Letter to Technical Support

Dear Sir/Madam,

Today, I got re-tweeted a post and not sure why I read it (I´m not in the hackers world, actually I’ not even a security expert).

I found amazing how Stack Overflow reacted and (in addition) how good they were solving the problem that fast.

At the same time, I’m trying to explain your Technical Support some problems that I’ve found in your product and only get an endless list of e-mails.

That makes me think about the following possibilities:

  1. I’m not as good as Anthony Ferrara, the author of the post that I mentioned above, explaining the problem. This might be true but after exchanging a few e-mails, sending sample code, screen captures and even decompiled your code (sorry for this), fixed it and reported the class and function that has the bug, I don’t think that I’m that bad.
  2. The problem is not as severe as a security question and so I cannot call your attention. Yes, this is actually true but I don’t think that is actually the problem.
  3. Technical Support in your company is not as good. I don’t think so I use to review your answers and they are actually pretty good.

So the conclusion is… sad enough, there is actually not such conclusion and I’m afraid that is something pretty common nowadays where support is not that important.

I must admit that Technical Support is pretty hard and when you need to solve many problems per day, having to switch from one to another, take a look someone else code… Is pretty hard to assess severity, understand the problem and solve it.

I remember my old days in HP where part the engineers that developed a product moved to Technical Support when development finishes and it got shipped. This worked pretty well in the sense that they knew what the code was about and the most important they knew who wrote it and even the authors had to dedicate some percentage of his/her time to Technical Support (if  requested).

Is this still a common practice? I haven’t seen it for quite a few years -excluding those small companies where developers  are manufacturing, support, system administrators, member of the technical committee, marketing and even janitors, but that is a different situation.

What I understand that companies should do is:

  1. Review questions in groups -not let one single engineer being the responsible of a ticket because if you get to the wrong persons, you are … dead (this about agile and scrum).
  2. Have a small part of the development team doing support. There are two benefits on this, the first is that they know a lot about the product and second -and most important- is that when they get back to development, they know A LOT on how actually the product is used and the problems that those small and fast decision can cause.

My very kind regards and congratulations for your excellent product.



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