday, June 13, 2015
They replied again and showed me a screenshot of their problem. You'll never believe it: a had a massive overlooked bug in my app! I had its GUI coded for a standard fonts PC with Aero theme, and his was running with large fonts and Basic theme. This meant all my GUI elements were the wrong size and cropped and out of place. O. M. G. :)
Needless to say, I spent the next two hours updating my app to be fully DPI-aware, and uploaded the new version to my website. I offered him a free license to it, but he declined as he was only testing it due to a review he read, and that he didn't actually need it.
So in the end, I got a valuable bug report from someone who was just browsing! All because I used an uninstall feedback form. Awesome!
Some customers like to make contact with a vendor before they purchase, just to get a sense that there is someone behind the product, that it's alive, supported and still being developed. For me demo support requests normally result in sales probably about 99.7% of the time.
Monday, June 15, 2015
However, like a lot of disclosed truths, there's more to it.
Most customers just buy and download. I think for the Apple Store sort of stuff that costs 99 cents, that should be the end of it, and the expectation of any customer support whatsoever is totally unreasonable and either psychopathic or indicative of a mentally flawed entitlement attitude not worth dealing with.
If you go down to the 99 cent store and buy some piece of crap and yo don't like it, you should eat your losses and not bother the store with your dissatisfaction. In that price range you should have absolutely no consumer rights at all.
But if you are paying $300 a license, you should get what you paid for, and you should get customer service.
A very small number of purchasers, perhaps 1-3%, want to test this system in advance, and so they will send letter after letter to customer support in advance of purchase.
In my case, we respond to ALL of those letters, and they do result in 90%+ purchasing the program.
But here's the kicker. It's eventually. Some of these customers have sent letters that my employees couldn't answer so I had to write a response, and they sent letter after letter after letter after letter. Generally these come in clusters. In 2010 you get a set of 15 letters from them, all which require custom research. Then they don't buy it. Then in 2012 they sent 10 more letters on some totally different issue. And you write custom responses to each. Then in 2014 8 more. Then in 2015 2 more, and then they buy it.
So you, the CEO, have spend 100 hours researching the complex requests they send, all for one purchase.
So yes, they eventually bought it.
Is that really a victory?
I don't know. I suspect the answer is no because those hours could have been spent on better things.
To address this issue, I ordered added to our customer support system counters on time spent. I log time spent to respond, and as CEO it's very reasonably valued at $10000/hr. Even though my product is now $300, I will give $1000 in service to customers. After $1000, your email goes to the end of the queue. I might get to it. Probably not, but maybe.
A 99 cent customer is still a paying customer.
Make a note of the problem and the fix, then add it to your FAQ, (or fix the problem..)
Thursday, June 18, 2015
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