Strengthening the Customer Support

Hello All,

We have gone live with the Online Customer Support System as discussed in the last few posts. Here is the (today its in the testing mode so stuff around might change).

I have spent last 4 months in trying to understand support systems of other companies including Dell, Apple, FedEx, Ebay and Airtel (Indian Telecom Firm). We tested their systems and have mixed feelings about all. I believed it was a good way to feel how our customers felt about our support. It took 4 weeks to replace the “in warranty LCD Display” from Dell, 3 weeks to fix the “Kernel Panic” issue on Varun’s mac (more time because of the heavy costs, since there was no “extended warranty” bought with the mac), FedEx tracking was easiest and got resolved within a week, Ebay constantly communicated through their automated emails (late deliveries, customer feedback form on purchase, etc) and it took forever to figure out why Airtel charged exorbitant amount for internet tariff if I was logged on to a data plan and using well below what was allowed to (and I still don’t have clue).

I have also gone through as many past emails as practically possible to read our customer’s response and comments. The experience is exactly what I wrote in the first para. This learning is what we accumulated and worked on the Support System which you can check. Unless we feel close to the firm from which we are buying products, we feel “something is not right”. Response time to customer was different in all the cases above, but feeling was not in proportion to it. For example some products took 3 weeks on ebay, but their constant communication made us “feel good”. I believe ebay has mastered their online sales methods.

The CSS (Customer Support System) which we have built is based on industry standard product called “Kayako”. Right now the 3 main features which are enabled are:

  1. submit a ticket 
  2. knowledge-base (KB)
  3. troubleshooter
Earlier you all used to send emails if you had any issue (you would still be able to do that). But now you can also submit a ticket directly from the support site. Right now there is no need of registration for our existing customers and submitting a ticket will automatically generate a ticket number, and send you an email. Any correspondence can be followed up from your email (and later from your own portal on the support site which will host your shipment, tracking and other details as well).
Sometimes we just need to know something about the product. For example, “How do I update using NVFlash?” Questions like these and more are covered in the KB. You can go through this section (in expansion mode and you can also contribute) to learn more.
Third is the troubleshooter a step by step guide for simple jobs like “installing updates”. Most of our current customer probably know more that what is there in the troubleshooter section (thanks to TabletRom guys) but as we expand this section, it will gain its own importance.
If you find any missing elements or information, or some correction is required, or  if you feel “something is not right” you can directly submit a ticket.
I hope you’ll like it.
Rohan Shravan

54 thoughts on “Strengthening the Customer Support

  1. Reminds me the siebel support web, and now oracle metalink. This is good. The knowledg base is the best as we all can search on previously posted resolutions. I hav gone to your support site, but it woul be nice if you can keep privacy by not disclosing the customer details who opened the ticket/service request

  2. Rohan, great to see you moving in this direction. A while back you stated you wanted NI to become first in customer service, so good moves. I still am amazed when I stop and think about it, that we have the CEO talking and communicating with us. Although there’s been periods of deafening silence, its great that the drought is over and things are moving again. That point you make about ebay is quite valid, and many people stated that was their biggest concern when you weren’t posting, so lets keep the communications flowing and move from strength to strength.

    Good job, still your biggest fan downunder.

    Peaceout adamfreaks

  3. And what are the future plans? Today I was reading a “where are they now” article about 32 tablets that were in the headlines a year ago. Of the Adam, the author says he submitted his e-mail address in the “buy an adam” link and got an email saying the store “is now closed for new orders”. And indeed there has been silence since PO3. In order to dispel the widespread impression that you’re dead, I think some concrete information about future manufacturing is merited! (reposting without link since past experience tells me that comments with links get stuck in moderation limbo)

  4. Sounds great. It is better later than never. By the way, guys I am on Red Aurora ROM from tabletroms. It is simply awesome, I got my 3G modem working. I get a battery endurance of about 8 hrs with WiFi. FInally everything is awesome on Adam, except for camera.

    Rohan, I am sure you know about Amazon Fire, any news about Adam2(or EVE) ?

  5. Ok, just a thought. I went to the KB and looked up “increase WiFi signal strength”
    The instructions refer to “Regulatory domain” then tell me to select different channels.
    Problem is, I don’t have “Regulatory domain”
    Under “Advanced” I only have MAC address and IP address
    I am using build NIHCA920270611
    What am I missing?

  6. Further, check out “Can I update my Adam from Froyo v2.2 to Honeycomb v3.0?”

    The knowledge base begins its answer with an awesome “Hell Yeah”

    Love it.

  7. since my comments are appearing now 🙂
    so I’m asking you the same question again..

