Isn’t it annoying when software that you’ve bought suddenly stops working for no apparent reason. That happened to me last month with TechSmith Camtasia Studio 5, which is a superb screen recorder for creating screencasts.
Here’s the support call that I sent them on Wednesday 16 April:
Whenever I try to run Camtasia 5 it crashes after the splash screen. I get “Camtasia Studio has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.“
That was the problem: I couldn’t get it to run. It would begin to load, I’d get the splash screen and then an error message.
I even installed an older version, Camtasia Studio 3, that I got on a magazine cover DVD. And experienced exactly the same problem.
Which is when I sent TechSmith the support call.
Excellent technical support
I have to say that TechSmith’s technical support was absolutely superb. The following day I received my first of 12 replies from them over the course of almost a month; the first handful were from “Kate S.”, the latter from “Mike Spink”.
I was asked to provide some diagnostic reports that Camtasia Studio should have automatically created. Except that Camtasia Studio wasn’t creating any reports.
Some companies may have given up at that point and with the e-shrug of their remote shoulders sent me a reply saying “Ah, well! Sorry!”
But not TechSmith. They sent me this message:
We created a special build of Camtasia to do some logging to get some more information on the problem. I have attached a zip file. Inside are 3 files. Be sure to copy and paste all 3 files in the following directory …
They sent me a special build of Camtasia. I don’t know about Camtasia but I certainly felt special. I replaced the files, ran the application, got the same crash at the same place but now I had log files to send them.
This happened a couple of times, with a new build each time that requested different data to be logged. And each time I dutifully emailed the log files across the Atlantic to TechSmith HQ in Michigan.
At one point, having not heard back from them for … wait for it … 3 days I got an email apologizing for the delay.
I just wanted to let you know our development team is still looking into the dump files you sent. I haven’t heard anything from them yet but hope to soon.
How courteous was that! Tremendous customer service.
Helping me, helping you
A few days later I got this email from Mike Spink:
I appreciate you taking the time to help us solve this crash in our code.
Right now you are the 3rd user that is experiencing this same exact one and the others didn’t want to go into this much in depth troubleshooting. So thank you for sticking with it.
Hopefully we can get some good info from this latest log.
I was more than happy to help them out. I suspected that I might be helping them rather than hassling them with this call, and it was really nice to hear that from them.
Then, a few days later, on Monday 12 May, almost a month after I sent the first email I received these magic words:
Would you be able to find out what version of the flash player you’re running in IE?
And if it is not the latestand see if that does anything with the starting up of Camtasia?
I know it seems totally unrelated but we wanted to check on that. Please let me know. Thanks!
So I checked, used the Adobe Flash Player uninstaller, rebooted my PC and then reinstalled Flash Player in Internet Explorer.
And do you know what? It worked! IT WORKED!! I could now use Camtasia Studio 5.
I sent Mike an email:
You guys are geniuses! It worked!
and explained what I’d done.
The last email I got from them said:
I am glad we finally got to the bottom of this. We’re going to see how we can modify our code so we can at least throw back an error message of some sort rather than just crashing. I appreciate your help with this!
So a big hoorah to TechSmith for their fantastic technical support. An inspiration to so many other software companies.
Oh, and Camtasia Studio 5 is a pretty piece of software. Check it out!