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How to infuriate your customers in one simple step…

How to infuriate your customers in one simple step…

…Make fixing your crappy product almost impossible

I’ve a (legal) copy of a rather well known virus protection program on my PC, I shan’t reveal the name of the company (*cough* begins with “M” *cough*) as I’m nice.

Just recently it stopped auto-updating for no reason what-so-ever. I think it had gone on strike due to overuse scanning all my dodgy downloads (but that’s another story). I put off doing anything about it but as I’m quite quiet at work at the moment I thought I’d fix it. Simple, right? Just “Control Panel > Add Or Remove Programs > [Program Name] Change > Repair > Re-Install….” Do you think that worked? No it Flipping didn’t.

At least I had an (unhelpful) error message to Google which pointed me to the manufacturers knowledgebase. Great, help at last! Well, not really as there were 5 different articles to choose from, all on the same subject but all with different solutions. Nice.

So, I tried the first 4 solutions and had no joy – crashing my machine several times in the process. The fifth solution? Install a new file over one that must have become corrupt. Okay, sounds good. Where is this file? That’s where it gets annoying. The manufacturer’s advice:

Re-install the file yyyyy.xml which can be
located in C:blahblah. The file yyyy.xml can be obtained from another
machine with a working copy of

Another machine??

Fan-blooming-tastic. Now if I was at home that’d be a problem but luckily one of my colleagues was able to copy the file to my PC. But what about the poor home user? Are they expected to have it installed on more that one computer? I guess so. What’s wrong with simply providing the file for me to download if it’s a known issue eh?

Luckily, I’m a genius when it comes to computers (nothing like blowing your own trumpet eh? cheeky tongue) but if someone like my Dad came across this he wouldn’t have a scooby about any of this and would probably just go out and by another anti-virus program by a different manufacturer.

I see that far too often providers are just happy to ship the software – or website, car, or soft drink (new Coke anyone?) – without little thought for what the end user experience will be; all they care is that you have your hard-earned cash, hooray for them!

I accept that things will go wrong occasionally, but when it does, at least give us a viable means of putting it right rather than sending us around the houses and giving us convoluted, half-arsed solutions that are difficult to implement.

Or is that too much to ask?

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