Monday, March 28, 2011

Why Customer Support Is So Important

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.

Please try MovieCaptioner to make your movies accessible. You can download a free 14 day demo.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Free Refills!

Don't you really like it when you go to a restaurant and there's a sign that says "Free Refills" on your drink? Well, I know a lot of people think I'm crazy, but that's my philosophy when someone purchases my software. Once you buy, you're in the club. You get free upgrades for as long as I continue to offer the software. Isn't that the way it should be? Why do software companies charge a premium for new versions of their software when often it's just a bunch of bug fixes anyway? Why should I have to pay for someone to fix what they should have gotten right in the first place? The way I feel is that free upgrades are a nod to my previous customers, a way of saying "thanks!" for supporting the software early on and helping me to improve it. When MovieCaptioner was first released a few years ago it had its share of major bugs, and being new to the software arena, I knew that I had to make up for my lack of programming ability by always striving to make it better and better, as trouble-free as possible. I think I'm succeeding for the most part, because I rarely get problem reports. Most of the time it's questions about "Can I do this?" or "How would I go about doing that?" I try to give each email I receive the utmost personal care. I figure that every time someone has a problem, it gives me valuable information about how people interact with the program and what I might be able to do to make things easier for the user. For being the sole proprietor and head bottle washer, I am really pleased that I don't get as many problem reports as I thought I would. Sometimes I feel like the Maytag repairman, and that's a good thing (if you're old enough to remember those commercials). So, just remember that when you purchase MovieCaptioner, you're going to get my undivided attention, and best of all, free refills.

Please give MovieCaptioner a try to make your movies accessible. You can download a free 14 day fully working demo.