A Customer Service Story

time to read 3 min | 401 words

Continuing the XHEO saga, I finally replaced the licensing component for NH Prof.

Yes, there is Rhino Licensing, I am sadden to say. Although an open source licensing component seems to be... an interesting contradiction. It would be a great joke to make it GPL as well, and see what happens.

Anyway, this is not the point of this post. Currently, the change is committed to the repository and I already updated the NHProf.com backend to generate the new licenses instead of the old ones.

That is where we get into a problem. We don't have UI for the new licensing scheme yet. So for now, I disabled the auto-deploy part. However, people are still (thanks :-) ) buying the product, which means that the license they get and the actual software they can download are not compatible.

This is not much of a problem, to be fair. We will have the licensing UI and resume auto deploy very shortly. But it is annoying to any customer who happened to get caught in the interim.

I just had a question coming to me from a customer regarding just this issue. In light of my recent XHEO support nightmare, I find support to be so much more important. You may have a great product, but your support can ruin the experience very quickly.

A few things to note about this mail:

  • I answered it within one hour of it being sent. Sorry, I am still having horrible time shaking off jet lag.
  • It was sent using the contact us form in the NH Prof site. This is just another thing that I did to make it as easy as possible to get the user's feedback. One thing that I will not do is to force users to go through a multi page support "wizard" nightmare.
  • A quick solution for the customer problem would have been: "wait a day or two, and there will be a version that supports the new licensing scheme". That, however, is not acceptable. And that leads me to the main point of this post.

The underlying assumption is that it is not the customer's fault, and even if it is, if you can, you fix it.

In this case, the scenario was completely my issue, not question about it. And leaving a customer dangling for a few days is an unacceptable action, in my view.