Open letter to NI re: Your customer service

Discussion in 'MASCHINE Area' started by Zac Kyoti, Jun 9, 2012.

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  1. Zac Kyoti

    Zac Kyoti NI Product Owner

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    NI, wake up. Your products are creative, forward thinking, and sound great. Your customer service is simply terrible. I've held off finalizing any judgement until I'd had years and numerous product experiences from which to judge. The final straw for me was this last Maschine on the record where I asked about when we could expect a fix for the well known midi control freeze bug. The question was simply ignored, after having waited weeks for a reply. What the ****

    I will probably get flamed hard for this post, and really at this point I don't care. I have reached the end of my rope. I, like so many others, have used NI software and gear for many years, have invested a LOT of money into NI, and have been extremely patient. I will not be purchasing anything more from NI. The headaches are just not worth the reward. I just want products that work, but MORE importantly, I want to be the customer of a company who I feel is in touch with its user base, who actively listens to and monitors its users' concerns and needs.

    Let me lay it out straight:
    *The user forum is your absolute best barometer of users' actual needs, and best indicator of issues/bugs/software usability that you have.
    *There is a SERIOUS disconnect between this valuable resource and your planning and engineering departments. Don't talk to me about moderators being the conduit. Either no one is listening to them, or they are not delivering an accurate account of forum trends. Infrequent "on the record" sessions with omitted questions and clipped answers is not a good solution.
    * Get someone who's only job is to monitor (not moderate) the forums, and distill everything that happens there into weekly reports that rank usability, bug, and feature request trends, and who can communicate those things to a engineering department that will listen and prioritize them as a matter of course.
    * I'll do it. Hire me. I'll do anything at this point to make that user base to engineering department connection a reality. Why is this so difficult?. I will find every freakin bug you've got, and reproduce it. Bring it on!

    I'm not even going to get into the various software debacles that've happened through the years, Native's outright denial of bugs, or weird disconnects like Thomas or Keir being aware of bugs that engineering isn't actively working on, or the same broken feature in four or more software updates. I am going to echo the sentiment that is so obvious throughout the forums:

    We want NI to be innovative and to develop new features. But make it a priority to make the core features stable, rock solid, bug free. You know, the features that are the reason we bought your stuff in the first place? The features that you advertised to us?Who gives a cra* about remix decks or tube saturators when we can't even use Maschine reliably as a midi controller, or cue Trakor correctly with a cdj? When did you decide it was ok to make your paying customers beta testers?

    I don't like feeling like this. I am passionate about NI gear/software, and am ready to part of a TEAM effort instantly! But I have come to the conclusion that my enthusiasm, experience and in-the-trenches observation falls on deaf ears and just does not go into making NI products any better. It's sad. I will continue to use the NI products I have, because they are the best. But you are losing a return customer. There is so much more to your business than simply being "the future of sound". An amazing resource of real human beings is at the controls of everything you sell. You need to remember that.

    Native Instruments is dead!
    Long live Native Instruments!
  2. hotsauce

    hotsauce NI Product Owner

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    +1000000000
  3. skinsfandc

    skinsfandc Forum Member

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    See ya later!
  4. noiserot

    noiserot Forum Member

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    I don't think he's going anywhere. Notice that while he said he won't be buying any more NI products, that he will continue using the ones he has. He's upset that his question about an issue he's having didn't get addressed in the On the Record session. I'm not sure how making grand gestures and empty threats in the forum would be effective at all to make NI developers solve particular issues any quicker though.
  5. just1n

    just1n Forum Member

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    Op sounds spolied, it's just a bug, it will get ironed out in a future version of maschine.
  6. Zac Kyoti

    Zac Kyoti NI Product Owner

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    Guys, I'm bummed I feel the need to defend myself, but I guess some of you don't know me, my history on the NI forum, or aren't reading carefully.

    Noiserot, you are absolutely right. I'm not going anywhere, and a big ass post like this in the forum IS next to useless as far as getting anything accomplished. But it's really the only channel I have to potentially express anything that could get through to the mothership. But it was mostly just for me to get some ish off my chest. Try to understand.

    I've been on this forum for almost 4 years, and have used NI software much longer than that. All that time I have always been about problem solving, sharing knowledge, and general positive approach. This long post rose out of years of experience with NI's customer support and response, observation of other users' experiences, and a building disappointment. It didn't happen overnight.

    If you think my issue is just about an unanswered question, you're missing the point. I'm venting about a systemic failure to respond to key elements of stability and usability, over a range of products, over a number of years. Maybe you guys aren't part of the Traktor community?

