Make testing easier by linking to third-party tools

24Jul09

My company recently changed email providers, and we ran into some hiccups during the initial setup process. The issues arose outside of the email provider’s product and definitely weren’t their fault. However, they could have made the migration process a lot easier by providing tools to help us test the new setup. What’s more, the tools I ended up using to troubleshoot and resolve the problem are available on the web at no charge.

Even though the problem and solution were beyond the email vendor’s control, they could have saved us a lot of hassle by simply linking to those tools. The tools reside on third-party websites and provide the desired testing functionality at no charge. Aside from checking the list periodically to make sure the sites still exist, this would involve virtually zero work on the vendor’s part. In turn, customers would save hours of work trying to locate those tools on their own.

So, as you look at ways to make your new customer setup easier or to reduce support costs for new and long-time customers alike, think about creating a resource list like I described. Granted, you can’t control the content on those outside sites, and some might even be showing ads for your competitors. But the benefits to your customers — in terms of faster problem resolution and increased satisfaction — should more than outweigh any downsides.



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