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Sounds like the majority here is in agreement. When we initially install a system we give 90 days free programming. Pretty much after that we feel they should have most of the kinks out. As was advised if a customer wants to do his own thing I always stress that the warranty does not cover self inflicted problems. I also have even severely restricted their rights in the programming. I like the idea of a letter to the existing customers, and maybe offering a set time limit per month and if they exceed that charging full rate for programming consultation. we can keep track of it with trouble tickets and an "inventory" of base programming. One thing I did not expect from the group was the scripture references! Took me by surprise. I also get the calls from the national companies, we tell them our trip charges and hourly rates. They pay or we don't play. If the end client pays double, well, that is on them.


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maybe offering a set time limit per month and if they exceed that charging full rate for programming consultation.

I think you are going to have to decide whether or not you condone customer programming. Obviously it's gotten them in trouble and that's not going to stop as long as you provide any support in that direction. It's only going to encourage it.

My policy is that we do not provide any support for installer level programming. We will show them how to program buttons on phones and maybe walk them through something simple that needs to be changed rather than going to the site, but that's about it. I won't even provide a manual unless they twist my arm, and that's only happened once that I can remember. What they don't know can't hurt them.

I also can't see why there is an on going need for programming changes. Like you, we will handle changes for ninety days until the dust settles. After that rarely does anything need to be changed. What are your guys doing? Methinks they are just playing because you gave them information and support.

-Hal


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Hal,

I gotta disagree with you on giving them manuals and such. They own what they bought from you IMO they have every right to have all the information that is available for it. If you purchased something highly technical in nature and the service guy said, "I'm not gonna let you change how I set it up because you aren't smart enough to understand it" I bet that would get your back up. We always tell them if they "Hose it" they buy my time to fix it. If they are renting or leasing then that is different, they get me to do all of it, no matter what. In most of these cases the customers are creating voicmail boxes, Custom Routing, creating hunt groups, etc.. Some of it is pretty mundane and some not. The problem with my company is that we need to come up with a solution that is somewhere in the middle of all this. Given the current economy in Michigan we all are trying to get by.


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I hear what you are saying Ed, but I consider this the same as car manufacturers not including the shop manual when you purchase a new car. Like I mentioned I was only challenged on this once, the majority of my customers are more than happy to leave things like that to me. Now, I don't know the specifics of your installation so it may not compare to what my experience has been, but I can tell you that whenever you have IT people involved there is always going to be head butting and conflict. I think that's where the problem really is.

-Hal


CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 65 WARNING: Some comments made by me are known to the State of California to cause irreversible brain damage and serious mental disorders leading to confinement.
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I personally have it written into our purchase contracts that remote svc and MAC work is billed at our standard hourly rate, but in 15 minute increments. This includes phone support.

Of course I use discression. If someone is just calling to re cfd their phone or reset one mailbox password I usually let it slide, but if I am physically on the phone for more than 10 minutes, you can expect a bill.

D

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Nobody's brought it up yet, but would a service contract with a monthly maximum time limit work for a situation like this? If you could get your customer to agree, it would give you a constant revenue source, and keep those four-eyes out of your system.

Jason

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Quite honestly I don't care if the customer programs or not. I have a backup and if they or any other company gets into it it voids the warranty with no refund. The cool thing is I can get in to check and see when and what programming changes were made.

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I have never had the problem of a customer doing Admin Level Programing and screwing things up.

My typical customer needs handholding just to set the time & date............


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Quite honestly I don't care if the customer programs or not. I have a backup...

Well, I for one don't need the panic call while I'm in the middle of another job 50 miles away because some twit tried to change something and something no longer works. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

I just don't understand it. We go through training, certification and have years of experience. I can't fathom why some people think all they have to do is look through a poorly written manual and they will know what to do. Ain't going to happen folks.

-Hal


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Hal,

That's what I call the "tell me everything you know in the next 20 seconds" syndrome.

I find that it is a disease rampant among young IT types.

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