Should we ship iOS Chart examples in ObjectiveC? Or just Swift?
Posted by Andrew on 22 February 2017 01:30 PM
// Are Objective C Examples Useful?
At the moment SciChart iOS v1.x has ios chart examples and documentation in both Objective C and Swift. However, whenever customers request tech support or ask for examples, they are almost always asking for Swift 3 examples.
Should our iOS Chart Examples and Documentation be in both ObjectiveC and Swift, or just Swift?
It would save us a lot of time to support Swift 3 only in our examples. Can you take a moment to let us know which languages you expect us to create examples in for our upcoming SciChart iOS Charts v2.0?
Note: Our iOS Chart controls will, and always will be, written in Objective C. They will support both Objective C and Swift. Just we want to know if the examples should be Swift only, or both languages.
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Should we be supporting Silverlight?
Posted by Andrew on 08 August 2015 10:11 AM
Since Microsoft announced the end-of-life for Silverlight in 2012, support for this platform has waned. We are still supporting Silverlight for a number of reasons, but we want to hear from you what you think about this platform, and whether we should continue supporting it after the next major version (v4) of SciChart.
Please take 5 minutes to answer our short survey on whether we should continue to support Silverlight: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K6ZV3MF
What are the benefits of supporting Silverlight?
What are the drawbacks of supporting Silverlight?
So what do you think?
Should we continue to support Silverlight after the next major version of SciChart? We propose to keep v3.x but in v4.x to phase our support for the Silverlight version of SciChart and the Silverlight demo, replacing it with a trial download for the WPF demo, depending on what you answer in our questions.
Please take 5 minutes to answer this short survey! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K6ZV3MF
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SciChart – the Value of Priority Support!
Posted by Andrew on 17 March 2015 02:18 PM
Recently in October 2014 we introduced a new support policy, where we decided to give priority support tickets to SciChart WPF/SL Professional and Source-code customers. SciChart WPF Basic and trial users would still receive support, but via the forums. This is part of an ongoing process of continually improving and refinining the tech support we provide, as we feel it is such a critical part of our business.
This article is just some feedback of what we’ve learned from this experience and also to demonstrate the value-add of priority support to our customers!
Why is Tech Support so Important?
Have you ever bought a component from a vendor, and they might have a great 200 page document on how to use it, but for some reason it just doesn’t make sense to you? There’s a learning curve to climb when purchasing a new component and nothing is more frustrating than having a problem, and a deadline / angry boss / impatient customer <delete as applicable>, writing an email to their support and getting nothing back … Have you ever been there?
I personally have, and it’s disappointing… There is nothing that leaves a bad taste in your mouth more than a company that takes your money, but doesn’t respond when you need help.
We personally try to model ourselves on Telerik. Yes! I said a competitor name! I know … not a good idea.. but I believe we’re non-overlapping competitors with Telerik and personally, having used their docking components in 2008-2009 when working as a WPF Developer I realized they did something really well – tech support.
I noticed from using Telerik components that if you had a problem:
This is a model we have emulated and it has paid dividends to us. Most of our business comes from referrals! Enough said …
How Many Support Requests do we get?
Since introducing the support desk at http://support.scichart.com one year ago, we have resolved 1,360 support requests, 616 sales requests with an average feedback rating of 4.6/5.0!
Each ticket has an average of 5 replies before the ticket is considered resolved, so in a year we’ve basically sent and received over 10,000 emails related to tech-support. That’s a pretty incredible rate and the feedback score and is consistent over the year. We are proud of how much tech-support we’ve handled and how we’ve delivered it, but more importantly, we’re really pleased to see how much value tech-support adds to our business. It’s taught us a lot …
How Quickly do we Respond to Support Requests?
We advertise that we respond to support requests sub-day, e.g. 24 hours to first response. This does not mean that we can resolve all problems in this timeframe, nor do we gaurantee to respond within this time but we aim to respond and at least make some progress to resolving within one business day. Over the past year this is what our support-desk says about our response time:
We’re quick, and we really care. We want to help you to use our software, because if you can use our software, you get great value out of it, and if you see value in it, you’re more likely to tell other people about us. In other words, our business model is centered around customer service.
