01-30-2008 10:11 AM - edited 01-30-2008 10:22 AM
A few years ago, my wife and I lost our 2 ½ year old son to brain cancer. Our journey opened our eyes to the gross lack of information readily available for parents who face childhood cancer. Useful facts, best practices, available treatment protocols and how to live through this difficult journey was a scarce premium.
Not long ago, we founded the Childhood Cancer Network – a network of parents who have shared in this difficult experience and want to reach out and help families new to the journey. Currently, we are working with a web firm and developing a “one-stop-shop” for people looking for critical information regarding childhood cancer.
One important tool is contact management software. Between the families we serve and the families we help we are overwhelmed with data. Additionally, being a non-profit we have donors to keep tabs on. In September 2007, we purchased a single user license of ACT! 2008 to help meet this need. A very kind volunteer offered to input each of our contacts so that we could keep working with families in crisis. She installed ACT! 2008 on her laptop and off she went!
A few weeks later, she brought her finished work to us so that we could install it on our home office PC. Unfortunately, when we installed the program in our office PC, we discovered that our volunteer had already used our license once on her laptop and we were unable to effectively work with the program on our PC. We contacted ACT! customer support several times – only to get (what felt like) an up-sell for the support plan. We explained who we were and what we are trying to do and that we didn’t realize that once the license is used on a machine we can’t use it on another one. We thought that under the circumstances they might offer a solution that would give us a fresh start.
Instead, we were met with cold and robotic attitude. When we kindly asked for a supervisor or someone who is able to help us further we got the run around. Eventually, the only offering of help (bathed in numerous “buy our support plan” pitches) was to purchase another license and start over. Needless to say, this was disappointing. Even if that was our only option, some compassion and concern for our dilemma would have made the “purchasing a new license pill” easier to swallow.
A couple of months later I had the opportunity to participate in an ACT! Beta test. After the test was over I reached out to the person overseeing the Beta program and shared my story and frustration. She quickly responded and rallied the ACT! troops to our aid! Within days, the ACT! Customer Loyalty Team helped us work through our problem and really took interest in our contact management needs. I have worked in the large corporate sector before and might expect a similar response if we were one of the big boys, but to see them sincerely and effectively respond to our need the way they did is phenomenal!
We are now up and running with ACT! 2008 and love it! What’s more, the ACT! team stays in touch to make sure everything is working well for us. To the ACT! Customer Loyalty Team – hats off! Your concern with how things were handled demonstrates that you guys are focusing on what’s important – the customer. I trust the climate will change in the customer support area – after all, they are your front line.
If anyone has questions or would like to help us with our effort, you can visit our temp website at www.childhoodcancernetwork.org or phone 901-473-4899. Our son, Ben was a real hero! His short life inspired many to live life differently - check out his website at www.bens-story.com.
02-04-2008 01:45 PM
02-06-2008 07:37 AM - edited 02-06-2008 07:39 AM
09-16-2008 04:18 PM - edited 09-16-2008 04:19 PM
Like ACT-ing-up, I find the program difficult to use. I've written many of my own databases with FileMaker Pro and Microsoft Access, so I'm comfortable with the basic concept. Still, I find ACT cumbersome and awkward. I've been using both Macs and PCs for many years and generally find that Mac programs are more polished in look, and more intuitive to use, but I'm still surprised that a mature program like ACT is as difficult to use as it is. At times I get so frustrated with the things it cannot do, or with the clumsy implementation of the features it does have, that I do another search for a replacement program. The problem is that I haven't found anything better yet. That, in itself, is very surprising to me but it might explain why there are so many ACT users.
Like so many, i am often put off by Sage's attempts to sell support contracts (although I do understand the business model). Most applications I use are intuitive enough, or have good enough documentation, that a support contract is not necessary. I have not purchased the contract because I've not found the initial 30 day support very, well, "supportive". Generally, when they've helped with a problem, it's been a problem with the program -- not me. I don't feel I should have to pay to solve problems with the software. In addition, I'll admit to having some difficulty communicating with the Sage support people, so that may affect my thinking.
There, I've gotten it off my chest. I've had a heart attack and my wife had breast cancer, but compared to the tragedy and difficulties experienced by some others, all of my problems seem less significant -- certainly the ones regarding software. My sympathy and prayers go out to those of you who've had such terrible losses.
11-07-2008 05:28 PM
11-09-2008 10:35 AM
Like I want to calculate how many new prospects or oportunities I got in a given month. Can't do it.