Monday, February 15, 2010

How to get support for your mobile applications and games

This sounds like a pretty straight forward topic but after being in the industry for almost a decade I know that some people could use some assistance.

Step One - Ensure there really is a problem:
Read on screen messages, take a quick look if you received an email with your purchase with further instructions, etc.

Step Two - Make sure its not your phone:
If you know how, perform a soft reset and try again. If you're trying to install software and you have the option, download it again. Occasionally the download can get corrupted.

Step Three - Prepare your support question:
No one likes software that doesn't work we all want it fixed as quickly as possible so gather the following information:
- Application name
- Make a model of your phone
- Sales transaction ID, reference number, etc
- Description of the problem (be concise)
- Description of any error messages (be precise)
You'll almost always be asked for this information anyways so you might as well save some back and forth.

Sending "software doesn't work" isn't going to get you to a quick resolution.

Step Four - decide who to contact:
If your problem is downloading the software you'll need to contact the company/website that sold you the software. There's no point calling Sony for support if Best Buy hasn't delivered TV. Contact the software development company for everything else, it'll be faster.

Step Five - send the email:
This part is easy if you've done the above, I just have one more bit of advice - "Be Polite". As a developer I avoid support as much as possible but it still falls in my lap. We've always maintained a policy of being polite and helpful to everyone. However its much more pleasant for us to deal with polite customers and we're more likely go out of our way to help them (for example, over the weekend) than a belligerent customer. You may at times be dealing with a big corporation but there's always a person on the other end that has to read your message.

Also be realistic about your expectations, you're not likely to find companies are willing to call you long distance and spend hours on the phone with you for a product that costs 99 cents.

Step Six - follow up:
Hopefully this isn't necessary but don't be afraid to follow up a couple of times. If you're not getting a response try sending from another email account and don't use excessive smiley face images. Do your part to ensure your message isn't getting caught in a SPAM filter and make sure your filters aren't blocking the response. Be polite but let them know your previous email has gone unanswered.

If you're not getting the help you need contact the sales website and request a refund. You deserve to have a working product and most of these companies will issue you a refund without much hassle assuming you've already attempted to solve the problem.

Good Luck!

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