What do our Users Say?
Every time a support request is resolved (marked as closed by staff or user) the customer has a chance to give us feedback. Over the past year we’ve collected over 300 feedback responses, with an average rating of 4.6/5. That’s a 90% customer happiness score!
Some of the comments are really encouraging. When customers give feedback scores & leave a comment it is emailed directly to the team cc the Company Director. Here are a selection of anonymised comments below:
OH YEAH! Love you guys!
Similarly, we receive negative feedback via the ticket response ratings. If you want to encourage us, or, give us a slap, the ticket survey response is the place to do it. These surveys go straight to the team CC the company director, so we do hear them!
What about the Trial Users / Basic Customers on the Forums?
We also have a public forum at www.scichart.com/questions. Here we aim to respond within 3 business days, but often sooner, depending on our workload. The conversation time is typically a lot shorter, it tends to be question & single answer or at most two or three answers. The good thing about the forums for us is they are google indexed, so if you have a how-to question this is the place to put it. It helps us to build a searchable knowledgebase!
We encourage you to use the ratings here as voting questions up/down puts them higher or lower in the search results. Also we love to see the public knowledgebase grow as every question asked becomes a search result for someone later
The Value-Add of SciChart Priority Tech Support
Our goal when introducing the support-policy in October 2014 was three-fold:
These goals have been achieved and more. In fact, we found that by introducing the support-policy our support load has decreased significantly, customer satisfaction has gone up, and importantly for us, sales are still strong. It hasn’t put anyone off excluding trial customers from support tickets, far from it, we are seeing more and more referrals.
We hope this has been useful information to you, and if you’re a competitor and you’ve read this far, we are available to consult to create a state-of-the-art support model for your business. Just joking. We don’t have time for that, we’re focusing on our own customers and product development Read more »
Support 2.0: How we arrived at an Awesome Hybrid Support System
Posted by Andrew on 13 June 2014 10:13 AM
March 2012: The beginning
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, there was SciChart v1.0. This was a bright new component with few features but promise of delivering accessible, high speed charting to the WPF platform for the first time.
Our control was in its early days, had little documentation and was constantly evolving. In order to handle requests from users on how to do certain things, we simply had an email address: info [at] abtsoftware.co.uk.
People would email us, but typically we would get 3 or 4 a day, and the CEO had time to respond to all emails personally! Those were the days! Pretty quickly it became apparent that email was not going to cut. The volume of email was already starting to build up …
Fast Forward: July 2012, the SciChart Forums
In July 2012 we introduced the first SciChart public forum. We encouraged our users to move their support requests off email and onto the forums in order to ease the burden and volume of support on email. We started to find this an excellent resource as it achieved a number of goals:
However, it didn’t take long for this to become flooded. It took two years for us to hit 5,000 posts (20 pages of forum, 50 threads per page, average 5 posts per thread).
We also found that a hard-core of users were using the forum in earnest but a large proportion would still use email. So again, something had to be done.
March 2014 – Ticketing Helpdesk
Now over two years on from the release of SciChart v1.0, we had thousands of end-users and were receiving up to 30 support requests a day. We commissioned and built a Ticketing Helpdesk. This allowed users to create tickets, which would funnel to us and be viewable on a dashboard. Email could now be routed through tickets. We created some 60+ KB articles on common topics and decommissioned the forums. Our work was done! Or so we thought …
Fast forward 90 days. We have received over 600 requests (450 support, 150 sales) through the ticketing system in 3 months. In many ways it has greatly helped us by funnelling all requests through one place, however, losing the public aspect of the Forums was a mistake. We lost our visibility, and our google indexing and the potential for users to help each other.
Support is our Glass Ceiling
At SciChart something I’ve observed over and over again is that support is our glass ceiling.
Suppose on any day we receive a rush of enquiries. Sometimes we get flooded after a release. New (trial) users in this period are not served as well as they should be, so they consider alternatives. We often see a sudden jump in sales after a release, followed by a jump in support requests and a dip in sales. The pattern is cyclical.
