Since our inception 30+ years ago, working closely with customers to ensure our tools meet our customers' needs has been pretty critical to our success. We coined the phrase "an engineer down the hall" to describe how we wanted our engineers to work with our customers. We want to be the folks you come and talk to when you have problems, and we want to give comprehensive quality answers that sometimes cross the line between support and consulting. If we can tell you about our products, great, but we also want to give good solid engineering advice about general ways to solve complex problems.The way we organized to be an "engineer down the hall" was by not having a customer support group at all. We made our product development team the support team. Because if you have a problem with a specific terrain loader, we want you to talk to the person who wrote the terrain loader. If you have a problem with how a particular model was rendered, we want you to talk to the person who wrote the shader for model rendering. This approach has two great benefits: 1) our customers are able to get the answers they need quickly – because they can go right to the source, and 2) our engineers who work on these features get feedback. If they write features that don't work well, they are the ones to hear about it first!
Growing MAK support to better serve our customers
When MAK support started out, we used a shared email box. Every support ticket got read by everyone and people who knew the answer would respond. This process lasted about 20 years! It mostly worked. Due to the shared inbox sometimes emails were mistakenly deleted and lost, and occasionally really wacky things happened - like some MAK engineer wrote to his mother from the support queue and the response was shared with everyone. (Oops.)
As our customer base grew and expanded all around the world, we grew our support processes with it. We switched to a formal ticket tracking system, OnTime, where customers would be assigned a ticket number in the subject of their support request email. This ticket number enabled us to track tickets and assign them to our engineers accordingly. This improved the process and experience for our customers quite a bit, but there were still issues: our customers didn't always know the status of their tickets unless he or she had a particularly organized inbox. And there weren't clear and easy ways for customers to understand the status of older tickets.
Onwards and upwards: MAK Customer Support Portal
After thirty years of evolution and growth, MAK is proud to still be the engineer down the hall for our customers. We are continuing to refine the support section of mak.com to make access to our online support resources and support portal easier for you.