Customer support the bad and the good

Another interest of mine is flight simming (not a word but you know what I mean).
After a gap of a couple of years I resurrected the old FSX software which had become inoperable when I moved to windows 7, reinstalled from source discs, ported over the scenery and aircraft that I could find, and set about getting aquainted with the game again.

In real life I flew a Piper PA38 - Tomahawk (G-BTAS) and had recreated this as well as other GA aircraft based at John Lennon Airport (Liverpool, EGGP). Connected the yoke and pedals, set them up. then fired up the sim. The buildings on the Liverpool site had moved... The reason for this was that I had installed photographic scenery for England, and accordingly the airport (runways etc.) was now geographically correct. The scenery I had loaded though was designed for the sim's default position so was therefore out by 30 or so yards. I had lost (technically I deleted it by accident) the latest version when transferring the files, the backup I used being the earlier position!

I could not find the file on the internet so contacted the author who advised that I was only one of 2 people who received this file and it had never been formally released. He did send me a copy of his latest version, in development as of now, which I installed - very good as is all the output from Derbosoft.

I did however succumb to impatience so downloaded the UK2000 scenery for EGGP. which is excellent although a heavy hit on frame rates.

So preamble over - what "grinds my gears" - well it's support sites. (trade descriptions should be brought in here).
Wilco publishing. I have their Airbus collection, downloaded 2008 ish so thought that there would probably be updates available on their site. Logged on and checked my account and found the original download info, in fact 2 files shown, one for a previous version of the Flight Sim. The order was dated January this year though, and no trace of updates on the site. I thought I would ask them why the erroneous order date, why 2 files (did I need them both?), and if the product had been updated with fixes etc. The response I got back gave me instruction of how to logon to my account, and no other information. My original enquiry was appended to the response from them.

I responded by asking why they had responded to an issue I didn't have, they came back and said that they didn't understand. I pointed out that as I had told them that I had looked at my account, then the answer regarding how to access my account was pointless. I also pointed out that they did not address the order date error of the two files available to me.

Their next response told me to download the latest version, but not where to find it, or even how to  identify it as the filenames on my account/download page do not correspond to the version information given.

Question is: Why don't support staff read what the question is, then read their answer, then read the question again to see if it correctly addresses it and whether or not other issues have been raised.

Flipside Derbosoft - The support and help Paul Derbyshire provides for his products aimed at the Flight Sim community is absolutely first class. he answered my question while away on business in Australia and tracked back on my communications of years ago to gather the required information. What's in it for him? Pure respect as his offerings are provided free to FS users.

Customer Support Issues - Part 2 - August 2011

I purchased Wilco Airbus series 1 under branding of Just Flight and found that the DVD would not run on my rebuilt kit due to copy protection functionality built onto the product. JF have an updated installer which recognises this problem but still fails to allow access to the disk, so I contacted JF support. A few weeks have gone by while information has been exchanged, and while a resolution to the actual problem has not been arrived at they have agreed to swap for the download version. Full credit to Martyn at JF support.
The odd thing here is that I theoretically have the same OS on 2 other machines and the disk works perfectly on each of these!

I have also been attempting to re-install instant scenery and Ultimate Terrain X USA on the new machine. I have found the downloads and ran the installers, but the software is not accepting the "key-files" still on my machine to validate the products.

I enquired about this, and was advised where to download Instant scenery (which I said I had done). I had enquired about UTX usa which was ignored although I have now downloaded this. The question about the non-acceptance of the key-file for instant scenery was not addressed. The "support" agent had also closed the ticket as answered. The UTX installation failed as it needs validation information from the original purchase which I do not have.

  • Just Flight 9/10
  • Flight 1 2/10 (well they got back to me quickly)
Customer Support Issues - Part 3 - January 2012

Here's one to avoid MAKRO. My local warehouse having none in stock I ordered a George Foreman Grill and Griddle from the on-line MAKRO store, duly paid for it on my debit card, and awaited the product. The following day (Tuesday) a parcel arrived from the Gateshead warehouse in response to that order. It was however not the product ordered, but a 10 portion grill. Documentation enclosed referred to the order as I had made and had been confirmed by reply to my order. Documentation also stated that I needed to contact their Customer Support to get a returns reference.
This is where the issues arose.
I telephoned Tuesday early afternoon and was told that all agents were occupied, leave a name and number we will ring back. I did, they didn't. Called back just after 5pm - closed.
Wednesday am - rang again, same message, I again left my details, again no response, Wednesday afternoon, same again, so I sent off an e-mail. Thursday no response. 2nd e-mail sent. Friday no response, 3rd e-mail sent: 5:44 here no response received so I am now contacting the "Which" legal services as this situation is totally unacceptable.
24th January "Which" advise writing to MAKRO reminding them of their liabilities and to send it Recorded Delivery. Letter duly despatched.
27th January: e-mail received from "Customer Services Department" advising that "I'm sorry to hear that the incorrect item was attempted to be delivered"[sic] and asked to reply to "arrnage the collection"[sic]. I was asked to re-order (the price had gone up by this time. After they have received and inspected the erroneously delivered item they would inspect it and start a refund process.
Replying to the same e-mail address that has not received (allegedly) previous e-mails seems a bit "iffy". I responded that I did not want a refund, but the product I ordered and pointed out the 1st ridiculous statement as shown above as well as their Disclaimer which reads (in part) "Makro does not accept legal responsibility for the contents of this message."
2nd February 2012: no reply received (no surprise here). So sent of a further e-mail both to MAKRO and their Group Head Office (METRO in Germany) with read receipt requests - the one to Germany was read quite quickly. At 1635 approx received a phone call from a person from MAKRO Customer Services who stated that my e-mail had been brought to her attention and that the correct product was "on it's way". Collection was arranged for Monday 6th. No refund of out-of-pocket expenses were offered however. Now awaiting delivery.

Recently my local MAKRO warehouse has closed it's top floor, seemingly downsizing. If the above scenario continues then it must soon go the way of badly managed organisations and close completely. See elsewhere on this blog for an example of their illiteracy.