HRD (Ham Radio Deluxe) business philosophy - not customer and service oriented

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by DD5XX, Nov 7, 2016.

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  1. DD5XX

    DD5XX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Dear forum community,

    a little story about my 1-year experience with Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) its forum and policy.

    My name is Saki, my former call sign was DO4GR and my current callsign is DD5XX. In the beginning of this year (2016) I was evaluating several logbook applications. Ultimately I decided to choose HRD6 because of its wide-spreaded functions and the DM780 integrated tool. So I purchased HRD6 for $99.95 and right after I had to register on its forum (username=DO4GR) because I had a lot of questions and issues with HRD6.

    I count myself as a poweruser; in other words, I take a close look to every single function available because I want to exploit the potential of the application I purchased. I spend several weeks and months to correctly learn the software and usually I do this while going through the operation manual in parallel. Also I have to add that I am very experienced in IT and I know what I'm doing and how underlying stuff works.

    Already at the beginning I was pretty disappointed because I had to realize that I spent $99.95 in a product whose manual was partly incomplete or outdated and thus inaccurate. I complaint in that forum post here. Even today (Nov/2016) the manual available for download is still outdated and incomplete.

    Example:
    hrd_manual_incomplete_outdated.jpg



    Very soon I experienced many issues and much worse I realized that no solution was in sight. It started with this fundamental issue for which I also opened a support case. The support team was not able to provide a solution but they were blaming "others" just up to the fact that it works for all the other HRD customers. The reply I initally got was

    Luckily another user who stumbled over the mentioned forum post contacted me by email and provided a "workaround" solution for that issue which worked great. Meanwhile HRD support team contacted me again and sent to me a similar "workaround" file but some details were missing. Some weeks later another user contacted me by email and kindly asked if I got my issue solved and could help because he had exactly the same issue on his side and he got no support. I told him about the valuable workaround and at the same time I asked him about his OS language. Suddenly I understood were this issue was related to: all three of us worked on a Windows OS that used a different locale (no latin characters, e.g. cyrillic or japanese or greek) which resulted in that issue. I forwarded this information together with the "workaround" to HRD support team because I want to "help" and "assist". To my own satisfaction the guy of HRD support staff contacted me again and asked about my OS language I used and told me about they had a similar thing with a customer in Taiwan. He wanted to look into that and dive into that, that's ok... I was satisfied, that's what a customer likes to hear.

    In the following course of the work I very much regret having to say this, but I have learned that there were lots of unresolved issues or bugs. My impression was that HRD was full of functions and possibilities which on the other side were not implemented correctly, possibly due in part to the fact that HRD wasn't able to meet the growing requirements.

    Just look at HRD forums how many complaints you'll face. Lots of threads are still unreplied, no answer at all.

    HRD_crashes_and_closed_threads.jpg

    I wonder how long threads like that will persist before they get closed or the user get banned. Wondering why I'm saying this? You'll see in the following ...

    Friends and colleagues who know me are aware about that I give my best to help and assist and that I investigate lots of time finding the cause of a problem and/or how to fix it and of course to share my knowledge with the community. I also try writing simple and clear tutorials (example) in my free time when I realize that lots of people are not able to perform certain functions they would like to do so. Furthermore I suggest improvements (example1, example2, example3) from which everyone could benefit.

    I also address and emphasize the negative points, so did I here or here
    I am not doing this to get on devs nerves, it's just an approach towards obtaining improvements. Just as a quick reminder: professional, customer and service oriented software firms are hiring and paying for finding faults, bugs, reprodoucing them, providing information, ..

    In case I discover bugs or problems I try to identify and narrow them down as far as I can. In this example I explained the cause of the improper implemented "Email Alert Notification" function within the "DXcluster Alarm" feauture and how to solve it. HRD owner and developer "W4PC" is not interested in diving into it and fix that issue that still exists because on his side it's working fine. I also explained WHY it's working on his site and not on others! He's not interested in that, it's much easier to point with the finger to others instead of attempt solving the problem. Constantly looking for someone on whom to pin the blame instead of resolving the problem is not helpful !

    w4pc_blaming_others_3.jpg

    Source


    w4pc_blaming_others_1.jpg

    w4pc_blaming_others_2.jpg


    Furthermore I quickly understood there is dictatorial act from the owner/moderators in HRD forums and no criticism is welcome at all although I'm offering tough but honest and factual criticism. I remember have seen some thread posts that were deleted or closed and I realized HRD forum make use of censorship unsuspectingly that it might hit me at a later time ...

