This Is NOT Maximum Customer Experience

Yes, dear reader, I am going to name names here. Just not yours, I promise.

How many of you use FileMaker Pro? I love the product dearly and have been a loyal user since v.2. They’re up to version I-don’t-know-what by now. I am reasonably proficient with it and able to dig deeply into it when necessary, but like many other products in my life (Dreamweaver and TypePad come to mind), I want it to do the hard work most of the time, because I am an Experience Designer, not a programmer. It’s a convenience product that saves me a lot of time. Usually.

I have a tech problem with FMP.

I am no dummy, but after hassling with the program’s unfortunately-named “help,” then traipsing through their online “support,” then taking a step not everyone will and searching around for HOURS through Yahoo! looking for someone else who knows the answer to my problem, I’ve got spit in one hand and a wish in the other. I wish I had given up hours ago and emailed support. So with a bit of difficulty, but not much (you know how on some sites they absolutely bury the “Contact Us” info? Not really that bad here), I find their Support Feedback form.

Oh, good, no need to write an email and hope it gets to the right person! Support Feedback people will get right to the heart of matters. It asks me the usual contact stuff, email, etc., then I type in my problem.

I know the problem pretty well, by now, having discovered everything that is not the answer in my many searches, so I take my time and carefully fill out the form with a well-reasoned and to-the-point query, guaranteed to get a simple answer without a lot of back and forth (“Did you try X? Did you try Y? Is your computer even on?” You know the hey-moron questions). I need an answer and I need it ASAP, so doing this carefully takes twenty minutes out of my already-way-behind day.

If you know where this is going right now, you win the prize. Or you work for FileMaker, in which case… Call me.

I hit submit, and the polite auto-response page appears on my screen.

I cannot quote exactly because what I did next was to growl and shut down my computer. I should have written it down. It went something like this:

FileMaker does not respond to online queries. If you need help, you’ll have to call us.

As Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up.

Not only have I wasted my time filling out the form, but of course once you hit submit your careful wording is gone to the ether, so if you thought you might refer to it in a call, you’re out of luck.

Note: this is not “We don’t know the answer,” or “The answer is No.” This is “We aren’t even going to think about your concern in any way, yet wasn’t it funny to mislead you and waste your time. Screw you.”

Now comes the kicker.

I am much more dedicated to fixing this problem than some might be, although these are the moments that make me want to switch to another software entirely. So I reopen the laptop, go back into the website, and find their telephone help info. This part you can probably guess.

They want an obscene amount of money to talk to me. Fifty bucks. As I recall, this is about a quarter of what my last FMP upgrade cost me. I own your product. I want it to function, so that I don’t throw it across the room, tell all my friends that you stink, and go buy another relational database program or give up and use MySQL for everything. And you would like me to pay fifty bucks to make the program you sold me work like it should.

I could offer some sage wisdom about Experience Design here but I think you’ve got it, all on your own. This, dear reader, is not Maximum Customer Experience.  Think about links in your own chain where this may be happening, because unless your following is fanatical, you will lose them forever at this point. Just three quick tips:

  1. Make the answer available in the first place. I should not have to kill myself to find put how to use your product.
  2. DO NOT make me do work for nothing. That form was unbelievably disrespectful of my time.
  3. If you ignore 1 and 2, you do not care about your customers. Do not ask me to pay money to gain some care. That just makes me feel dirty.

How do you love Support Feedback? Let us count the ways! Share a story of your own NOT Maximum Customer Experience moment.

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson