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Old July 4th, 2001, 04:26 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA
Posts: 10,515
Our support is behind right now because...

I am sorry we are not responding as we normally try to do. Let me explain our immediate situation.

Douglas (Sales) is on vacation from last Saturday until this coming Sunday.

Friday was the end of a month and the second quarter, so we had a load of additional accounting and month/quarter ending closing work to do.

We had two special product offers running during June. Our sales soared and swamped us just to get the responses out to those who bought through our store. If we don't respond folks get very upset as we haven't delivered the product they paid for.

We upgraded all our computers in December, 2000. We built them as we have since 1986. Monday when I turned my computer on (it has worked perfectly for 6 months), it wouldn't work. Bryan (Tech Support) spent 3 hours before determining the motherboard had a crack in a printed circuit line, as the problem was intermittent. He replaced the motherboard and got my system back running. Our client database is on my computer, so we couldn't process orders or verify if folks requesting new serial numbers for their free upgrade to Microstudio V2.310 really did own it. We were scheduled to transfer this to the server this week, which is now slightly behind. BTW: This is backed up nightly, so we wouldn't have lost any records, only the ability to function until back up.

Support (Bryan) receives MANY requests a week from persons who don't own our programs, but lie and say they do to get us to send them a free access. It is VERY frustrating as we must verify each request. To our honest clients, thanks for buying our products and understanding our problem. If you are one who tries to trick us and are reading this, please get real and buy our products. We happen to believe that truth and honesty are still honorable traits.

Monday noon we installed a new $400 Backup program on our NT Server and it made our primary hard drive disappear with all our accounting data, software products source codes, all programs we run on our server, and all templates we use in emailing and Word documents. We were complete shut down. Bryan (Support) and Doug Davidson (Operations Manager) spent from 1:00PM Monday until 9:30PM and again Tuesday late morning to get our server operational. Bryan has not turned his computer on in 2 days to see support emails. BTW: All server files are backed up nightly, so we didn't loose anything, only the abiltity function until back up. We are now moving toward a mirrored disc system so we can run even if one hard drive fails.

We released the first beta test version for Karaoke Home Producer V2.0 last week, and several bugs turned up that took many hours with engineering to map out a direction.

Last night when I got home, I released the first beta test version of Vogone 2.0 which we have been working on for 2 years. I spent most of my weekend testing 3 internal versions before I would let it out for testing. I installed the files on our web site yesterday at 7AM, but didn't have time all day to send out the access codes to our testers.

In January, I made the decision that the e-Commerce store we bought in October and put active on-line on December 16, 2000, was not acceptable. I had to find a new store. If you used our store and live outside the USA, you know you had to choose a USA State to have the store work at all. However, if you have cookies disabled (which I personally DO!) when you click to Check Out, the store will present an error message and not work. However, your credit card has been charged without informing you. Some folks charge multiple times which takes us a lot of time to correct by crediting them back.

The contractor never told us this dasterdly restriction was in their store code and I would have never spent a dime on it had I known! Also, the password structure still fails, so repeat clients coming back to buy from the store can't get in! Yes, I'm VERY upset about this, and that's putting it mildly!

I have spent thousands of dollars with consultants to "fix" the store, paying $95 - $120 per hour for their "expert" time. The store is still not working right! Verisign (THE digital certificate security company) recommended the company we bought the store code from. So much for Verisign's recommendations. Let's just say we have had a very educational half-year in the school of hard knocks!

In February, I went back and reviewed the other store candidates I had. After extensive discussions and demos, we leased a $37,000 software integrated system that includes the e-Commerce store, integrated database, sales order processing, inventory purchasing-receiving-shipping, banking, live on-line credit card processing, and all financial record management and reports. We have had data-entry contractors helping us enter every transaction made this year into a new system.

Oh yes, we are still learning the new system. The manuals and help screens are pure fiction. It took days to just figure out how to void a check, and that was after calling their customer support! I'm still believing I made the right choice. TIme will tell.

Today - July 4th - I was so tired I slept until noon, which I very rarely do (I can't remember the last time) I'm a morning person and am always up very early.

We hope to have our new store on-line for MTU ONLY testing next week. Once we play with it for 2-3 weeks, we will turn it on and take our existing store off-line (at last after 5 months!). The new store features that you "should" have then are really awesome. You will be able to come to the store, enter your password and see the status of your order(s). The whole concept is to keep you - our clients - informed at a greater lever, with less effort on our part. To handle our growth, we are making our operations more efficient and trying to improve our support at the same time.

So, if you are wondering why we are not responding as normal, now you know. We have some staff vacations in July, so we will still have some delays, but things should start smoothing out soon.
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