I was really impressed with the help I got from Paul O at Tracker Software a few weeks ago, which I wrote about here, in Talking like a person in an age of your-call-is-important-to-us: how to earn social capital
Part of the reason I posted the original article is a guerrilla tactic I hope you will try yourself: instead of putting out blog posts when I am annoyed, I'm going to try to put out posts when brands do a good thing. Rewards are generally more motivating than punishment. So, I wrote Mr. O to tell him about the post.
He was kind enough to tell me a bit about Tracker's customer support philosophy, which he says "was drilled into me by the company founder."
"Support for the software is important."
We believe, as it seems do you, that a positive support experience can take a disgruntled user and make them a loyal return customer. This translates directly into ongoing sales. We want you back.
"All users get the same support."
We maintain that 'the little guy' is just as important as the global corporate clients. We offer free products as well as licensed ones and honestly try not to distinguish between users who have not paid us a cent and those who have paid tens of thousands of dollars. Again this is simply building good will.
"Users get a punctual support response."
We are frequently told what a surprise it is that users not only get a response when often they expected an email to drop into /dev/null (sorry for the geek speak here) We have a policy that there should never be an email in the inbox not responded to for more than 30 minutes. Of course being human this is not always the case but we do try. I think it is that human element that makes the difference, we all like to feel valued."
This is a very sound approach, and the world would be a better place if there were more people doing things this way. Logical. Sound business thinking. And looks after customers. What could be better?
I was also impressed that they have created a knowledge base article on my problem, and are also going to include a "quick start" document with the next release of their products. There's no substitute for taking action to reduce the need for support.
[BTW, now that I've been using their product for a while, I have to say I really love their PDF tools. And they didn't pay me to say that.]