Technical Support Poll: Your Recommendation!

Discussion in 'FirstDefense-ISR Forum' started by Leapfrog Software, Jun 14, 2007.

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Techincal Support Recommendations

  1. Build the anticipated cost of technical support into the price

    27 vote(s)
    67.5%
  2. Charge for technical support on a ?per incident? basis

    9 vote(s)
    22.5%
  3. Other (please post)

    4 vote(s)
    10.0%
  1. Leapfrog Software
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    Leapfrog Software Leapfrog Management

    As most of you know, Leapfrog Software is in the software development business, working with business partners who sell our technologies and provide technical support to the end-users. Leapfrog Software provides technical support to the business partners.

    We at Leapfrog Software, subsequent to Raxco’s decision that it would no longer be a reseller, have been trying to determine what might be the best approach for handling public technical support. The following issues are applicable regardless of who provides that technical support (Leapfrog Software or its business partners). We would like input from our end-users.

    Here is the situation from our perspective:

    • Most end-users require little or no technical support. They read the instructions including minimum system requirements, FAQ’s, application notes, consult the Wilders forum by reading existing threads or posting questions in new threads.
    • Some need a “minimum” amount of tech support because they have a somewhat unique situation with their hardware or software.
    • A small percentage want tech support because they have not bothered to read the materials, or they have a problem that is not caused by our software, but any problem that occurs after installation of FirstDefense-ISR they attribute to the software.
    • Finally, there those who require considerable tech support because they are “in over their heads”.
    This leads to the question of how to best address the cost of providing technical support. Here are the options we currently perceive:

    Build the anticipated cost of technical support into the price, and allocate these dollars to those who will be providing the tech support (through pricing decisions are with the partners). This has been the model used.

    Positive(s): End-users don’t have to wonder what the cost of tech support might be – there is no additional charge, at least for an initial period of time.

    Negative(s): a) if the actual amount and cost of technical support becomes too great, it discourages partners (they lose incentive to continue); b) if a business partner decides not to continue, this presents a different risk to end-users in regard to tech support.​

    Charge for technical support on a “per incident” basis, with a refund if the problem is a software bug.

    Positive(s): a) Product pricing could be adjusted so that those who don’t require technical support don’t essentially “subsidize” those who do; b) if a reseller decides to exit the market, there will still be financial incentive for someone else, be it another partner or Leapfrog Software itself, to provide technical support to those customers who bought through the departed reseller.

    Negative(s): a) “risk” of some unknown future cost of technical support to an end-user. With the provision of a download for a free trial period, this risk is somewhat mitigated. If an end-user has initial problems that are not easily resolved, they can elect not to purchase the product and thereby eliminate that risk of future tech support costs; b) The “marketing” negative inference of “they don’t stand behind their product – they charge for technical support”.​

    Although this approach of “asking the advice of our users” may be non-traditional, we feel we can best service our public user base if we ask for you to weigh-in on this. What would you recommend?
  2. Huupi
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    Huupi Registered Member

    To commit users to your [upcoming] support strategy is indeed a white raven,but it warms my heart !!!
  3. mrhero
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    mrhero Registered Member

    Hi,
    Email supports should be free, so you can add email support costs into the price.
    Phone supports should be charged per incident. Becouse customers from overseas (like me) never use phone support.
  4. Peter2150
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    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Hi Todd

    This is the 64 million dollar question. Just some thoughts based on experiences. I guess I would tend to favor built in costs, even though I voted other.

    With FDISR, and Raxco I've been pleased. In working with FDISR, I have encountered two major bugs, first the rolloever problem with the mft, and 2ndly the VSS conflict. So if I was paying for a per call basis, when I called these in, and it was discovered they were bugs, even under the refund policy, I might be less inclined to want to put the time in to trouble shooting and getting the problem resolved. They way it is now, I felt it was more of a "partnership"

    A worse example of the pay per issue approach was an experience I had with Intuit(Quickbooks). I had a problem doing something, and I wanted to resolve that either I coudn't do it, or how to do it. I called, and they put it on a pay per call incident. I paid, and the information I received was flat in correct. I was pieved to say the least. That is a big risk to the pay per issue model.

    Pete
  5. sukarof
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    sukarof Registered Member

    If you need support you pay extra for, say one month, year or per incident, support. Personally I rarely need to contact support (unless I run beta but that goes without saying) and I guess there are many of us.
    The help files should be very detailed though so we have a chance to solve the problem our selves.
    I dont mind paying for much info. But paying for support that I dont need and often only serves those who dont understand or are to lazy to learn feels wrong. So per incident would be most fair.
    Just the first reaction on the poll I have. But at the end of the day it really doesn't matter. If the software is as good as FDISR I´ll pay what it costs. :)
  6. twl845
    Online

    twl845 Registered Member

    When I purchased FD-ISR, I paid for the product, and maintenance (upgrades and support) was extra at $13 per year. I would have done much better at this point to use support on a per incident basis with upgrades as part of the registration. We don't have ANY assurances that our $13 maintenance fee will be honored. Will I get a dialog box come up telling me an upgrade is available, please close all open applications and click download?:doubt:
  7. Texcritter
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    Texcritter Registered Member

