To: Paul B.
You do not appear to live in the real world of service to the customer.
I have one piece of complex software (not genealogy) that, when I have a problem, I call an 800 number, 24 hours a day. I might have to wait on line for up to 20 minutes or I might reach a tech person immediately.
If my problem proves to be beyond the extensive training and resources at the fingertips of that tech person, I am given a 'ticket' number and asked to hold a bit more.
The next tech person is even more highly trained. I understand, should my problem still not be solved, I might have to wait until the next day when I will be called.
Out of curiousity, I have asked where each tech person was located geographically, anywhere from Southern California to Seattle WA, to UT, and only sometimes points east of the Rockies. I think it has something to do with how busy the phone lines are here in the west.
So far, every problem has been solved at the first or second level and it has been solved while talking to the tech staff. I never have had to wait (except maybe for a tech person to connect with me). Someone has always fixed stuff before hanging up, and at any level, they always squeeze in the words, "Thank you for calling . . ."
Now that is service!
I have another non-genealogical piece of software that is even more complex than UFTree. In fact, my manual alone fills two 3" binders (8.5 x 11).
When I am really stuck and the manual doesn't help, I email a description of my problem to a web address. Only once did I have to wait 2 days for a well thought-out solution. (I am not talking about Melissa but that is the kind of service Melissa provides.)
Lastly, I was unable to use my scanner after updating related software. I called an 800 number for advice. I was told, "call this (other) 800 number. The warranty on your scanner expired two years ago. Tell them you need a current driver. Have your credit card handy. It will cost you $40. Thank you for calling . . ."
Is the UFTree staff or genealogy.com staff capable of even recognizing such quality, let along providing it? (other than Melissa or blue).
I recognize that UFTree does not yet generate enough money to pay for such knowledgable staff.
Of the three examples I above, the second one probably has only twice as many users as UFTree, well, maybe three times as many.
And just think! If support is becomes real and not just a word, sales for UFTree will jump, but probably at the sales expense of that 'other' program (the one named F someting M.)
Paul B., if, this spring, there is a significant update or correction of bugs, I will once again be able to tell and show my genealogical friends, nationwide, why this is the best genealogical program there is.
The key is to hire technical staff that are intelligent enough to be trained to do the job, give them backup support, and if tech individuals don't care about doing their job, replace them.
If the company (owners and staff) wants to regain the respect of their customers, it must respect the customers and work to serve them. Do you, Paul B., have any way, yourself, as an employee, of implementing sensible service policies?
I taught public school for over thirty years. In spite of what you may think, or have heard about so called 'bad' teachers, if I had not produced a useful and intelligent product (knowledgeable children) I would not have kept my job. Very few teachers do a 'bad' job. Those who fail usually leave. The same is true in any business. The product or service must be the best product or service that your staff can produce or someone else will do it better.
End of lecture.