Our surveys consistently indicate that people have an uncommonly good experience when they contact LizardTech Support with a problem. We thought you’d like to know a little about how we support our customers and how our Support team feels about doing that job, so we sat down with our Support guy Dave, a person you’ve probably met if you’ve ever hit a snag using any of our products, and asked him a few questions.
Who is LizardTech Support? How big of a team are you and where are you located?
LizardTech Support is me, and if I get overloaded our sales engineer assumes the role of wingman. We sit smack in the middle of the LizardTech offices, instead of several continents away.
You seem to be making a point about being local. Is that important?
I am and it is. When you call LizardTech Support, your issue isn’t lost in a sea of tech support operators who don’t care. You’re not contacting a call center. Because we’re local we can attend engineering meetings to make sure we understand our products and our engineers understand the needs and experiences of users. There’s a small group here and we’re dedicated to resolving your issue.
What main idea would you want to communicate to the people who contact LizardTech Support?
We’d want you to know that we’re accountable. We’re not looking for proof that the problem is not our fault – our goal is to help you get back up and running.
How do you get people back up and running?
First we find out what product you’re having issues with. To do that we find your account, locate you in our database. Then you and I discuss your desired output and what you’re experiencing that’s preventing you from getting there. You may not be going about it the best way possible. There may be a better way and we’ll train you in how to do that. Rather than just hit the reset switch for you, we’ll “teach you how to fish”.
Is it always that easy?
Often but not always. Many issues are quite common and we can send instructions that we’ve already written out. If we find that a lot of people are confused about the same issue and that we keep having to clarify it, we’ll work with our documentation guy to turn our written instructions into a knowledge base article, so you should always check there [here] first to save yourself time. For problems that we can’t address off the tops of our heads, we do our best to reproduce in-house the error you’re seeing and try to learn what the problem is. Again, maybe there’s a better procedure we can suggest. If there’s an actual bug in our software, we take it to Engineering and it gets dealt with there.
How do you prefer to communicate?
By email. Since we deal a lot with images, we prefer email contact because we can send attachments, and there is a record of instructions that both we and you can fall back on. If you communicated with me three years ago, I still have your email. As noted before, these communications also form the genesis of our knowledge base articles.
What are the issues that customers come to you with most often?
Licensing errors, by far, and a lot of those come as users upgrade to new computers. Those we can usually sort out pretty quickly. Another big one is reprojection – customers using GeoExpress to reproject imagery – because it involves a lot of fine details and variables and it can become confusing.
What is the best way for customers to help you help them?
Consistently, the biggest delay for me in helping people get back up and running is a lack of specific job and product related data.
What kinds of data? Can you give us a handy list of things we should have before contacting you?
Glad you asked:
- product name and version number
- other LizardTech products you have installed and their version numbers
- which operating system(s) you use
- how much free hard drive space your computer has
- how much RAM your computer has
- the type and size of the files you are encoding
- for Express Server administrators, copies of your configuration files
- the task you were working on at the time the problem occurred
- the command you typed prior to the problem, if applicable
- the exact error message, if applicable
- whether you have restarted the computer and attempted to reproduce the problem
That would be a good start. Screenshots are very helpful. Screenshots of error messages, screenshots of images that don’t look right. A picture really is worth a thousand words.
What other things can delay getting a user back up and running?
(Laughs) People don’t always tell me the truth. I don’t know why. Maybe they’re embarrassed about something they tried but think they shouldn’t have, so I don’t get the complete story right away, which may delay finding the actual issue.
What would you say to those customers?
I’d say “I’ve been doing support for LizardTech for over four years so if you’re not telling me the truth, I’ll know it.”