- 9/1 - The COO at Iambic has contacted me regarding this post. Please see the end of the article for details.
- 9/4 - As promised, a member of Technical Support has contacted me regarding the issue. See the end of the post for details.
A tale of love lost and poor customer service.
Up until recently I have been very happy with the application. I love the layout, I love being able to associate icons with tasks and appointments. I love Agendus! At least I used to love Agendus.
The Current Situation
I’ve recently run into a problem syncing with Outlook. Every time I associate an icon with a meeting Agendus it changes the meeting organizer to me! This problem is reproducible and very troublesome.
In my current job, meetings are scheduled and updated by a variety of people. So, when I sync my Treo 650, and the meeting has been updated, I don’t get the update. The update comes through Outlook and I accept it, but Outlook can’t find the meeting anymore. Therefore I have two choices - update the meeting manually or don’t worry about the meeting updated. Both are unreasonable in my opinion.
An Attempt at Resolution *
On 7/31/2007 I submitted ticket YNR-385653. The staff replied on 8/8/2007 asking for clarification on my issue, I replied to his request one day later. At the time of this article I have yet to receive a reply. In my opinion this is unacceptable for a few reasons.
- I encounter this problem every time I add an icon. If Iambic can’t reproduce they should contact me.
- If they are researching the issue, I should be alerted. There is no excuse for this utter lack of communication.
- If they are able to reproduce it and are going to include a fix in a future release, I should be made aware of it.
Trying to Understand
I am a software developer. I provide customer support and I carry an on-call phone. I understand how it takes time to resolve an issue - research, coding, testing, etc. Developers are over-worked and support teams are often under-staffed. But in my experience there is never a good reason to leave a customer in the dark. It is unacceptable to leave a customer in the dark, especially for as long as I have been.
For me, this underscores how important it is to keep my customers in the loop. The software I work on affects a person’s ability to do their job and it is my job to fix it. When a problem happens they understandably get worried and frustrated.
For the corporations out there, I hope they realize how important it is to keep communication between themselves and their customers.
In the case of Iambic, I think they tried but they unfortunately failed. The only means of communication I can find is their trouble ticket application. But what if, as in my case, I haven’t heard anything? Do I send another message through ticket application and have my request go to the bottom of the queue?
What I’m getting at is this - Iambic, please provide another means of communication. Have your support staff reminded of aging issues. If the support staff is too small, at least send some kind of automated notification. The best situation would be to provide a telephone number or an email address that goes to an actual person.
* My Email Communication with Iambic
7/31/07 - The First Email - Sent by Me
I’ve run into a problem when I sync Meetings between Agendus and Outlook. When the meeting is initially sync’d the “Meeting Organizer” is set appropriately to the person who sent out the meeting invitation. As soon as I change the icon associated with the meeting, the “Meeting Organizer” is set to me. Is there any way to resolve this?
8/5/07 - The Second Email - Sent by Me
It has been a few days and I have yet to hear anything from Iambic. I have even received a “Customer Satisfaction” survey but still no response. Is anyone looking into this?
8/8/07 - The Third Email - Sent by Iambic
I need to tell you a little bit about how our ticket support software works. When you create a ticket, it goes to the list. We work from the bottom in order to answer the oldest first. When you repost into the same ticket, it move to the top of the list again. I realize that you had no way of knowing this, so please just consider it information for the future.
Please explain - do you mean the Contact for the meeting? By what means are you sending out the invitations? Are you using the Attendees module over SMS? Or an Exchange Server? I don’t see a similar report in our bug tracking suite, but if you’ll give me the details, I’ll try to replicate and report it as a bug if we need to.
8/9/07 - The Fourth (and most recent) Email - Sent by Me
The company I work for uses Exchange Server 2003 and Outlook 2003 is
installed on the desktop. My operating system is Windows XP, SP2.
