my awesome customer support experience with Taskline

I was very impressed recently with the customer service I received from ResultsWare, the vendor of Taskline, and I want to share the story.

A week or so ago, I was reading some blog, I can't remember which, but someone mentioned an application called Taskline. It's a task scheduler for Microsoft Outlook and, as a power user of Outlook, it sounded fantastic, so I went to their site and downloaded the trial version. Unfortunately, I had problems during the installation. An error box popped up Microsoft Office style and said (I'm paraphrasing here) “hey, there's a problem, please let us know by sending a report”. Which I did. No big deal.

A few hours later I get an email from Charles Sinclair from ResultsWare Limited that started off with “Thank you for sending us this error report and I apologise for any inconvenience caused.”.  Charles then went on to say they had seen the same error reported by another user and suggested some workarounds. Unfortunately, these didn't work. However, each time Charles sent me a prompt reply and he started each email by apologizing profusely that I was experiencing these problems and thanking me for sending the error reports and for not giving up on the product.

And then a strange thing started to happen to me. Something that hasn't happened in a long time. I started to feel useful. I started to feel appreciated. I didn't feel like a dumb user. I felt VALUED. I felt like Charles cared about my user experience. I have to tell you - that felt good. That made me want to work with Charles until we fixed the problem. And it made me want to blog about the experience. I know I don't have Scoble's readership, but here's a little free PR for Taskline.

It took Charles and I several days to resolve the issue and, guess what? It turned out to be a corruption in my Tasks folder. A while ago I had stupidly tried to drag and drop a few emails from my inbox into my tasks folder while working on OWA. And the emails got stuck somewhere in the Tasks folder where I couldn't see them and couldn't delete them. Charles eventually provided me with a small application which deleted these bad tasks and BINGO - Taskline works fine. Fantastic even.

So... I don't know what the moral of the story is, but I do know this: Charles is a great customer support guy. And Taskline is a great application once you get it running. I'm telling everyone I know about it. It basically takes your tasks and inserts them intelligently into your calendar based (I assume) on a rules engine that looks at the due date, priority, etc. A Taskline button sits on your Outlook toolbar and, each time you press it, it takes 30 seconds to re-schedule all of your outstanding tasks in your calendar, fitting them into any free slots you have. I highly recommend you try it.

And thanks again Charles. Well done. Keep it up.

UPDATE: Robert McLaws reminded me it was his blog that I first read about Taskline. Thanks Robert!


Comments (13)
  1. Julian says:

    Well, dear Cameron,

    I hope that gives you an Idea on what makes Open Source

    so successful 🙂


  2. Taskline is not an open source application… so how does that give him an idea about the success of open source?

    Anyways, the I’m the one that posted about TaskLine. I’m glad it worked out for you. It’s been a miracle for my productivity.

  3. Owen says:

    Thanks for mentioning this, Camerom (and Robert). I’m looking forward to using Taskline.

  4. Julian, I’ve got no idea what this story has to do with open source, but I’d love you to expand on it.

  5. Robert, thanks for reminding me that I first read about Taskline on your blog! I’ve updated my entry to reflect that.

  6. I think that Cameron is being too modest here. Initially, this looked like a bug in Taskline. But despite this, he worked with me, providing invaluable help and remaining generous and polite throughout. The perfect customer! We have learned from this, and we will update Taskline to make it cope with emails in the tasks folder, so that other people don’t get all these problems. Thank you Cameron!

  7. Julian says:

    Well, maybe I thougt a bit too far. What I meant is: if you love it to be heard, when you report a bug and if you feel respected, when you help the Creators of a progam to fix it (As you did with Taskline), that might have given you a bit of the exactly what you get, when you get involved in an open source project: use it, help to improve it, be part of it!

  8. anon says:

    I’ve had similar experiences lately with a variety of small "vendors": Bloglines, Newsgator and PocketInformant. I also had a nice experience recently with used bookstore Alibris. A software bug or (in the case of Alibris) an e-commerce mistake can be an instant deal-breaker. A quick response from a real-person who realizes you have a legitimate problem that if fixed would benefit their entire user base is incredibly empowering, no doubt, and results in customer loyalty and fixes ALL problems….

  9. Jon says:

    Have to say I have had the same user experience with Taskline and Charles S.

    Bought the product, used it, made a terrific difference to my time management and also thought of a couple of "extras" that would work for me as probably some others too – so I mailed the comments to ResultsWare using the feedback form – guess what, Charles replied a couple of hours later, and over the next few days he managed to extract from me a meaningful specification for the suggestions I made. There are some valid points to be made here – I felt like a valued customer rather than a "user", I felt as if my opinion mattered and the company genuinely wanted the feedback….

    Certainly be very interested in anything else they care to write…

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