4/9/2009 6:39:14 PM
Customer Service Policy
By Richard Rost
Here at 599CD, customer service is very important to us. We do our best to make sure that every customer inquiry is answered, and every customer complaint is handled to the best of our abilities - and as quickly as possible. We get a lot of emails from people asking for various types of help and tech support, so I wanted to take a minute just to clarify all of the different support options that are offered.
CUSTOMER SERVICE IS ALWAYS FREE
First of all, and most importantly, help with your 599CD purchase is always FREE. Whether you have a customer service question, or are having a technical problem with getting your 599CD courses to play, this kind of help is always free. You can find contact information here. It's my responsibility to do whatever I can to make sure the video tutorials you purchased from me WORK and that you can watch them. Now, I do tell everyone to make sure that you've downloaded and tried my FREE demo lessons BEFORE purchasing - just to make sure they work on your computer FIRST... but if you're still having problems, I'll do my best to get you up and running. I can't promise that I can fix every problem (especially if it's a pre-existing condition on your PC) but I'll do my best.
Unfortunately, we are not a very big company. We don't have the resources to staff a huge call center. We're a small business with a great product, but a small support staff. For this reason, we don't offer unlimited free phone support (sales, customer service, technical support) through a general phone number for our 599CD products. There is just no way that we could afford to provide unlimited free phone support and still keep our courses priced so low.
For this reason, we have tried to provide our customers with everything they need to help themselves online. If you are having a technical problem, we have a great Online Troubleshooter that can solve the vast majority of all problems users have with our courses. You can track the status of your order online using our Order Status page. MOST (about 90%) of the questions I get asked are already published online in my Frequently Asked Questions and Troubleshooting sections.
Now, sometimes we do get backed up with customer service email. Most of the time, in fact, I have dozens of pieces of email in the customer service inbox. I usually get to people by the end of the following business day. If you don't want to wait, I do offer priority customer service. There is a token $1.00 fee which puts you at the top of the support list. Again, 599CD customer service is always free, but if you'd like to 'jump the line' this option is available.
OTHER TYPES OF SUPPORT
Aside from 599CD customer service, people also ask me for help with their technical problems. This can be anything from Windows not booting, to solving a particular Access database problem, to setting up a web site, to getting help with a specific Excel formula. These are issues that are unrelated to sales or customer service issues.
Yes, I can help you with all of the above. Yes, I would love to be able to help EVERYONE with all of their questions and problems and not have to charge anyone a single cent. However, the reality of life is that there just aren't enough hours in the day. I get DOZENS of requests for free help every day. If I took the time to answer them all, I wouldn't have any time to do anything else... including making more video tutorials. Unfortunately, someone has to pay my bills, so I have to at least make enough money to keep the electricity on (otherwise, no computer for me).
If I were a billionaire, I could sit back and just help people all day long... and I'd enjoy nothing more. But, alas, my family and I need to eat... SO... I can only answer a couple of free questions here and there, when I have the time. Everyone else has the option to pay a very reasonable fee for some of my time, and I'll do my best to help you. I'm sure you expect to get paid for YOUR time when you go to work, right? Well, this is what I do for a living.
I sell a product. The product is my line of video tutorials. When you buy a tutorial, that's what you're paying for... the video. It doesn't entitle you to free support beyond that video. Yes, I TRY to offer as much free support as I can, but it's not a guarantee. You don't buy a car and expect free driving lessons from the dealership. You don't buy a book from the store and expect the author to personally answer questions about it. Likewise, I can't guarantee that I can help everyone with their computer problems for free. I just don't have the time.
So with that having been said, here are your support options for non-customer service issues:
TECHNICAL SUPPORT OPTIONS
First, and foremost, if you're looking for FREE technical support, your best bet would be to post your question in my ONLINE FORUMS. I am fortunate to have a whole bunch of great students who are VERY active in the forums (especially the Microsoft Access Forum) and love to answer questions from new users. If you can't figure something out, and need help, try posting your question in the appropriate forum.
Next, if you want tech support via email, I have the TechHelp page. Here you can ask me your question and specify how in-depth of an answer you want. There is a small fee for this type of support. You can specify how much you're willing to pay. However if I really like your question, I might make a video out of it and put it in the Tips & Tricks section, as I've done many times before.
If you want more than just email support, I can help you over the phone, live Instant Messenger chat, or even via Remote Support (where I can log on and see your computer screen). You can visit my Consulting Rates page for this type of support. I even have several other consultants that I work with who can also answer your question.
If you expect to require my services on a regular basis, and you don't want to pay for the expense of an up-front service contract, I also have my Access Insiders Circle. This is for people who need help with their projects regularly - maybe once or twice a month. You have a problem, and you don't want to hunt through the Web to try and find answers, so you call, email, or IM me and get a quick response. You don't need a ton of help all the time... just a little bit here and there. Oh, and this isn't just for Microsoft Access users. I've got one customer who gets help with FrontPage and ASP every couple days (you know who you are).
Finally, I get asked all the time if I would travel and speak to your group. Yes, I do make house calls. You can find my rates on the Consulting page. If you have a group that you'd like me to speak in front of on any topic (Access is my personal specialty, of course) or would like me to come in and train your group, I have laptop and will travel. My fees are very reasonable. Contact me if you're interested. Tell me where you're located, what you need to learn, and how many people are involved, and I'll send you a quote.
There, now you know all you need to know in order to get help. I'll admit, I'm not the cheapest, but when it comes to my areas of expertise, I am one of the best. Remember, I can do in a couple of hours what might take some 'other' guys several weeks to do. In fact this brings up a funny story...
AND NOW... A STORY
A few years ago, a local client called me in and said they had a need for a specific database they needed built. They explained all of the details to me (some data entry, a few custom reports, security, etc.) and asked how long it would take me to build it for them.
I explained that I could do it right there on the spot and have them a solution up and running by the end of the day. It was around noon at the time. The client didn't believe me, and bet me $100 (on top of my hourly fee, which at the time was $90 per hour) that I couldn't do it.
By 6pm that afternoon, I not only had built them a database from scratch, but I imported all of the data from their old system AND showed their staff how to use it.
Now here's the good part...
After doing all of this, the client (as he was handing me my check for $540 plus a $100 bill) told me that they had previously contracted another company to build the exact same database. They quoted him $5,000 and two months of development time to do what I had done in an afternoon. After waiting SIX months for a solution, the client told the other company to forget it... and that's when he called me.
I had to admit it felt a lot of pride in my own abilities when he told me this story. This isn't the only customer something like this has happened with either. I have another friend of mine who paid a local company THOUSANDS of dollars to build him a web site that took months... and I could have built it in a weekend for a quarter of the cost (he knows who he is, if he's reading this).
OK, that's enough bragging for one day. Thanks for reading. Sorry for talking your ear off. I've got lots of work to do, so I'll get back to it... but if you need help, now you know exactly what's available and where you can go to get it.
Keywords: help tech support customer service techhelp