Why do you provide support by email?
This is a conscious decision. We're committed to providing the best possible support, and we believe that as long as we respond in an extremely timely manner (which we do), written support is usually the best choice. There are several reasons for that:
- The most qualified person can handle your question
- The same person can handle any followup questions
- Written issues have a history
- We can give you a comprehensive reply
- Written replies give you details you can refer to at your own pace
- But what if I really need to talk to someone?
The most qualified person can handle your question
Using written communication allows us to route your question to the person or people on our staff most qualified to answer it.
For example, if you contact us with a question about an obscure mail program error, there's a good chance someone here is familiar with it. If so, we'll make sure that person answers your question next, even if they’re helping someone else when you first contact us. We might also collaborate by getting several people to quickly review your question — two (or more) heads are better than one.
In contrast, if you called us on the phone, you'd just be talking to whoever happens to be free at that moment. While all our staff are competent people, nobody can be an expert in everything.
The same person can handle any followup questions
You get better answers when you're helped by someone familiar with the issue.
If you write with additional questions related to something you previously asked us about, the same person who initially helped you can usually handle them, even if your questions are sent over several days or weeks. We can do this by assigning your followup question to the original staff member to answer next, even if they're currently helping someone else.
If you call instead, and the original staff member is helping someone else when you call, you won't be dealing with the same person.
Written issues have a history
When you write to us, we keep a copy of your message and our reply. We can see exactly what happened yesterday or last month, even if the staff member who previously helped you isn't available.
With phone conversations, there's no easily accessible record of exactly what you asked or exactly what we said. If you call us again, you might have to explain things from scratch.
We can give you a comprehensive reply
We can usually give you a much better answer if we have a few minutes to research your question. It gives us a chance to thoroughly investigate what's happening and think about how to present the answer in a way that makes sense. We're also likely to include examples and detailed explanations.
In contrast, there's a tendency in any phone conversation to try to come up with a quick, short answer in a few seconds. That often just leads to trouble; people make mistakes under time pressure.
Again, we want to give you the best possible answer.
Written replies give you details you can refer to at your own pace
We might include several details in a reply, such as particular things to type or particular Web pages to visit. If we gave you a lot of this information on the phone, you'd quite naturally have trouble remembering it or writing it down accurately. If we send it by email, you'll know that what you have in front of you is accurate.
Another advantage of written replies is that you can refer to them at your own pace. If you have a written answer from us and your computer is acting up, or you just prefer to do things at a relaxed pace, that's no problem — you can go as quickly or as slowly as you want.
Finally, with written replies, you can keep them forever so you have the answer if you ever need it again.
But what if I really need to talk to someone?
Although we handle almost all questions by email, we aren't one of those companies that won't tell you our phone number. It's listed on our contact page. If you have an issue that can't be resolved by email for some reason (for example, if messages from us are being blocked by your ISP, or you wrote to us and somehow didn't get a prompt answer), we encourage you to call us and talk with someone right away.
This gives you the security of knowing you'll never feel that you can't reach us or that we're ignoring you (we hate that feeling, too).
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