A couple of weeks ago I needed to buy some software and found a company that seemed to offer what I wanted: a single license for a one-off project. I chose them because although I am very happy with my current supplier (this is for tax compliance) I needed a program for a back year which they could not supply to me.
I downloaded the program, found the license key, emailed for an activation key, and waited… several hours when I wanted to get the job done.
Eventually I had the email in reply, copied and pasted the key, and Hey Presto, the program worked.
I duly entered the required information, sent off to my client the work I had done, and everything was fine. When the client said he was happy, I went to start the program again, but was told my activation key had expired. I had paid my money. What was the matter?
I sent an email to the software company and asked for help, since they did not answer the telephone. Hours later I had an emailed reply, disbelieving my story. I sent a screenshot of my error message.
More hours passed. I was sent another email with a new activation key. I tried to copy and paste this, but a new error message said this was incorrect. I emailed back.
The next day (yes a whole day without resolving the problem) I had another reply suggesting I did not know how to copy and paste properly (yes, really). I tried to telephone again, but there was still no reply, only a recorded message stating their office was closed and their hours were 9 to 5 (but it was 11 in the morning).
I sent another email. I received another activation key after an hour or so. I copied and pasted, and worked this time it worked and the program ran. At least I had got the work finished!
At no time did I have any proper responsive or helpful contact with anyone in the company. The dialogue was from their side pre-programmed and unimaginative. I still do not know whether they ever answer the telephone, but it does not matter now because i will not be calling them.
Oh, and I will not be buying any more of their products.
The most important part of our relationships with our clients and customers is communication. We must keep them in the loop concerning the work we are doing for them, and we must be accessible at reasonable times if they need us or have questions. It is obvious.
I learned from this company how to lose a new customer, but I will not be putting it into practice. Nor should anyone.