DAM Software; how to avoid poor Customer Service

Avoid being Charlie Brown
Does the Software Customer Service live up to the reputation the vendor proclaims as you go through an evaluation process of deciding on a new software solution? Sure we look at big bold type on a vendor’s web site proclaiming “our relationship with our customers is #1!” The reality is as a consumer, you really don’t know what you’re saddled with until after the purchase and you are now facing the first implementation issues. Most likely your next step is to gather some quick guidance from the vendor’s customer service support line. So with that excited expectation of interacting with a knowledgeable and professional customer service representative, you instead encounter……….”you are now the 10th caller in line, your wait time is 40 minutes, you may leave a message, or go to the Customer Service section of our web site and fill out a ticket and one of our trusted experts will be back to you within 24 to 48 hours.”

Suddenly you realize you are Charlie Brown and the Vendor (aka Lucy) just ripped the football away as you tried to kick it?

Keeping Support “Old School”
So before I go any further and my CEO doesn’t string me up by my toes, I should throw out the following disclaimer that my company MerlinOne keeps Customer Service “Old School.” What does Old School mean? No call center, no online support tickets, no automated phone menus, and NO WAITING. It is simple, you pick up a phone, call our support line (24×7) and a live human (at the office not off-shore) answers the phone and proceeds to consult, guide, and solve your problems. Our Customer Service methods work amazingly well and I can honestly say our customers LOVE IT!

So here is a list of questions to ask potential DAM Vendors as you evaluate their Customer Service Support practices.

    • Do you have different levels of Customer Service Support and is there a cost associated with it?
      There seems to be a trend in the software market where Customer Service Support is becoming a commodity with these Bronze, Silver, and Gold support programs (Some vendors might even call it Basic, Professional, and Enterprise). What constitutes the differences between these levels of support? Does Gold/Enterprise give you instant access to a support professional vs a delayed response at the vendor’s leisure (between 24-48 hours)? Or is it the difference between an assigned support person vs anyone in their support pool who most likely has little or no knowledge about how you use the system. Great Customer Service Support should have a human factor where both parties (vendor and customer) share in the knowledge of system usage, goals, and ongoing education as technology and data evolves.


    • Is your Customer Service Support Center handled by a third party?
      You know you are in trouble when someone in answers the phone and says hello my name is “K-E-V-I-N” how can I help you? In this scenario you are not calling “SUPPORT” but a “HOT LINE” where attendant tries to assess if your problems fall into the parameters of a scripted support scenario.


    • Does the vendor Customer Service Support phone line make you go through series of automated MENUS?
      One word, INFURIATING, enough said!


    • Does the vendor direct customers with support questions to a KNOWLEDGE BASE section of their website to get the customers involved in solving support issues?
      I never quite understood this concept. What if your doctor was running late with your appointment and said “it is going to be a while but feel free to poll the other patients in the waiting room for answers?” That would be not acceptable! So why would you allow that from a vendor supporting you? If you are seeking help from vendor’s “Knowledge Base” then all you are doing is increasing that vendor’s profit margin (reducing their customer service support cost) while possibly receiving inaccurate information from someone who is not accountable.


    • Do they direct customers with support questions to an online form when they are not available?
      I don’t know about you, but every time I have to fill out an issue ticket with someone’s software I always get those anxious feelings like I’m adrift in the ocean waiting to be rescued. Which always leads to the questions of when will they call back? What if they call and I’m on the phone with someone else? Do I have to fill out another ticket and wait another 24 to 48 hours? What do I tell the boss? Waiting on bad costumer support always leads to a loss of productivity, blown deadlines, and ultimately a loss of money.


    • What is the average wait time in getting a support issue resolved?
      If it depends on any of the 5 steps above, you are in big trouble!


Customer Service Support should always be about human interaction!
As much as everyone in the software business loves to proclaim they are easy-to-use, reduces manual processes, and saves time, the truth is, software can be complicated and there is always a learning curve. Software takes time, patience, and an experienced expert to guide you through unforeseen obstacles. As you evaluate DAM Software vendors be sure to ask what their customer service support practices are. Investigate how much of the vendor’s support practices have human interaction vs automated processes. Bottom line anything less than prompt access to a support professional equals a loss in productivity and you ultimately having to find answers on your own.

David Farrell
Marketing & Sales Manager
Email: dfarrell@MerlinOne.com
Phone: 617.237.2363

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