By Richard Rost
Customer service is very important to me. I do my best to make sure that every customer inquiry is answered, and every customer complaint is handled to the best of my abilities - and as quickly as possible. I 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 purchase is always FREE. Whether you have a customer service question, or are having a technical problem with getting your 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 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, I don't have the resources to staff a huge call center. I'm a small business with a great product, but a small support staff (of 1 person). For this reason, I don't offer unlimited free phone support (sales, customer service, technical support) through a general phone number. There is just no way that I could afford to provide unlimited free phone support and still keep my courses priced so low. Phone support is available, for a fee.
For this reason, I have tried to provide you with everything you need to help yourself online. If you are having a technical problem please check the Frequently Asked Questions page first. If you still have a problem, try posting your question in the Forums.
OTHER TYPES OF SUPPORT
Aside from 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 if I like it, I might make a video out of it and put it online, as I've done many times before. There's a long waiting list for TechHelp questions, though, and members get priority.
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.