Why support matters

April 08, 2009

I’ve been a happy paid user of CSSEdit 2 for well over two years now. So when MacRabbit released Espresso it seemed only logical for me to try it out. I used it for about a week until I deemed it fit for purchase. I sauntered on over to the MacRabbit online store and discovered (as pretty much expected) that there was a discount purchase option for current CSSEdit 2 owners (at 49.95€ rather than the full 59.95€). To qualify one has to enter a valid CSSEdit 2 license code, so I dutifully looked mine up in my e-mail archives, copied it, and pasted it into the appropriate text field.

But instead of allowing me to complete the order I was greeted by a message stating that my license code “is not a valid CSSEdit 2 code.” Of course, I knew this claim to be false since this is the same code that works just fine in my still functioning copy of CSSEdit. Just to be sure though I headed on over to the MacRabbit support page where I hoped the license code lookup form would offer some kind of resolution. I entered my e-mail address (which I double-checked in my mail archives to be the one I originally used to register CSSEdit) to have my code sent to me. That didn’t quite work:

“Couldn’t find anything with this e-mail address! Are you sure it is correct?”

The next step was to shoot off an e-mail to the support people:

Subject: Espresso discount for CSSEdit 2 owners
Date: March 24, 2009 22:43:36 EDT

Hi,

I am trying to purchase Espresso via the CSSEdit 2 discount option. The form, however, is not accepting my license code:

Name: (redacted) Code: (redacted)

It claims this is not a valid CSSEdit 2 license code. Furthermore, I don’t appear to be in your lost code lookup database either.

Thanks.

Indeed, I sent this on March 24th. Somewhere around three weeks later I was left wondering if MacRabbit even has any support people. But just to be sure, I sent a follow-up on April 6th.

Subject: Re: Espresso discount for CSSEdit 2 owners
Date: April 6, 2009 18:17:59 EDT

A reply would be most appreciated as there are only 2 more days left in the trial period.

Since I have fit Espresso nicely into my workflow for several projects and its trial period is not of infinite duration, I had to make a choice. Either I could buy it at the full price of 59.95€ and be done with it, or I could partake of the MacHeist 3 bundle to get a license for considerably less than even the discount option I was initially trying to use. I wasn’t originally looking to get the MacHeist bundle since I would rather just directly pay the authors of the one application I actually need. Quality software development is hard work and developing a good application can take an inordinate amount of time, so I don’t mind rewarding such effort by paying a fair price.

Alas, quality software is a package deal. If I am going to pay a quality price I expect a certain basic level of support. It is rather difficult to justify paying full price for a piece of software when the support part of it is not being handled very well (or, seemingly, not being handled at all). Therefore, I went with the MacHeist bundle. The outcome is quite favorable for me as I can continue using Espresso to get work done. I can’t say it is nearly as favorable for MacRabbit’s cashflow.

It is certainly not my intent to bludgeon MacRabbit with this. They make fine software. But they do need to tighten up ship a bit, for their own sake.

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