Going above and beyond
This year I've kept a little list of companies who went in the opposite direction, who actually made their customer's lives easier or better. TechSmith was the first company on my list.
TechSmith's SnagIt is one of the best written, most useful programs I own. With it you can record what appears on your screen. It can screen-grab video clips, images, and even integrate what you're capturing with output from your webcam. If you've ever taken an on-line tutorial, chances are it was done with SnagIt. One of my favorite features is what they call a panoramic capture. Let's say you want to get the entire contents of a web-page, not just the part that you can see on your screen: Start the capture in panorama mode and scroll down until you reach the bottom of the page. SnagIt records it all as a single image. The program comes complete with an editor that lets you annotate the images you capture and do simple edits of the video. I use this program all the time, particularly when I want to send a tech-support inquiry to some company with a picture (or video) of what is going wrong.
Now, a lot of companies would have thought, "we've made a darn good program that does what we said it does, and does it well. We're done." But, TechSmith went far beyond. First, they have created a series of excellent video tutorials that make learning the program easy. Then they have created even more videos that give ideas on new places and ways to use the program, and even how to make better presentations. Finally, they conduct on-line seminars to inform customers of new features and methods. Oh, and did I mention the tons of clip art they throw in to make your screen captures look even better and more communicative? This is the way to develop a positive relationship with customers. The more features they use, the more likely to continue to use the product from year to year. If TechSmith's approach was widely adopted by other software companies we would all be more productive!
I think SnagIt should be on your PC; download the trial to see if you agree.