    Post google -motorola saga How NI is looking in to future?
    are we still stuck with android/google or looking else where ? most of Other big Guns are simultaneously looking to develop their own OS and those who are not are struggling Like Nokia.
    i remember in those early days when You gave interview about Adam Supporting Chrome OS etc in future.
    are you still working on those?
    I love to see EDEN evolve in complete OS. or Ubuntu/linux On ADAM(some guys are trying out this on tablet roms )

    any thought on these Rohan?

  8. Rohan,
    It is good news even though you act too slow. Tablet market/product has been changing too fast. Take up action quickly otherwise adam will be just obsoleted product. Still I am waiting better things to happen and I am visiting this website even though I use ipad2. Hope your second generation adam will be doing and waiting to move from ipad2 to adam 2.

  9. I’ve been down with a cold for the last 3 days, so I’m still not fully functional. Went to the link and the front end looks good. Still feel compelled to say that without someone actually producing bug fixes and new releases even this beautiful interface is bound to stagnate.
    Email systems work just fine if there is someone behind them making fixes progress through the development channels. As my health improves I will have more energy to follow these new developments.
    With high hopes:
    Waiting is

  10. Phillip: I find the same comment, but can find no specific instructions on how to do this. So far I have followed several links provided by several searches and find no source for the update file for the latest honeycomb release. All update instructions are general. It is nice to have instructions to actions I already know how to take, but where is the specific locations for the latest update files?
    The deeper I look, the more shallow the information provided.
    It seems there is still no development effort behind this pretty window dressing. When the November update occurs should we expect instructions here? I was hoping to find links to current update files since my auto updater still says I am up-to-date…
    Any thoughts?

  11. Phillip: enter WiFi in setup and press the menu button on the bottom edge will be “advanced”. Selecting this give you the Regulatory Domain item you are looking for along with several other options. It would be super nice if these kinds of options were more explicitly declared somewhere 😉
    I found this when I discovered my machine will not do anything on the network without throwing a “network error” message. I can’t update any apps. I can’t sign in to the amazon shopping app. I can’t get to the Kindle store. Nothing that has anything to do with wifi seems to work at all, and it all worked the last time I used my Adam. Seems something broke. Must be time to try out the ticketing feature of the new support site…

  12. My thoughts on Amazon Fire,

    Very dissapointed.

    1) no e-ink, pixel-xi, mirasol like screen
    2) no GPS
    3) no camera
    4) only 7″ screen
    5) no 3G – I expected a great 3G price plan from Amazon – esp since their Kindle’s come with free 3G

  13. On the honeycomb build I’m using the only two items are MAC address and IP address, no regulatory anything …
    I guess the info in the knowledge base should specify if its os version specific, because the honeycomb build I’m using was issued by NotionInk.

  14. @dwarf
    I’m guessing it applies to the froyo eden build.
    Waiting for Ice Cream Sandwich 🙂

    Peaceout adamfreaks

  15. @mark-indiana

    It’s an IPS LCD Screen

    178/178 degree super wide viewing angles
    No image distortion or color shifting even at extreme angles.

    7″ l can carry that in my cargo pocket, sweet spot in tablets.

    Otherwise, l like my adam if and when (l scream you scream) becomes available.

    And l can get the GPS to work properly or as well as my Garmin 1450lmt does.

  16. True mark-indiana, the amount of PR before the launch made us believe that the Fire is going to smoke out the competition , dam squib , a product with chinese specification and chinese pricing.Long live Adam

  17. Saw this on the tele last night. Wonder where Fisher-Price gets their ideas?

    Read the description and take a close look at the top of the device.

  18. “chinese”? some of people i know have called Adam the same thing at “Apple” pricing … especially people who are moving from Adam to something else …

  19. @muks24

    Agreed. I expected Amazon to make me forget about Adam2. Instead they went a different direction. So I’m now looking forward to the Pixel Xi Adam 2. I think Amazon believes the Pixel Xi’s and Mirasol’s are not ready to put on an Amazon product. That leaves that market for the Adam for another 6-12 months.


    The Amazon Fire may have a great LCD screen, but I expected a non-backlight screen for reading. Esp in a 7″ tablet.


    Other important things on Adam that are missing from Amazon fire:
    – full USB
    – mini-SD (I’d prefer a full SD on Adam 2)
    – HDMI

  20. Another good improvement. I appreciate the steady improvement you have made since my initial purchase during the first Adam offering. Less than a year and while it has clearly been a 2 steps forward and 1 step back and sometimes 3 steps back and then 4 steps forward process nevertheless the progress has been steady. Looking forward to IC.

    I think the Amazon Fires most impressive feature is price. At that price with a great screen a great many people who really just want a tablet for consumption will be very happy. It will be very interesting to see what their 10 inch screen tablet has. I am also wondering if we will see some holiday sales with the price slashed even a bit more on the 7 inch model.