    Hopefully you guys can understand. I would like what I paid for to not freeze up in a live show. But I would've settled for a simple update on progress for a fix. Last I looked, the main thread on this issue had 5,700 views. I think people want to know about it. When NI omits an answer to a question about a show stopping bug, they are also giving a big FU to every other Maschine user out there.

    Peace, I hope we can see eye to eye, guys.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2012
  7. dej47

    dej47 NI Product Owner

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    This is a reoccurring issue i've seen posted here and the DJTT forums, NI's customer service. I'm saying this post from a point of constructive criticism.

    You guys make really awesome products, but your customer service is weak. I haven't had to deal with it too much but even the times i've called it took forever before I got through. Customer service really does go a long way. I've been fortunate that I've had almost no problems with my NI products, besides the odd software bug but for the people who seem to be left in the dust on issues, that sucks. You guys would be incredible if your products were supported with great customer service. I think you guys should revamp your entire customer service department
  8. jbfuller

    jbfuller NI Product Owner

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    I've never had a single issue, I have a ton of NI gear, hardware and software, and I run it all from a really old computer with bad specs.

    I'm not discounting your experience, but not everyone's is the same. Reading posts like these doesn't change my experience because it's been good. And you have to admit, at least 75% of the time when you read a post from someone having a problem it's an operator error. I'm not saying they all are, about 3/4, but most people complaining on here don't have a clue about even the most simplest of things and they end up asking questions like "Why isn't there sound coming out of my mixer?"

    So take a step back and imagine that NI is spending time answering all of these questions, all of these ridiculous questions, but they don't have time to get to you. Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    If the OP, or any of the responders, is a Customer Service Dept manager for a software+hardware company at least as big as NI then I'm interested in their ideas, otherwise STFU and RTFM.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  9. Zac Kyoti

    Zac Kyoti NI Product Owner

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    416
    @jbfuller: Your perspective is well taken. Native has a lot to deal with, for sure. It's a tough balancing act. In this case though, there's no issue of user error, it's a known bug that NI has chosen not to address for unknown reasons, some of which could even be legal in nature. Familiarize yourself: http://www.native-instruments.com/forum/showthread.php?t=150713

    This one is a big deal. Do a search and find numerous other threads on the subject. It is bad business not to attempt to address the community regarding this bug, and know that I'm not one to complain lightly. Just for your reference, no - I'm not in software company management, but I do develop software and mos def know the difference between limitations and bugs. I've been making electronic music since 96 and like you don't have problems unless something is actually broken.

    This thread isn't really about that anyway, though it was the catalyst. Thanks for the input regardless. I've kinda resigned myself to thinking there's no one truly responsible for monitoring the user base, and thats that. Bad day, bad attitude on my part, movin' on. It's off my chest, I hope someone at NI gives a care, and that this thread will fall to the back of the pile :S Unfortunately I can't undo a rant that won't accomplish anything (peeps definitely right about that).
  10. THE WIDOWMAKER

    THE WIDOWMAKER NI Product Owner

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    2,146
    my experience has always been top notch - when i have had issues (small ones with reaktor updates around version 3.5) they were resolved reasonably and via e-mails to customer service - i never used the forums as it's not really going to help.

    just to keep things balanced.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  11. sowari

    sowari Moderator

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    25,168
    so what do you think Keir does then?

    and haven't you noticed that Mads has been answering questions lately?

    sowari
  12. jbfuller

    jbfuller NI Product Owner

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    177
    I hear you on that issue, but I don't use Ableton so it doesn't apply to me. You at least have to admit it's a tertiary benefit of Maschine, the thing was never built to run Ableton. I understand the gripe, and it's legitimate if NI says it can do that, but still, it's not the purpose.
  13. macchinista

    macchinista Forum Member

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    72
    The Maschine freeze bug for Mac OSX is not just with Ableton. As long as you have Maschine in MIDI controller mode, then it is going to happen. Ask Traktor users, they have seen it too. So, no, it's not a tertiary use of Maschine. At least secondary since it is being marketed and sold as a MIDI controller too. As such, it does not work as advertised on Mac OSX. It's as simple as that.
  14. noiserot

    noiserot Forum Member

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    1,866
    It's also possible that it is some sort of Mac OSX USB related issue not specific to Maschine.
  15. macchinista

    macchinista Forum Member

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    Possible, but I have plenty of other MIDI controllers which work just fine using the same USB port/cable.
  16. nomatter

    nomatter New Member

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    customer service is the future

    i admit, though, i was kinda misled by machine's integration...especially with ableton. I really should've tried it, before I bought it.

    after scouring the manuals for answers (and this disorganized mess of a forum)...watching several tutorials from a free offer from "macprovideo" and groove (which i obtained through novation)...I still didn't quite understand some features, as the manuals have always left out detailed technical information (compare to ableton) in favor of a more casual and wordy approach.

