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The TechSmith Model
July 2, 2013 - 9:30pm

I've been a big fan of TechSmith's rapid authoring platforms for years. My institution has adopted Camtasia Relay as a simple audio/video screen recording / distribution system because the platform is elegant, robust, and comes with a licensing model that enables easy distribution throughout our community.

TechSmith is an industry leader in transparent pricing. The pricing for Relay can be viewed by anyone online, and TechSmith has avoided the trap of cutting special deals in exchange for NDA's on pricing.

Beyond TechSmith's product line, perhaps the most important reason why your institution / school / department should consider working with TechSmith is the company's superb system of enterprise support. I think TechSmith's excellent support policies spring from a culture that is more interested in innovation and long-term relationships than in maximizing short-term sales.   

There are many things to like about how TechSmith sets up its enterprise support operation - here are 3:

Reason 1. The Support Team is Close to the Product Teams:

The biggest mistake that edtech vendors can make is separating the support operation from the product teams. Support works best when the the support professionals can walk across the hall and talk to the engineers and product managers responsible for the hardware or application. Many times the issues that come up with an enterprise product are around integration with local systems - and these issues can be quite complicated. A strong collaborative relationships between support professionals and the developers can result in the efficient diagnosis and fixing of issues that did not crop up during the initial testing.

At TechSmith I have found that the close working relationship of our enterprise support people and the product teams have helped us both understand how to best use the products, as well as providing a great conduit for suggestions about enhanced features and UI changes. The support folks at TechSmith are able to see the world from our eyes, and advocate for us within the company for changes and fixes. You get the sense that product and support are not different organizations, but part of one culture that shares a common set of values and practices.


Reason 2. You Will Work With An Individual:

Whenever I have an issue with Relay I know that I'll be able to work with one person to solve the issues. This one professional is incredibly knowledgeable both about the platform and about how we are deploying it.   We are not lost in a bureaucratic support maze, with confusing levels of tiered support and rules and regulations about how we get help. Rather, we get to talk to one person who will work with us to figure out our issue and follow-through with us until everything is resolved.

Moving the work of support from a "support organization" to an individual probably has its downsides. This model is probably less scalable and less efficient than having whoever is currently available to take support. I imagine that having highly skilled technical people (with strong social skills) concentrate on support is an expensive proposition for TechSmith.   From my perspective, however, this method pays significant dividends to the customer. I feel that I have a partner with TechSmith, and that the company does not view support as a profit center but as an investment in a long-term relationship.

Reason 3. Live Support is Complemented By Excellent Online Community Resources:

TechSmith complements its personalized enterprise support with an excellent set of online resources and a strong system of community support. As would be expected from a company that makes software designed to make tutorials, TechSmith's tutorial section is probably second to none.  I can usually self-serve to find solutions to common issues, and the tutorial library is great to push out to end-users.

The community powered support on TechSmith's site is an incredible peer driven knowledge sharing and troubleshooting resource. TechSmith customers seem to take seriously the idea that contributing to solving community issues will pay off in the long term, and I've found the TechSmith community to be active, generous, and often brilliant. This may be a reflection of the hight proportion of TechSmith customers that are in education, but perhaps the good TechSmith culture rubs off on the whole community.

Has your experience with TechSmith enterprise support been as good as mine?

What other edtech companies share TechSmith's approach to enterprise support?

With which edtech companies have you had either really great or really terrible support experiences?

 

 

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