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www.undertowsoftware.com • View topic - Undertow Participation Missing

Undertow Participation Missing

A discussion area for users of RTN2012, TLDCN2011, TLDCN2010, TLDC2009, TLDCN2008, TLDCN2007 & TLDCN2006

Undertow Participation Missing

Postby Dave.W » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:30 am

One thing that has been bugging me for a while is the lack of participation in these forums by Undertow. You'd think that they would be in here answering questions, telling us about the new versions of products, trying to sell us something (what companies typically do on their forums - to their benefit!), but not undertow :-( There is just loud silence when it comes to them. I mean, if I ask a question about the program, I'd really like it if the makers of it give me an authoritative answer. Is that too much to ask for?

Is anyone else bothered by this, or is it just me?
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Re: Undertow Participation Missing

Postby Dimitry » Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:47 pm

Dave:

Although I can certainly understand what you are saying and it would be nice to get feedback here directly from undertow, having spent 10+ running a software tech support department for a large software company, I think I can also understand their behavior. I'll just give you a brief summary of what was going on when I was on the other side of the keyboard :-)

This was a few years ago, but I believe it's still applicable. The company I worked for had over 200k end users, and had 3 tech support phone centers - all state-side :-) They had dozens of on-line FAQs for all their product which were updated on a daily basis. They had live chat, email support, etc. And they decided to have a message board (similar to this one) and provide actual support on it. Well, within a month after the message board was opened up, there were dozens of threads that had deteriorated to users posting abrasive responses to posts by company tech support people, complaining, swearing, whining, etc. having lost sight of the "original" subject and intent of each thread. We actually had to dedicate 2-3 people to just keep up with the users that were abusing the message boards. After about 3 months, the company announced that it would no longer participate on the message boards and went back to providing direct "email" and chat support.

I am now out of all that and as a "user" I expect software companies to support me and answer any questions I have about a product I purchase from them and I expect their support to be prompt, courteous and complete. I *expect* that. But, once in a while, I think back to what it was like being on the other side of the fence and having to deal with "some" users who were abrasive, mean, demanding, and many times so ignorant that they wouldn't even let me help them, because they thought they were so smart and so knowledgeable about the products, they would talk over me! No, not all of them, but enough of them to make me get out of that part of the business. I could amuse you with some real-life tech support gem phone calls we received at the time :-)

Anyway, to make a long story short, I can understand why undertow may not want to engage with users here and rely, instead, on direct email for their support. But, I have to agree, that they should at least post PR information and news about their products for this "captive" audience.
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Re: Undertow Participation Missing

Postby Kalteron » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:06 am

Dimitry, I really don't see how your long-winded response has anything to do with the original post!!
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Re: Undertow Participation Missing

Postby Dimitry » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:58 pm

If you don't see it, then you missed the point, completely :-(
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Re: Undertow Participation Missing

Postby artmart » Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:06 pm

Dimitry has the company side pretty well accurate and while may be a little short of what Kalteron thinks is the answer, allow me to try and put this in the perspective by definition.

A Forum is a collective of peers (company and/or users), but often administrated by a small group of people or other individuals not necessarily a company ,that administrate and organize a forum of specific topics. I belong to several forums that do NOT have company connections but a company rep has been known to participate when needed. In our case, this forum is for USERS of UnderTow products and happens to be moderated, not necessarily regularly supported by UnderTow. Forums can be sponsored by a company or private individual but the goal of a forum is to share common information that would not otherwise bother the sparse resources of technical manuals or a company's resources. The more complex a product, the less a customer seems to want to look things up and what better (and cheaper) way for a company to provide answers than by letting their number of current customers to the support for them. Years ago, these were created by companies as an effort to reduce the strain on support and phone resources to answer unrelevant, repetitive, emotional, angry responses to often selfish individuals who did not understand a product or a company's goals. Today, I participate in Forums because it is often quicker and more detailed than calling a Company. You wouldn't call 911 when you lost your wallet even though that would be an emergency to you, but not to 911 respondents. A forum is the same way in that it uses the vast resources of its end-user base as an extension of their very limited tech resources with often quicker more accurate results.

Dave - some topics in this forum have been responded to by a Moderator (UnderTow representative), but this forum is not their mainstay and I for one think this forum has helped them by providing an avenue to get answers from peers. You'll also find that in some instances forum attendees have agreed that the topic describes a problem, then a recommendation is to contact tech support. Most times you'll find members asking for help, posting a discovery, or providing information in the forum which means the COMPANY is not wasting time. As a user I would prefer the company spends time fixing bugs, making the next release and sticking to their business plans and leaving us lazy customers to ourselves. I have not only provided answers but have seen many answers from others and most times this does not require an authoritative response. Let's not forget familiarity and experience make very good authorities of many of us as long as you understand the philosophy and goals of the forum.

Now, this response is more general and this forum falls into this explanation and I hope this helps with understanding the purpose of a forum. If not, then pay my gas, buy me a cup of coffee and invite me over so I can explain a bell curve and where you fit in it and why you may need more help outside a specific forum. I'm not being cruel but at my age, I practice a bit of the "I don't know everything, but I know my limitations and others will have different limiations" philosophy. If I can help I don't mind, as long as you don't because I might need your help one day and would rather get it in a forum of peers than wait on hold these days.
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Re: Undertow Participation Missing

Postby Kalteron » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:13 pm

I appreciate the long explanations you and Dimitri provided, but I still can't understand why a company would not take advantage of this forum to continuously talk to a captive audience.
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Re: Undertow Participation Missing

Postby artmart » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:06 pm

Thanks for the appreciation, but the long explanations did no good if you still don't understand what this company (and many others) are providing via their forum. You think UnderTow is not reading what's going on here and in every topic in the forum? Sometimes no direct contact says things (why does it have to be them talking to us?) - where do you think their marketing people get their ideas to improve or provide features without having to spend high hours talking about the obvious or getting frustrated when some of us don't get their business preferences?

A Forum and Technical support are not the same things and don't have the same purpose. Rest assured there are personnel at UnderTow, and any other company that has a forum, that monitor their site so they are taking the advantages they need. Then for the majority of users, like me, am VERY GLAD that they let us talk amongst ourselves without their involvement as a central place to talk about their product and SHARE ideas. Having been in both sides of it all, maybe that's where we differ and you are having difficulty understanding that UnderTow is involved as much as they need to be and most users like it.

For everything else, or if your need is NOT met, contact their technical support and they're hoping that need will be rare.
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Re: Undertow Participation Missing

Postby Kalteron » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:02 pm

All I am saying that if it was me, I would welcome the opportunity to engage with users of my product!
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