    So, I e-mailed technical support, hoping that they realize that I pretty much spent almost 800 dollars on a product that I really busted my ass to afford. All I got was a "RTFM" copy pasted template, that didn't even address my question correctly. th

    hopefully , NI can really find it in their new business overhaul to answer technical support questions instead of pointing customers to this ridiculously disorganized forum and telling you to read the manuals (which are poorly written), watch tutorials that don't address my question, and register for a paid tutorial site (which doesn't even support the maschine). I've always disliked NI and decided that Maschine (through their hype and advertisement in tandem with their LOCKED forum) would solve a lot of my problems with workflow.

    Unfortunately, I was largely mistaken.

    I've had similar gripes about Ableton, in terms of missing features and buggy releases...but, I have been loyal to them because of one incident. A couple years back, I called ableton, and gerhardt (ceo) picked up and explained a very simple problem regarding midi mapping. He was glad to hear from me and was extremely warm. i have been loyal to ableton despite their flaws and the amount of problems that still have not been addressed. Customer service means a lot. NI and Avid must understand this as competitors and imitators (ex: bitwig) are blurring the lines of DAW specialization. Pretty soon, customer service will win out...even if NI does finally play nice with others, fixes it's bugs, and stop releasing new software instruments and expensive libraries, in favor of fixing what matters (particularly workflow and compatibility of their main products)...they must understand that, as piracy restrictions improve, customer loyalty will win out...

    my 20 cents...sorry. i have work tomorrow...wanted to figure out a simple problem.. but, got a templated e-mail and was pointed towards this poorly maintained, angsty (which makes sense, as it's poorly filtered) forum...a complete waste of time when all i wanna do is ask questions that should be answered by people who are paid to do so, by me and other customers. this is a forum...where we should discuss creative tips. It's not a place for paying customers to try and answer other paying customers questions.

    i understand tech support can suck...but, is necessary. NI, when you build a product that is marketed towards a large audience you're gonna have to address the ridiculous questions...one, by one. Believe me...workflow and simplicity is king - a shiny sample library is worthless if it's never used properly. educate people. it'll pay off later.
  17. THE WIDOWMAKER

    THE WIDOWMAKER NI Product Owner

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    Massive post- what was your problem exactly and did you get it resolved? I disagree, user forum is exactly for helping other non or lesser experienced users, that's exactly why products have forums.
  18. Chicks

    Chicks New Member

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    I've personally thought of any user forum as a place where I can help or get help or tips from other users. I always use Customer Support for things dealing with bugs, technical issues, etc. Pretty much anything that the Manufacturer would HAVE TO deal with. I've kinda thought that addressing the manufacturer directly in user forums were kind of pointless. It's usually a way of just letting off steam (which is fine) but at the same time, rarely gets anything tangible accomplished. In me experience, Customer Support has been much better than user forums for me to get the results I desire.

    As for your question not getting answered in on the record, i'm positive you weren't the only one. If they answered questions as you describe by hiring someone who does just that monitoring the forums, someone else in the forum would say "that guy needs to be coding my favorite feature request, not just sitting on the forum answering everyone's silly questions."

    But overall I like the "spirit" of your post. It expresses the power that we consumers have. And you give specific valid reasons for the way you feel. You are free to do what you will with your product without having to explain yourself to anyone. And, your experience is yours and your opinions are completely valid. But as another user stated, it is not everyone's experience. I don't use Maschine as you do so I haven't experienced that particular bug. And I haven't had one issue with customer service or integrating Maschine into my workflow at all. Now, can Maschine be improved? Yes. Absolutely. But at the same time, is my experience any less valid than yours? No.
  19. noiserot

    noiserot Forum Member

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    1,866
    That's not being misled. That's making an assumption without really looking into it beforehand.
  20. Zac Kyoti

    Zac Kyoti NI Product Owner

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    I would never discount another's experience. I'm very happy that people have had 100% positive interactions. Just goes to show how complex the NI/User relationship can be. I have had good experiences as well as bad.

    Because Maschine is such a killer midi controller in theory, if you're not "using it the way I do", chances are you will be in the future. There's nothing to it. If you are on a Mac, press shift + control on Maschine. Use as midi controller. Freeze. It doesn't matter what software you use.

    This is an issue that affects everyone, at least on os x, because it will bite anyone who uses their controller as advertised. This isn't about "spoiled" or "entitled". The right thing to do would be for NI to address the issue. They had an opportunity and chose not to.
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