    The forum moderator "José F5JD" in HRD forums obviously is trained to represent and enforce "W4PC" policy.He seems to be drilled to deny negative statements about HRD in any manner and to distract attention from the core of the matter. In this example he is just leaving due to lack of explanation. Whenever he sees a forum post that attract attention and while not being able to argue convincingly he uses his cerberus whistle to call big brother. In advance "W4PC" deletes content in HRD forums that might sound contrary to HRD in any manner whatsoever and a ban is just around the corner.

    With my forum account "DO4GR" I replied to an existing thread which subject was dealt with was a complain. The user who created this thread was upset about something not working or crashing HRD. I replied and emphasized in the customer's name that we expect a working software because we paid for it. Right after my account name "DO4GR" was banned by "W4PC" and my last post on that particular thread was removed. I did sent a private email message to him with a request for clarification and I also emphasized that I never broke the forum rules in any way. I never got a reply!

    With that moment I put aside any thoughts about that subject like the proverb says "A wise man changes his mind, a fool never will". Afterwards I registered a new account name on the forum by using my actual callsign "DD5XX".

    Some days ago (27th Octobre 2016) the forum user "gmarch" created this thread here where he addressed a feauture request. Now look what "José F5JD" replied to that thread. I replied also to that thread, I said that obivously there's no interest for improvements and referred to my similar own thread here that I posted half year ago which underlines it. Check it out and read what "José F5JD" replied and also pay close attention to the top of the thread at the thread status ==> it was CLOSED! And now guess why you cannot see my post on the mentioned thread created by gmarch ???? Because "José F5JD" informed big daddy "W4PC" and he deleted the last post I made and in advance he banned my account "DD5XX" also. The reason for the ban by W4pC was "Troublemaker in the forums."
    hrd_screenshot_banned_01thNov2016.jpg

    Folks, this is what a troublemaker looks like :) Now you tell me, is that censorship or is it censorship ?

    What is HRD business philosophy? Melking the customers and afterwards while not being or willing able to provide the promised feautures and/or a working product leaving them alone in the dark? And in case customers complaining and being too critical of W4PC's policy silence them by banning them? This is not a nice way of behaving towards the customers who paid $99.95 !


    At the beginning of evaluating various logbook software tools I decided to choose HRD6. Although it looked bloated to me I was optimistic to gain relatively good control over HRD. Even after this difficult experiences I do not wish to deny all the nice functions and I am still convinced of its long-term potential. When I talk with friends or other YL & OM eg. at regular's table, hamfests or exhibitions very often "Logbook Software" becomes the key topic. When I am asked about which tool I use and how I achieved to integrate it with the various equipment I have I answer them: "HRD is great and I'm quite contented but to be honest it lacks good support and some parts are not working as one would expect." Suddenly right after that I hear them saying "I didn't choose HRD because it looked bloated to me, somehow chaotic and complex, I felt overwhelmed..." but I also heard "I used HRD before but the reason for the change was laggy support and I felt abandoned..."

    We all know that you can't please everybody but I'm confident that HRD would achieve a greater acceptance by appreciating quality.

    After all this I have formed a completely personal opinion on this matter. I feel massively disappointed at the dictatorship forum platform and the way customers are treated. A customer paid for a product and expects function, accuracy and completeness. Nothing more and nothing less.

    I have nothing to hide and all my posts are still (yet) accessible on HRD forums:

    Click here for DO4GR posts
    Click here for DD5XX posts

    I wouldn't be surprised if the HRD forum dictators remove, block or modify my postings after they will read this thread here. It doesn't matter...

    But in spite of that I want to express my sincere appreciation of, and heartfeld thanks to, all HRD users out there going hand in hand and are mutually supporting. Respect to all worthy ones.

    A special BIG THANKS goes to the HRD staff member Mike - WA9PIE who provided huge amounts of information. WA9PIE is a prime example showing us how good support looks like and what it means to be behind the product. Everywhere others failed, Mike was there, willing to assisted and to support without being a party, respect!
    For those HRD users out there who don't know Mike... WA9PIE made with great effort lots of video tutorials on YouTube and he's also writing tutorials and/or stickys on HRD forum. His workmates can learn a lot from Mike.

