Tuesday, 16 March 2004

An Open Letter to Commercial Software Companies
(or, Food for Thought for one yet to be named)

I don’t expect perfection from you. If your software has some issues that make it difficult to implement at a business level, I simply expect you to support the implementation and help me get it done. You best have a damn-good support department – a support staff and managers that respond to emails and phone calls. Not just responding when it’s convenient – I mean responding in a timely manner and following through on any commitments they make. If I have to spend six weeks trying again and again to get your people to help me, you should see the problem without me telling you there's an issue, and without me having to write this letter.

I’m on the edge of firing a software company, one with which I have an established relationship, and only after working very hard to try to be a “reference-able” customer. Sure, the software application has all the promise in the world, but enough glitches to require working through the bumps in the road in order to meet every-day production use requirements. I have been working under the assumption we could get past these hurdles, but what good is that is your people won’t even return email or phone call requests for assistance? I should not have to do any of the work it takes to be a customer that you can use as a reference – That’s your job.

And know this: All the good past experience in the world means nothing when you suddenly drop the ball over and over and repeatedly fail to pick it up, despite the fact that I am standing here pointing at the damn ball. I don’t care how much potential there is in the vendor-customer relationship. If you don’t do your job, you can expect I will not be your customer.

But perhaps most importantly: If you screw up the relationship and don’t make good on it, you’ll have to deal with all the consequences, including the fact that I’ll probably tell people far and wide what a bad experience I had with your company, and how it hurt my business and reputation. Many people from a wide variety of businesses look to me for advice on software and systems, and I tell the truth when asked. So, if it means some bad exposure for your company and product, remember the most important lesson of all – You’ve earned it.



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Tech | Things that Suck
Tuesday, 16 March 2004 18:45:27 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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