Diskeeper Corporation’s philosophy in regards to Technical Support is to service you as near-instantly as possible.
For four days, I've been trying to get the product I paid for. I still don't have it. Diskeeper's karma has, I'm afraid, run over its dogma.
When you buy Diskeeper online, you don't get a link to the product. Rather, you get a link to a download application. The application is supposed to download Diskeeper for you. Unfortunately, for me, it doesn't work: it complains that there's no connection to the Internet, then crashes. Every time.
The receipt email links to a FAQ entry titled "I am having trouble downloading; What should I do?", which tells you how to avoid problems downloading the little downloader application. It doesn't solve problems with the downloader itself. The fall-back advice at the end reads:
If you continue experiencing problems with the download, please respond by including a screenshot of the problem is possible. This will help us assist you to get your product.
There are three identical looking "This didn't help" buttons on the page, each after different re-writes of the same advice (disable firewalls; delete your IE cache; fix your security settings; and make sure you got your link right). The first sends email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The second links to the technical support form. The third, which I clicked, sends email to email@example.com.
I sent the mail my Monday afternoon, ready for the USA's Monday morning. Diskeeper's "near-instant" response turned up their Wednesday morning. Sadly, they'd ignored the screenshots they'd asked for. Instead, I was directed to the technical support form. I filled in the form at noon PST, three hours ago.
Whilst I wait for Diskeeper's "near-instant" response, I'd like to offer them some advice based on the best practice I've experienced buying other software online:
Get the downloader right. You're trying to improve your customer experience. The downloader had better be good.
Give a direct download link in the receipt email. Every other downloader I've encountered has been accompanied by a direct download link in case the downloader failed. Oddly enough, all those downloaders worked fine.
Include the product key in the mail, so customers can activate their trial version if they can't download the full version. The trial download used a direct download link and worked first try. If I knew my key, I'd be up and running now.
Link to the trial version download page from the "I can't download!" FAQ entry, just in case.
Make those identical buttons behave identically. It was only when I went back and studied the FAQ entry that I realised that the three buttons had different functions. Re-reading the content, I still can't figure out why they're different. I understand the need for different "that worked!" buttons so you can track the results. There should be only one "I still can't do it" button, though.
State realistic support response times on the support form. If you're not staffed for "near-instant", don't claim it. You're better off to tell people it'll take four days and be right than claim it's instant and then have them wait that long.
Raise the support case yourself if someone emails you all the details you need. I had to fill in my details once to buy the product. As you asked in their web page, I sent you all the problem details with screen shots. Instead of connecting the dots, you asked me to go to another form and repeat both sets of information.
Register support accounts at the time of sale. You have the information, Diskeeper. Use it.
Send an email to confirm that a case was raised. I'm still waiting for such a mail. Every other company sends one. Maybe there's a technical problem holding the mail up, but given the rest of the situation I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for it.
(bonus!) When you send a license file, include instructions. More detail on that one below, in the updates.
(bonus #2!) If Diskeeper is happily licensed, disable the Registration menu item. With the license file in the same directory as the installer, Diskeeper will be properly licensed but won't give you much of an indication that you can stop worrying. Why leave customers to worry?
I think I'll give Diskeeper another week, then ring Visa and cancel the transaction.
Two days later: Diskeeper's webmaster reacted faster than Diskeeper's support department, despite having to spot a random blog post rather than check the queue on the official support form. He or she knows how to apologise, and asked for my purchase order number so s/he could fix the situation.
I'll let you know if Diskeeper's actual support personnel ever get back to me. Y'know, the people paid to do it.
Another four days later: Diskeeper's webmaster wrote to inform me that "[the] download issue that you are experiencing is one we are aware of and are currently working on correcting", and attached a license file. The download trouble FAQ still doesn't mention the problem, though.
What to do with the license file isn't entirely clear. Webmaster said to download both files to the desktop and then run the installer, so I did that. I poked around trying to get the license key, and ended up forcing an activation of some sort online. The "Enter License Key" menu option is still present and live.
If it turns out Diskeeper is still in trial mode and expires, I'll certainly mention it. If not, I guess this gets me up and running. That's nice enough for me, but I sincerely hope for Diskeeper's employees and shareholders' sakes that they fix the problems before they affect more customers.
Later still: Webmaster tells me the license file will have worked. I've added another bonus item.
Yet later still: I'm online for the first time in days. Other Diskeeper personnel have been in touch to check that everything's OK. One even found my mobile number somewhere. I'm delighted to see some professional fire-fighting in action. I also hope they can make some simple changes to prevent the need for fire-fighting in the future.
(I posted those last two items at the same time. I made them separately because Diskeeper's anonymous Webmaster deserves credit for yet another rapid response.)