When a meeting request arrives from a co-worker and I sync Outlook with my
Verizon-branded Treo 650, the meeting in Agendus looks as expected. I like
to change the Category and the icon of the meetings I’m attending. I change
the Category in Outlook before I sync, I change the icon using Agendus and
then I sync again. After the second sync, I am set to the “Meeting
Below are the steps I can use to reproduce the problem 100% of the time.
1. Receive and accept a meeting request. (Takes place in Outlook)
2. Update the “Category” of the meeting request and save it. (Takes place in
3. Sync. (Using Palm Desktop and the Outlook conduit)
4. For testing purposes, I sync again.
5. I look at the meeting in Outlook and the “Organizer” is the same person
that sent the meeting request.
6. I update that same meeting in Agendus to include an icon.
8. I look at the meeting in Outlook and the “Organizer” is set to me.
If you need anymore details, please let me know.
By the way, the Agendus Issue System should alert a user if their update is
going to cause the issue to drop to the bottom of the queue. This is a major
iritation, and although it may be in the FAQ, this is an important thing to
make the users aware of.
I’ve been using Agendus for quite awhile now, and I’ve purchased many, many
upgrades. This situation is causing me to re-evaluate my relationship with
Iambic. I realize that nothing in this, or the previous, paragraph is your
fault, I just wanted to make mention of it.
Thank you for your time and your attention in this matter.
Well it looks like Iambic has people monitoring Digg, Reddit, etc. Last night when I checked my email I received a note from the COO/CIO at Iambic. His message his posted below.
9/1/07 - Email from Adriano Chiaretta COO/CIO
I just wanted to personally follow-up to your blog’s post about your
recent misadventures when trying to get in touch with our Tech Support.
Please accept my apologies for what happened — we do our very best to
promptly and effectively reply to anyone contacting us, but at times
things just don’t go the way they are supposed to.
You can expect a follow-up on your problem from our Tech Support by the
end of Tuesday (since Monday is Holiday in US), at the very latest.
1270 Oakmead PKWY STE 214
Sunnyvale, CA 94085
9/2/07 - My response
Thank you for your email. I’m sorry that I had to resort to writing a blog entry regarding this matter but I had no other choice.
I’d also like to thank you for securing a follow-up for me. I look forward to their email.
9/4/07 - A Response From Iambic Technical Support
My name is Michael, and I am the iambic Support Team Supervisor.
I’ve worked on your issue for some time today, and have finally (I believe) reproduced what you’ve reported.
Something I observed that you didn’t mention…after your final sync in your steps provided, do you see the original Meeting Organizer listed as an attendee, while YOU are not the organizer?
Regardless, there is certainly some inconsistent behavior with Outlook Attendees,when the meetings are modified in Agendus for Palm. I have added it to our list of items to address as soon as possible.
To echo what Adriano has already mentioned, it was not our intention to neglect your support response. I hope you will accept our findings as a step forward in resolving the issues you’ve brought to the surface.
At this time, I cannot say for certain when this will be fixed and an update released, but please know it is among our top priority items. For now, the only work-around I can offer is to avoid modifying the properties of these types of meetings in Agendus for Palm. I did not find the same behavior occurred if the meetings were modified in Agendus for Windows Outlook Edition. Have you tried with AGW?
Thank you for reporting this!
9/4/07 - My Response
Thanks for the update.
In the steps I mentioned, I am always the organizer and the original organizer is always an attendee. There hasn’t been any variation from this. If there is anything system related that may help you diagnose/resolve it, please ask I am more than happy to do some leg work.
I realize that it may not be fixed immediately - I just wanted to know two things 1) That it wasn’t something I was doing wrong and 2) That the issue was researched.
Although I own AGW, I have not tried it with this problem. My office uses Outlook a great deal and I’m not really a fan of AGW. Thanks for the suggestion though.
I’d also like to thank you for looking into this. I’m sorry I had to go through such great lengths to get in contact with you, and the rest of Technical Support, but I felt there was no other option.
Friday, August 31st, 2007