Author: Gary Sherman

Chief Technology Officer, Vice President of Products

Posts by Gary Sherman:

SLA Monitoring

August 31, 2007 One of the common tasks for a support/call center manager is making sure the team is living up to its service level agreements (SLAs). Pretty much every customer I've ever dealt with has different SLAs. As you can imagine, there's a zillion ways for companies to setup and track their SLAs.   Example SLAs:   All cases must be responded to within 2 business hours All Urgent priority cases must be responded to within 1 hour regardless of business hours All cases must be responded to within the phone response time as stated on the contract All cases must be closed within 5 days. All subcases of type "Hardware Upgrade" must have a technician onsite within 36 hours. All new cases for a Gold level customer must get a call back from a senior tech within 1 hour. An initial response…

A new version of fcSDK and finalizing the move to .NET 2.0

August 28, 2007 New version of fcSDK available fcSDK version 2.3.2 is now officially available. The big news in this release is that the fcSDK is now built on the .NET 2.0 framework. (fcSDK was previously built on .NET 1.1) There are also number of bug fixes in this release. The documentation details What's New in this version. To obtain this release, create a request using Dovetail SelfService, or send us an email. .NET 2.0 With the fcSDK now ported, this finalizes our migration effort from .NET 1.1 to .NET 2.0. All of our .NET based products are now built on .NET 2.0: fcSDK SchemaEditor RuleManager SEC.NET

Good Enough

August 22, 2007 I'm drawn like a moth to a flame when it comes to reading anything written by Seth Godin. One of his recent posts really connected with me: Is Good Enough Enough?  It's so easy to be good enough. To do enough to get by. Enough to satisfy the requirements. Enough to call it "done".  We see "good enough" all the time. Where do you want to be? Striving for remarkable? Changing the rules? Pushing the boundaries? Or satisfied with good enough? No one ever said it was easy. That's what makes it fun.

A great example of usability improving the customer support experience

The 37signals guys point us towards Twitter's use of HelpSpot's Help Desk software:   How do you help your helpdesk/support team give you the best support? Give them the information they need right from the start. I really like the simple, clear, and concise labels: This is what I DIDThis is what I EXPECTED to happenThis is what ACTUALLY happened I'm sure this greatly helps the support team resolve more requests on the first go-round, as opposed to the all-too-common first response having to ask the customer for more information. It's good for the support team, and good for the customer. Nicely done.  

Get out of my way and let me do my work!

August 1, 2007 While working last night, I needed to view a video demo, and I was presented with this message from Windows Media Player:   I hadn't done any updates, or installs, so I have no idea why Media Player decided that I needed to log off and back on. Notice that it's not saying I have to reboot - just log off and back on. All I know is that it completely interrupted my flow. I feel the same way when clicking on a link on a web page and all of a sudden a PDF file starts loading. PDF? WTF? What's wrong with HTML? I'm on a web page! Again, it completely interrupts my flow. As builders of software, we need to be cognizant of this. Are we enabling? Or are we throwing up roadblocks that impede the user's workflow?…

fcSDK Cache files: sometimes more trouble then they're worth

July 30, 2007 One of the features of the fcSDK is its ability to cache frequently-used, rarely-changed data, such as the schema meta-data (ADP tables),  lists (Application Lists, Status codes, User-defined lists), geography data (states, countries, time_zones, currencies), configuration items, and strings. When the fcSDK starts up, it reads all of this data from the database and saves it into memory. In addition, it writes out the data to cache files. The next time the fcSDK starts up, if there are cache files present, it loads the data from the cache files, as opposed to having to go to the database. This improves the performance of the loading of the cache data, as reading from a local file is quicker than loading from a remote database. However, these cache files can often cause trouble. If a piece of cache data is changed in…

A simple blog comment turns around a customer experience

July 23, 2007 I've blogged in the past about turning blog entries into customer experiences. Here's a recent real-world example of that. Adam Esterline reviewed Watir as part of a web application testing comparison.  In his own words, "I did not give Watir very high marks." Bret Pettichord, our Test Architect here at Dovetail, and a core contributor to the open-source Watir project, left a comment on Adam's blog, simply asking for more info about Adam's experience using Watir. Bret's comment was a pretty simple one, but it engaged Adam. Enough so to prompt Adam to revisit Watir, and try again, this time with much better results. Even more so, it was enough to get Adam to post a follow-up praising Bret: This is great customer service. Bret saw that our team was having problems and responded thoughtfully. There's no fancy CRM software involved…

Seagate cares about the customer experience, and it shows

July 19, 2007 Check out this post on How Seagate learned to package like Apple. Not only is the packaging well done, but the "technical" manual (that doesn't come across as technical) is as well. They obviously thought about the entire customer experience, from a potential customer picking up the box in a store, to the unpacking of the contents, to the manual that guides one through the setup, and finally to its use. Someone obviously kept the customer experience question front and center at all times: How does it make the customer feel, at every step along the way? Nicely done.   Technorati Tags: design, customer experience

Wufoo : Create beautiful, professional HTML forms quickly and without code

July 17, 2007 The 37signals blog points us towards Wufoo.   Wufoo is an Internet application that helps anybody build amazing online forms. When you design a form with Wufoo, it automatically builds the database, backend and scripts needed to make collecting and understanding your data easy, fast and fun. Because we host everything, all you need is a browser, an Internet connection and a few minutes to build a form and start using it right away.   It's pretty slick. I see it not only being useful for creating real forms, but for easily creating mock-ups/wireframes/etc. Give it a whirl!