  21. Thumb keyboard for free in Amazon appstore. The best keyboard …. and it seems to have borrowed a little from NI keyboard. :0

  22. Howdy folks 🙂
    Sitting outside a motelroom in Ridgecrest, California and hubby and me were playing with our Adams; catching up with mail and social media, uploading today’s pics of the Sierra Nevada and listening dutch radiostation Arrow Classic Rock, planning tomorrow’s route, checking the weather forecast and more when ppl came by and were asking about our devices 🙂
    This isexactly why I wanted mine in the first place.
    All in short: two very happy Adam owners here!
    Thanks NI.

  23. Good start Rohan. However, you might want to add chat options and/or telephone support quickly. People get frustrated with web support just because the turnaround time is so high.

  24. This is all good news…. unfortunately, my experience with the support has been mixed, unfortunately more negative than positive. I have held back from complaining and have exercised a lot of patience, but I feel this will be a good learning case for whoever from NI is following, if anything. Let me articulate:

    Case notes: Adam stopped working on rebooting after patching an update. Sent it in for repairs under warranty. Customer (me) and service center in US.

    Even though I have had regular emails with support, the mails at many times have been misleading or redundant. And in many cases, I have gotten mails promising to let me know etc etc, with no follow up, unless I mailed back after waiting for too long for too little.

    I finally managed to get my Adam serviced under warranty, but it take a hell longer than I expected. Also, I still have not been able to wriggle out what went wrong and what was repaired/replaced from support.

    But on the good side, they replaced a slightly damaged casing without any charge to me.

    Unfortunately, they forgot to include my charger with the return and I am left with the Adam as a paper weight.

    To add insult to injury, it has been more than a week since I reported this matter, have received 2 mails from customer support informing me of this being taken care of, and then silence for another week with mails going unanswered.

    From start to end (first reporting of non-working Adam) the whole thing has taken me 3 months and counting, with a week or 2 delay due to my inability to get back…. Having received it in March/April, of the 6-7 months that the Adam was delivered to me, 3 months it has been lying unused, and not by choice. So much for a 12 month warranty. It is effectively less than 9 months for me now.

    Rohan, I wish u all the best and do hope u get this part of the act together. Good support goes a long way in pushing customer experience up there, even if the product is not the most shining of the bunch. And sorry to everyone who feels this is me just venting out. The only thing I expect out of this is that NI shines brighter from learning to do better, and of course, for me to be playing with my Adam again.

    I have a long flight coming up this weekend. Let’s see if I can use my Adam on the flight, or if it is good old inflight entertainment system for me…. 😦

  25. While the original Kindle did come with 3G (I own one if you are interested) the price was about double what their WiFi only machine cost.
    Remember, this isn’t a tablet, but only an e-reader. The color is just to compete with the Nook 😉

  26. Android Vs. Windows 8

    Open question: For a small startup like Notion Ink, does it make sense to spend a lot of time dealing with OS Issues on Android or just go with Windows 8 and worry more about creating apps/cloud based services that would differentiate them?

    I would choose Windows 8 + specialized Cloud services. what do you guys think?

  27. Rohan,

    What is going on why is my comments waiting in moderation forever.

    This is not right??

  28. I just opened my Adam after it had been sitting at home for 3 months that I was away. Sorely disappointed, too heavy… Did not have any apps of use (exaggeration) and no market access… Seriously Google, no Android Market apk for Adam? Seriously Rohan, 2 years into the program, Genesis is not up? So downloaded skype from Amazon App Store, I think I need to enable video, or maybe they have an older version… I cannot download skype from skype’s website… even if it is for android because market thinks I want to install on the phone…

    Flash seemed not to be working… 2.2 updated, build NIP920080611 kernel 2.6.32… is this the latest?

  29. And seriously, someone please rewrite the adam user manual in English… Skype video works, video rotated by 90 degrees clockwise, I guess a skype problem

  30. hitchkay: Had the same problem with skype on several tablets, not just the Adam. They all seem to want a phone number, but the tablet doesn’t have one. This seems to be a sofware problem with the app. I thought you could use skype on a PC without a phone number, but then how does the other side connect to you, URL?
    Skype is still new to me, but would love to figure out how to make it work. Anyone have any useful ideas? The Tablet Post wants to know 😉

  31. I was able to use skype (from market via market root), including video and it did not quest me for any number. The camera’s picture is yet turned 90° and the cameras focus is not on my face the way I would hold the adam… But that is something different. Ah – mic quality is disappointing, but this is not a new thing.

  32. And when will I get the invitation for adam tablet, looks like Rohan is ignoring my posts.

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