    Hi all

    My opinion only.
    I would only normally buy from a reputable company but when I buy something I want to know what the cost will be regardless of the consequences. Maybe the price will be higher, but I can then decide whether it is value for money or not. Once I've paid my money I will get or not get the support needed. If the support isn't there then it doesn't take long for the word to go around, and companies can only survive on a good reputation.
    If we all don't bear the cost then some wil pay highly and others will pay less but in a modern society do we really want one price for the rich and one for the poor. The majority of people are not rich so keep the price right and your onto a winner.
    All most people want regardless of cost is VALUE for MONEY......
  8. Longboard
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    Longboard Registered Member

    Voted
    I like the tech support built in to price.
    Not that it is relevant now but the Raxco support based on my contract price has been exemplary : no reason to regret it or complain; now if anyone else could match that: excellent.

    Heh; sell 100,000 units with service contract @$10 per service contract/24 months: should make everybody :)
  9. TouchuvGrey
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    TouchuvGrey Registered Member

    I recently noticed that the "check for updates"
    option under "help" was greyed out. I posted here
    and emailed support at Horizon. I was informed
    as a result of my support ticket that the "check for
    updates" from within FD ISR was something they
    had been considering implementing but was
    not an actual option. If i'd had to pay to learn
    that i would have been very upset.

    I'd say build the support cost into the price
    of the software in the first place. I like to know
    what something is going to cost me. Per incident
    support can be a nasty surprise.
  10. ErikAlbert
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    ErikAlbert Registered Member

    This might be another indication, that FDISR is dying. :mad:
  11. tradetime
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    tradetime Registered Member

    Clearly FD-ISR may have some issues to iron out that take precedence over support. Like what features various partners are dumping from it, and would anyone care to alert potential buyers of the absence of these features before they purchase.
    My Raxco version still allows the "check for updates" but then it also has a freeze option ;)
  12. TouchuvGrey
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    TouchuvGrey Registered Member

    I sure hope not, FD-ISR has saved my ( ! )
    several times already. I use an external HD
    to do backups also, but FD is a lot quicker.
  13. TonyW
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    TonyW Registered Member

    I doubt it if this thread is anything to go by. More announcements are due soon.
  14. Rilla927
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    Rilla927 Registered Member

    Build it into the price.
  15. wilbertnl
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    wilbertnl Registered Member

    Hello there,

    Recently I decided to dust my old, but precious FD-ISR.
    Since the last time I have used FD-ISR, the world has taken a few turns and as I understand it now, it looks like an update would be a downgrade of features.

    In another thread I notice links to more recent releases than I have.
    The reason I respond in this thread is that I think that it is reasonable to offer the 'final stable release before commercial modifications' as a download.

    As a courtesy to FD-ISR users, who own a full license and are willing to donate time and experience in this support forum.

    What do you think?
  16. twl845
    Online

    twl845 Registered Member

    FD-ISR continues to save my bacon on a regular basis. I don't think you could improve on it with an update. Before I downloaded any update, I would have to know it wouldn't lessen its effectiveness. :cool:
  17. Peter2150
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    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Most of us, at least Raxco users, got a final stable release, 205. But stay tuned, Todd may have something else.
  18. demoneye
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    demoneye Registered Member

    someone else said that but it true , FDISR support xp and vista , its will take something like 2-3 years xp will gone for good.... for vista also 2-3 years from the point xp gone.... thats give us about 5-6 years FDISR will stay and keep KICK ASSES :argh:

    cheers:p
  19. beethoven
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    beethoven Registered Member

    While most of the software I install runs smoothly without the need of any support, I am much more likely to purchase a program knowing that support is available when necessary. While technical support via email or phone is great, my personal experience with this type of support is rather mixed (email is slow (especially if you want the weekend to try something), often not fully addressing the issues and phone support stuff have varying levels of experience). If I had to pay extra to get this support, not sure if I would want to do that. Generally speaking my preference is for a support forum that I can judge based on activity and members. Some fora like Opera are so active, I cannot imagine that additional support can create extra value. For those of us who "live" here on Wilders, we also get a pretty good feeling about the quality of individual posters recommendations or advice. Some good and perhaps smaller companies (Sandboxie, Defensewall) provide their support forum using a mix of users with the assistance of the developer. Given the choice between a good forum and email support, I would always take the forum.
    A decent help file and/ or pdf documentation certainly always helps.
  20. rwt325
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    rwt325 Registered Member

    As a customer I prefer to deal directly with the manufacturer as my experience with re-sellers, partners , distributors is that they are ignorant or lazy or both, and end up referring you to the manufacturer. This is particularly true of software products. Most will refer you to excellent forums like this one. Such forums are my first resort anyway on any computer or software matters.

    As an ex-manufacturer of technical products (not computer related, but some went into the old mainframes) I found re-sellers sometimes convenient for purely commercial reasons, but completely useless at solving any problem other than delivery and billing. All technical problems were automatically referred to manufacturer.

    As a software customer I prefer a price model that builds in support costs into the the original price. Known bugs should be taken care of by version updates. Any real improvements in functionality, speed or reliability will justify a new version that can be priced according to its added value, with perhaps a price break for existing users.

    Sorry for the long diatribe.