I was pretty surprised to read emails from my customers who do closed captioning for their videos, saying things like, "it really is amazing to have such great service" and you "offer amazingly responsive customer support". Why am I surprised? Because I just can't believe that other companies and especially software developers aren't seeing customer service as a rare chance to really connect with their customers as I do. I am fortunate not to get too many technical problem reports on MovieCaptioner. I can't say it's really luck, though. At first I had my share of issues to deal with, but I listened to my customers and from their problems I was able to see the weak spots in my software and focus on fixing them. Sometimes this required fixing an obvious flaw in the software that just didn't work as it was supposed to, but sometimes it was more a case of controlling the way the user could interact with the software to guide them away from possible problems. Either way, when you do this, you're making a better user experience. I have worked with customers via Skype and iChat, sharing their computer screens so that I could see what they were doing wrong or what problem they were having with the closed caption creation process. I've actually redone parts of people's caption projects when they crashed and lost some work and had a deadline, I've compressed video for others, I've done screen capture videos to show someone a process and took countless screenshots of QT settings, MovieCaptioner Preferences windows, and the like. I figure that if my customers succeed, then I will as well. It may take time, but karma has a way of working things out. One customer emailed me and I could tell he was really irate that somehow his project crashed and he lost a bunch of work. This was about 10PM. I was able to convince him to send me his video and he had a pleasant surprise waiting in his email inbox the next morning. I had redone his project for him. It took me maybe a little over an hour of my time, but I figured it would be worth it. He was absolutely thrilled and promised to pass the word about how great MovieCaptioner was and the excellent support you get with it. Obviously I can't do this for everyone, but I had some time and he had a deadline, so I gave it a shot. I've also learned to have infinite patience, especially with people who are very frustrated or who just don't get it and need a little extra help. It helps me just as much as it helps them, as I get to see what types of people use my software and why they need it. I've added a lot of different features as a result of my work with dealing with customers' issues. I recently implemented a Backups folder that, when you quit out of your project will save any scratch files (used for Undos) to a Backups folder. This folder is available directly from the File menu and projects are listed by the date they were saved. This could, I think, prove to be a lifesaver for someone who has 6 hours of work and somehow loses his project. So, really it's all about listening to your customers and potential customers. You're bound to succeed if give them what they want.
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