A Muddy Problem


A Muddy Problem

This is short, unsweet, and to the point.  Adobe Creative Cloud has been having a LOT of trouble lately.  For me, this means Photoshop will not open (the “crash” notice I included here is all I get).  Some others on the Adobe forum to whom I’ve talked cannot get ANY of Creative Cloud’s apps to work.

First off, I’m paying (as are others) about $50 a month to subscribe to Creative Cloud.  Some pay more for bigger plans.  We are no longer in the era when companies sold you a CDROM with their software for a one-time price that was probably the equivalent of an arm and a leg…and your first born…DNA sample…immortal soul…etc.  Nope.  Today we subscribe to the app service for an annual price that is the equivalent of an arm and a leg…and your first born…DNA sample…immortal soul…etc.

This is way more money over the long run, but we do get constant updates, so there is a something in it for us customers. I can’t fault Adobe or others for adopting this business model.  Their function is to make money, and this sure does make money for their employees and stock holders.

I do, however, find a new trend in this new subscription-based world to be infuriating; the lack direct customer service support.  My Photoshop has been down for a month.  In that time I have sought in vain to talk to someone at Adobe.  Every “contact us” link led not to an email, but to a public forum.  So “contact us” really means “contact other users and muddle through on your own to fix our problems for us.”

I finally got honked off and commented in the forum.  I mentioned the only solution I’d found on the forums involved moving a “.exe” file to the desktop.  This got my Photoshop to work, but anyone with even a passing familiarity with computers knows moving any “.exe” files from their locations (much less to the desktop?!) is a really bad idea.

The first response I got was a guy telling me moving the “.exe” file was not a fix, nor a good idea, nor had I found the problem.

My response was sharp, but detailed.  However, it boiled down to this:  “No, DUH!”

Photoshop is supposed to generate a “crash report” that will be sent to Adobe.  My version is not generating a crash report, only the crash notification I included with this column.  That’s no help.

Adobe and other companies are effectively leaving users to fend for themselves by employing public forums instead of direct customer support.  Adobe’s forum says (and I am seriously paraphrasing here) to write out problems because “the community” can often find solutions!  In other words, users can do the company’s job (in this case, Adobe) and fix their problems for them—hopefully for free!

Adobe is aware of the problem.  I know this because one person on the forum told me they got through on the phone (how in the name of John Q. Arbuckle did they find a phone number?!) and the Adobe representative said they know of the issues.  Thing is, Adobe has made no public statement.

I’m a communication professional.  Lesson #1 for any organization—government or private sector—is to immediately communicate directly with the customer if something in a product or service goes wrong.  This alleviates anger, maintains trust, and ensures the customer/organization relationship remains intact.

Adobe is getting a LOT of OUR money.  They need to both FIX this problem AND learn to communicate directly with us.  If they don’t, they risk losing our money because we customers might get fed up and start looking for new software.

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