If we are to grow, we have to crack the glass ceiling of how many users we can effectively support. There are several ways to solve this problem. For instance:
We could … Increase pricing
An increased price per unit increases the Revenue:User ratio, reducing the volume of support at expense of reducing volume of sales, but hopefully not revenue.
We don’t want to do this. We believe our product is fairly and competitively priced. Plus, we like you guys and like the volume of enquiries, sales and feedback. We don’t want to price you, or ourselves out of the market, we would prefer to increase our efficiency instead.
We could … Hire Non-Technical Staff to Handle Support
Many companies hire armies of non-technical support staff, trained only in the documentation or sometimes seemingly in advanced time-wasting techniques, to assist users with developing with their controls.
We don’t want to do this either. We have made a name for ourselves by providing personal, expert technical support and we want this to continue. We don’t want to compromise the quality of our support.
We could … Don’t do Support at all
Believe it or not, this is a technique employed by many software companies! They will provide documentation, a help file, some tutorials, then proceed to ignore your emails or requests unless they are sales emails. I’m sure these people get sales! Users will eventually read the manual, right?… However I personally wouldn’t want the reputation of my company to be built on this premise.
Or, we could …
Increase Expert Capacity and Accessibility of Information
What if we could increase our capacity by having more experts? We can’t hire them without significantly raising prices (reducing Volume : Revenue), experts are expensive. What about incentivising them?
What about if we increased the accessibility of information, making it easier for people to find what they want? A lot of the information exists, but people don’t find it (or don’t search ;-)). How can we improve this?
Hybrid Approach – Q&A vs. Support Tickets vs. Unified Search
So we have gone through the forums and cleaned every single post. 5,000 posts in a week. We deleted over 40% of obsolete questions (e.g. bugs which have been fixed) and updating the remaining 60%. The forums were then migrated by script over to Q&A format (e.g. similar to Stackoverflow.com) and the questions have now been opened to the public. You can ask a question, post answers, comment, vote on answers and accept best answer just like your favourite Q&A site.
What’s more, we’ve built a unified search engine which gives results from both the Knowledgebase and the Questions. This will be integrated with the website soon.
Empowering our Community
There’s a mass of knowledge out there in our users. Some of you have come up with ingenious workarounds and feature extensions we never thought possible. We want to incentivise you, our community, to answer each other on the Community Q&A pages and help us raise the glass ceiling.
If you can free us up to develop more software, there is no limit to what we can achieve, with you, in 2D and 3D visualization.
We are still deciding the details, but we plan to give reputation-based incentives such as discounts in our store, or even listing you, or your company as a SciChart Technology Partner. We will be monitoring the questions and ensuring content is valuable, applicable and up to date.
SciChart Community Q&A Now Open!
Finally, watch the video below to see what we’ve done! Thanks!
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Market Research: Should we re-open the Forums as Community Q&A?
Posted by Andrew on 30 May 2014 01:19 PM
Hey SciChart users!
So, we need your feedback asap on a company-level decision on how we provide support and information to users. Those who know us from a long time ago will know we used to have an online Forum (now decommissioned, replaced with Ticket-based support and knowledgebase).
What we’re thinking of doing is
Watch the following video it gives a bit more detail on what we are planning and invites your feedback:
Ultimately we wish to create a community where you are incentivised to answer questions, as well as us. Longer term we are considering providing rewards to users who have high feedback scores (either discounts in store, renewals or premium listing as a SciChart partner), or allowing you guys to trade reputation points for helping each other.
So, just to be clear, we are planning to keep support.scichart.com, the Knowledgebase (even upgrading these in features) and private tickets for our enterprise users with rapid response for bug reports and sales/support questions, but, also open up a public community to get the full power of parallel-processing from our userbase. We have literally thousands of users and trial users and we would like to see them ask and answer questions on how to get the best out of the SciChart Library.
So, let us know what you think by contacting us. We need to know pretty soon as we’ve done a feasibility/cost study and have web developers standing by to do the work
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