Business Etchics Discussion

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by Goonigoogoo, May 26, 2006.

  1. Goonigoogoo

    Goonigoogoo Active Member

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    My story:

    The comapny i work for created an accounting software that runs on SCO Open Server, the company has bee active since 1983 with major and minor upgrades along the way. We have people still using WYSE Terminals and Special IX / Digi boards to print via serial networking and most now have an up-to-date network of computer, printers, print servers, etc. We do NOT support Windows issues i.e. spyware viruses and other user caused problems.
    What i do here is hardware support and installation on site, install printers that are on serial/print servers/ and shared off windows machines. Support barcode scanners, install telnet emulators, etc.

    My jiffy is that now Microsoft will stop supporting windows98 http://www.microsoft.com/windows/support/endofsupport.mspx
    And a lot of our clients still use it, i always slip into the conversations that they should upgrade their machines but they all have the mentality, which i can agree with: if it works why change it?

    My question is this: Ethically speaking should i still support printers, barcode scanners being installed on windows 98, ME machines even if they encounter problems? We have 400 clients across Canada and time is an issue for us, we DON'T want to spend longer than 20 minutes on the phone troubleshooting anything from software to hardware. Sharing a printer in Windows and then calling us to configure to work in UNIX takes a matter of 6-7 minutes tops!

    An example of this issue is a client, who uses windows xp without SP1 was having issues with a coupon printer connected via serial cable and i told him that he needs to do his updates cause i was positive and to this day i still am that that's what the problem was. Everytime he rebooted his machine he would lose his configurations. I told him i will no longer help you with this issue cause you failed to comply to what i asked, i've installed 100's of these printers this way and yours is the only one that's giving me the problem. We test every piece of hardware before it leaves here, which is what i did with that coupon printer, and we leave 2 sample invoices in there to prove it works.

    Mind you this was on Windows XP, i can't imagine how much heartache and bitching we're gonna have from clients 2-3-4-5 years down the line who are still on win98 having printer issues. Where do i draw the line ethically, do i tell them sure i'll try and help you resolve the issue even if it takes 2 hours or do it just say sorry, Microsoft no longer supports it so neither do we.

    I know my boss will have the final say but i'd like to know what you guys think.
     
  2. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    It sounds like you're taking the right stance. If you can help and the customer is willing to be helped, then you should help the customer. If you can't help, don't pretend to be able to offer a service you can't provide; likewise, if the customer wants help but refuses to act on the expert advice you've given them, then tell the customer that they are wasting your and their time and move on to the next call.
     
  3. 7960

    7960 New Member

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    If you stop supporting them what will they do? Will they stop calling? Does that mean you stop getting paid?

    What you're seeing as a problem sounds a lot like an opportunity to me. Create an "unsupported issues" sub-group and funnel all calls for win98 to them and charge more for the call.

    a) You know how to solve the problems already so you're not really going to take much more time so
    b) hopefully the customers are going to get pissed that they're being charged more, and
    c) possibly they'll use that as a reason to begin their corporate-wide upgrade to winME (haha)
     
  4. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I wonder if they could charge enough to pay for the anger management classes for the "unsupported issues" tech support monkeys.
     
  5. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    I do agree with much of this. Basically Microsoft has EOL'd Win98... Do something similar with your product when installed on an EOL'd platform. Cease (or restrict) free support, and provide per-incident, per-hour, or support contracts to satisfy those that do not wish to upgrade.

    Backing your product is important -- but there's a point where that support is no longer reasonable.
     

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