    BTW: I had the intention of doing similar video tutorials in english+german. I also stumbled over "W4PC" thread Tech Support Position Available and kindly sent him an email where I asked him about details like if the position is meant only for U.S citizens. I would have been pleased to undertake this work by sharing my meanwhile in-depth knowledge with everyone. I'm pretty sure I would have been able to integrate my knowledge and experience especially in the German-speaking area, not only technically but also affecting marketing and sales. I never got a reply!

    Of course I will enjoy the full benefits of my HRD license/membership. In parallel I'm evaluating once more other logbook software suites to which I probably will change.

    This is the end of the story about a disappointed HRD user.

    Thanks for listening.

    best 73's de DD5XX
    Saki
     
    W4RAV likes this.
  2. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I can certainly understand the frustration for hams who have problems they can't get fixed with HRD. Having followed HRD for a long time, I take the philosophical view that, A. It's better than most other programs, B. It gets improved and fixed with time. The cost is actually quite modest for being the centerpiece of shack automation. Yes it has it's bugs, problems, quirks.

    Certainly the program functionality and support is better than Simon was able to give by himself, especially after he abandoned it for a year and a half. *shrug*.

    "Patience is a virtue" as the saying goes.
     
    WB8NUT likes this.
  3. N7ZAL

    N7ZAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've used HRD software for about 2 years and it has done everything I needed. JMO
     
    WB8NUT likes this.
  4. AC4BB

    AC4BB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Watch it, I tried to ask a question or two about it 2 years ago and certain mod banned me for 6 months. Just for wanting to ask a couple of (Pre - buy) questions about HRD. I guess he would have given me the firing squad if, he could have? Rick, was a no-show at this years Huntsville, Ala. Hamfest. God, I, miss Simon.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2016
  5. KY5U

    KY5U Subscriber QRZ Page

    DD5XX: "I'm having a heart attack! Please help me!"
    N7ZAL : "Hey, my heart is working just fine."

    Sorry to pick on you ZAL but this is a common response on QRZ when someone has a problem. The fact that some ham's HRD works fine does little to mitigate his issues.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2016
    K1JFJ and KD4MOJ like this.
  6. K1SZO

    K1SZO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I do not own HRD, though I am considering purchasing it.

    That said, from my view. It appears the company operates like a garage based company. Minimal staff and therefore, it becomes much more difficult to address the hoard of bugs I'm sure that get pointed out to them no matter how minor. Obviously, they could use pointers on customer management. I work in IT also and with software developers at that. That comment above from them.

    That would be a fire-able offence for a support rep to tell a customer. That is just really bad customer service, you do not tell a paying customer that. You also don't a paying customer from forums if they didn't break the rules or because they said something negative about the product due to issues they are having unless they continuously harp on it causing discord among others or obviously break the rules.

    They probably should have stuck with the other business format rather than make it pay only if they can't support their entire customer base.
     
  7. AC4BB

    AC4BB Ham Member QRZ Page

    The free-version is available and works fantastic.
     
    AE7RZ likes this.
  8. N7ZAL

    N7ZAL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Funny.....and you're right.
     
  9. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have been banned from QRZ because I told it like it was. HRD would put a radio into transmit unexpectedly and would smoke the finals. The truth hurts sometimes.

    The problem that HRD software has is that it relies on the MS .net framework.

    Win 7 will die soon and HRD will no longer work for older reliable computers.

    HRD is a nice software package, But you are on your own when it comes to making it work.

    I feel your pain. I would want my moneys worth too.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2016
  10. KD8TUT

    KD8TUT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I dumped HRD three months ago because of serial bugs with emulated serial ports which were show stoppers. The first bug I had HRD hadn't even heard of, and I sent them the solution.

    Honestly, the look feel and layout of the software appeals to me very much. I would prefer to use it. Not enough to re-up the support and update service.

    A separate issue which made me dubious about the company:

    HRD had put out a request for resumes for a phone support position. And while the job wasn't needed it was interesting enough to me to drop my resume to them.

    To be clear, my resume shows roughly 22 years of pre-sales support, post-sales support, network design, IT engineering, administration, and other experience. Most certainly much of which was done via phone.

    After a long time (months) they put out yet another request for resumes- and I inquired as to whether my resume was reviewed.

    The answer I received was that I did not have enough phone support experience. What?!?!?

    Which left me thinking that no one of consequence had read my resume. Or that the person who read my resume did not know what they were doing.

    While this didn't make me drop the software- in retrospect it seemed to at infer that I had made the right decision for myself.

    Currently... I'm trying really hard to get certified in phone use. Can't find any courses. Maybe they are all full?
     
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