Friday, January 29, 2010

Managing Expectations

I got a support call the other day from a customer -- they hadn't yet received their license file, and were wondering where it was. In these days of instant online purchases, I suppose I might wonder too. How come it takes so long to get a license file? For new readers, this might come as a surprise, but Quma is a one-man operation... and for most of Quma's existence, it's been a part-time operation as well. As a result, I have to make tradeoffs when it comes to running the business. Among those tradeoffs is the balance between development, and business process automation. Where will my time best be spent? So far, it hasn't made much sense to automate the order processing side of things because there are not that many orders. So, each order is manually entered into our order database, and each license file is created 'by hand' using tools I wrote to generate the license files. Since Quma is a part-time occupation, those orders get processed in the evening.

I hesitated to compose this entry, but one management activity that has merit is the management of expectations. From my perspective, I think I'm fairly accessible for support issues, and am responsive to support requests, etc. But my perspective may not be the same as someone who is expecting something that I cannot provide... so in the hopes of managing expectations...:

In general, I respond to e-mail support requests from anyone within 24 hours. Precedence is given to customers, but sales support is available. Orders are processed within 24 hours, with the caveat that I can only process an order after I receive it. Sometimes NorthStar and/or RegSoft are slow in forwarding orders to me which can lead to delays. If you need support, I much prefer e-mail to phone support. If you do call, you'll typically be reaching me at my day job. I won't be in front of a computer, and so may not be able to provide a useful answer from memory... so please use e-mail if you can. The forums are useful, but you need to email me in order get approval to post to the forums -- I do this to prevent forum spam, which would otherwise be a major waste of my time.

Posted by Jim Voris at 9:12 PM
Categories: General, Management