Matt Binnington, Marketing & Communications Specialist, ACD/Labs
Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down with two of ACD/Labs’ Technical Support superstars, Laura Zepeda and Irina Oshchepkova, to discuss their experience assisting customers with software challenges. I wanted to provide a platform for them to elaborate on the issues they regularly help resolve, and ask if they had any advice for users to ensure a trouble-free experience.
Before discussing these topics in detail, Laura and Irina reinforced the value of ACD/Labs software maintenance, as this service provides access to regular updates and additional support resources, such as how-to videos and guides. Irina advised, “If users are interested in keeping their software up-to-date, receiving the latest features and capabilities, and accessing the full complement of technical support resources available, subscribing to maintenance is essential.” Laura added that maintenance is especially beneficial for larger corporations with multiple ACD/Labs users. “If multiple chemists are using the software, and the organization experiences any kind of turnover, then subscribing to maintenance allows new users to be brought up to speed quickly and ensures they receive exemplary support for any questions that may come up.”
Following this description of how ACD/Labs maintenance delivers the most up-to-date functionality to our customers, Laura and Irina then shared advice to assist users with a few different trouble areas.
1) Installation Troubleshooting
A key topic immediately cited was software activation. “One of the main issues we help with is installation troubleshooting—for example, if a customer has replaced their computer or experienced a hard drive failure,” shared Laura. She explained that to prevent software piracy, ACD/Labs issues software licenses to customers that are connected directly to our company’s internal servers. In order to migrate software to another machine, all licenses connected to the ACD/Labs server must be deactivated prior to successful installation on a new computer.
Irina also emphasized the importance of the ACD/Labs Installer, the executable file that enables the installation process. “We strongly recommend customers save the installer somewhere outside of the ACD/Labs program files on their computer, either on an external hard drive or burned onto a CD. The installer is required for the activation process, and if it is lost then a customer definitely needs to contact us in order to reactivate their software.”
Finally, Laura explained that users purchasing multiple licenses can prevent additional activation issues by avoiding the manual splitting of license keys. “For users installing the same set of tools on multiple systems we issue them only one set of keys for all the products they bought. We sometimes find that customers assume the keys need to be split between the various computers that will run the software, but all the keys need to be installed on all computers.”
2) Software Application Inquiries
As ACD/Labs produces a broad range of software solutions, it’s rare for Laura and Irina to encounter the same question twice. “Because we have so many techniques that we’re capable of processing and so many tasks users can perform with their data—for example database creation, access, and sharing, or data reporting—each customer’s interaction with the software is unique and we don’t receive a lot of frequently asked questions,” said Laura.
Since the variety of inquiries is extensive, the technical support team established a workflow to ensure responses are provided promptly. Irina explained, “Once a request comes into technical support it gets assigned to the most appropriate person, so if it’s a simple request the first staff member to see it will answer right away, or if it’s a more complex issue it would be forwarded along to one of our technical experts.” Regardless of the complexity, technical support sends an initial response within one business day. Since ACD/Labs possesses a global customer base, urgent requests are handled by local tech support staff in North America, Europe, and Asia, and then forwarded if additional expertise is required.
Once a solution is identified, technical support responds with directions to correct it. Laura finds these exchanges are frequently rewarding for both the customer and staff. “Generally users are very satisfied with our answers, and I’m always transparent with a customer if I’m out of my depth and need to request additional help from someone else in the company. We never leave an exchange at, “That’s all I know, sorry.” This openness and determined problem-solving is appreciated by customers. Laura added, “Overall, responses from users are good – we typically take silence as satisfaction. Once in a while we do get an email back saying everything works perfectly and the customer is very happy with the resolution. I always enjoy receiving those replies back.”
3) Bug Reporting
As with any type of software users occasionally encounter bugs, and Laura encourages customers to regularly report them. “If an error pops up it’s instinctive to simply close that window and try to continue working with the software, but we really value users taking an extra second to submit a bug using the ‘Send by Web’ button. This function pre-fills an error report web form, and ensures that our developers can prioritize implementing a fix for this particular issue.”
Irina also reinforced the value of submitting bugs via the web form, as it details the information required by the developers to investigate. “It’s so important to capture the essential information when an error message pops up, instead of emailing technical support with a written description of what happened. As a user you don’t think to include every step you took up to that point, but it’s essential to an efficient resolution.”
Laura added that reporting bugs directly benefits users. “If the particular bug has been encountered before then technical support will respond with a bug ID number, and the customer can then check on the status of that particular bug anytime with us; if it’s been fixed or is scheduled to be corrected in an upcoming release.”
Plus, ACD/Labs endeavors to correct issues before they become widespread, and reliable bug reporting benefits customers and the rest of the user-base directly. “As a company, ACD/Labs always updates our software instead of simply logging bugs or issues and creating a list of troubleshooting strategies for our users to look through,” said Irina. “We try to be proactive in prioritizing and correcting problems.”
Based on my conversation with Laura and Irina, who represent a much larger team that is equally focused on resolving our users’ problems quickly and courteously, it’s not hard to see why our customer support is so highly rated by users! If you ever encounter an issue with our software, or simply want to confirm that a suggested solution works perfectly, please contact us at https://www.acdlabs.com/support/.
Until next time,