Support : The sales opportunity.

I’ve had two problems recently and I was looking to buy (hopefully) one piece of software to solve them both…

Problem 1 : The mp4 files output by my Sanyo HD camcorder have the video and audio out of sync with one another when I play them in WMP (which I have to do as QuickTime crashes on every 64 bit machine I’ve tried it on). I wanted something to convert it to .wmv format that could be played by any windows machine with a default install of WMP.

Problem 2 : I needed to get some of my DVD films into a format (and size) that could be played by my Windows Mobile 6 phone. I thought/think I need something to convert .vob files to .wmv format.

I tried a couple of apps that claimed to do ‘any to any’ conversion and transcoding – no joy. I then came across Prism Video Convertor which also claimed to do the ‘any to any’ conversion and transcoding. I downloaded an evaluation copy and set to trying it out with the two cases / problems I needed solved.

Problem 1 – not problem, worked just fine !!
Problem 2 – no joy, blank screen when playing the output file 🙁

Searched through the support forums and FAQs, again no joy. By this stage I’m thinking it’s probably just me being stupid or choosing the wrong settings/codec/encoder or the like (I don’t profess to know much about this technology). I’m excited about the application, it’s solved my first problem, just show me the second one working and I’m sold (and I’ll rave about it to everyone I know..)

Time for the last resort – open their support page and fill in the form for a support case – enter the details, hit submit, bam “No support contract found, please buy a support contract”. The product is around $18, a ‘Silver’ support contract will cost me another $8, not much, but… I don’t want to throw away $8 for them not to fix the problem (it’s supposed to be a free trial – right), so I shimmy over to their ‘Reasonable Service Terms’ (their words not mine)..

Incredulous – the wording, the attitude, the sheer abrasiveness of it all. It made me think that they :-

  • Are setting my expectation that I’m unlikely to get a resolution
  • Are going to refuse point blank if there is even a chance of it not being their software
  • Want me to prove (beyond reasonable doubt) that it’s their software at fault before they would even consider helping me.
  • Don’t want to spend more than 10 minutes on a support case
  • Don’t really want me as a customer

I am all for setting expectations and outlining boundaries/limits but, in my opinion, this is completely the wrong way to do it.
Certainly as someone who is putting in the effort to trial their software, I do not want to have to pay for the privilege especially when I know it may not even do what I want meaning I may not even buy the application.

You can also bet that when they say…

    • It also does not guarantee that they will be able to solve all problems. It means only that they will do their best.

…their definition of ‘do their best’ will be completely different from mine.

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