One of the issues that we've had to address many times here at ACS is the usage of what is deemed "Third Party Software."  Many people don't have an understanding of the need to cover a few points in the following summary:

    When a customer desires service from ACS, they should to realize the process deals with 3 main entities.

1.  The Customer
2.  Ashland Computer Systems
3.  The companies who develop software for use on a computer.  (The Developers)

    In order to have a functioning business relationship, these three things must work in cohesion to produce the desired results.  If a person deals with computers long enough, he or she will begin to realize that vast numbers of software applications (programs) are released that are not quite complete.  The Developer, if they are interested in keeping customers, will attempt to make updates available to hopefully provide high functionality for the end user.  Tech Support is also a standard method for this purpose.  ACS is not a developer of software, and therefore cannot be held responsible if a certain application fails to perform.  We can only provide tech support within the limits of a particular customer's software/hardware configuration.

    What we have noticed over a period of time is that many Customers, desiring to use services from third parties, (e.g., ) will contact us first when the particular service does not perform to their expectations.   I must clarify that the service we provide is geared most specifically towards 3 main components.

1.  The use of Microsoft Windows' built-in dial-up networking to establish a connection.
2.  The browsing of web pages using one of the various versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer.
3.  The sending and receiving of e-mail using one of various versions of Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express.

    We have found that keeping the focus on these 3 main components helps to maintain a high level of functionality for a majority of end users.   However, those wishing to use many of hundreds of available browsers, chat programs, e-mail applications, etc. would do well to consider the time it would take to be proficient in each of those would indicate that when something doesn't work, contacting the tech support of The Developer many times can provide a higher level of support than we can provide.  In other words, "If we didn't make it, and don't use it ourselves, we might have to learn it first before we try and fix it."  The Developer, on the other hand, should have a staff ready that should hopefully already be familiar with the interface and be able to spot a problem quickly.

For those of you who desire becoming a more advanced end user, it is recommended that you either take the time to read the manual or instructions that come with particular software or enter into a tutoring relationship with someone who is already familiar with the particular applications that you are wishing to use.  Usually, paying someone for their time in this situation will yield much more fruitful results.

    Another thing that people don't seem to realize is, that the internet world is so full of competing companies and high traffic, that sometimes they may not be able to access a website on the on the first attempt.  Furthermore, because of constant upgrading and other issues, a person may not be able to access the services on a website every single time either.  This is the risk taken when using those free services, and is also covered in the End User License Agreement included with the software setup, which most people don't even look at anyway.  But they should.

    So overall, the Customer should recognize that on the internet, using a free service or software doesn't mean that it will always give desirable results or work at all, and a customer shouldn't complain too loudly when that happens, because the industry-standard EULA states that there are no guarantees .  On the other hand when paying for a service, one should make sure who is providing what service, and what software/hardware configurations the service provider supports.  Only by taking the time to learn  the nuances of using a computer and applying that knowledge, will a customer realize how best to invest time and money to getting the most performance out of their machine and the applications used.


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