Yahoo! Review: Customer Support (3 stars)
Phone Support is Necessary to Fill in Gaps
Phone support was the most reliable of Merchant Solutions's customer support services, though we sometimes had to wait on hold. It was certainly better than the oversized "Getting Started" guide, the badly titled contextual help system within Store Editor, the slow email support system, or the online documentation that would benefit from screenshots to help you understand the instructions better.
"Getting Started" in Overdrive
When we first got our Merchant Solutions account, we naturally turned to the "Getting Started Guide." Usually these guides are only a few pages long with just enough info to get the ball rolling, so we just printed it out.
We missed the note that it was in fact 360 pages long. One ink cartridge refill later, we opened the mighty tome. It's more of a complete guide than one for just "Getting Started."
Many trees died to give us our guide.
We followed the guide and uploaded our products using Catalog Manager as recommended. Only the uploaded products didn't appear on our website.
We called for support and were told not to do that, and that it's better to do all uploading from "Store Editor." We told them that we just were following the guide's instructions and they told us simply that it was wrong. They then said to ignore all of Chapter 4 and follow the instructions from Chapter 5-9.
You'd think if the guide had errors in it they'd be corrected so they don't cause confusion.
Contextual Help in Store Editor Helps Clarify Bad Titling
The titling within the editor is in some cases poor, but there is contextual help that explains each title. Once you get to know the titles, this info can be hidden.
The contextual help for the tool bar isn't that helpful because it assumes you know what their lingo means. They define the "Section" button, for example, by writing simply "will create a new section and list it here." We could only guess what "Section" meant.
Contextual Help for Toolbar
The contextual help within the editing pages is a lot more useful. It too can be hidden once you get used to the labelling system. This begs the question: Why not make the titling and layout more clear so you don't need the textual help?
Contextual Help for Toolbar
Merchant Solutions Documentation Needs Screenshots
Occasionally, we turned to the help documentation from Store Manager. It's also accessible from other places within Merchant Solutions - it's the easiest source of help to find.
The database is searchable, which is necessary when there is so much info. We found the documentation to be clearly written, though it does lack screenshots to provide visual guidance. The problem is that the overall system for building and managing a website is very confusing. It forces you to do a lot of clicking between different programs and pages. So without screenshots, it's easy to get lost and confused.
Help Documentation on Merchant Solutions
Reliable Free Phone Support, but You Might Have to Wait
We contacted phone support a number of times throughout the building of our website. Each time, we found the customer support rep to be knowledgeable and helpful.
Phone support is available 24/7 and you really need it for the times when you get lost in the documentation and need someone to guide you along.
We called 4 times. Around midday (PST), we had to wait on hold the longest (8 and 15 minutes). Toward the end of the day, there was no wait.
One thing that was a concern is that every time we called over the course of 5 days, there was a message before we were directed to the customer support rep. It said that if we were calling about systems delays or busy error messages, the developers were already aware of the problem and were working to correct it. If there was a problem, you'd think it would have been corrected sooner.
Email Support a Little Slow
Merchant Solutions says they guarantee an answer to email support questions within 24 hours (like most builders). But then most other builders get the answer to you much quicker than that. Yahoo, on the other hand, just squeaked in at 23 hours. This is not a huge problem though since there's always telephone support. The answer that we received was similar to the help documentation (no screenshots, of course)
Hard to Get to Support's Email Address and Phone Number
It's easy enough to access the help documentation from anywhere in Merchant Solutions. Getting to the support email address and phone number is another story. There is only one place you can access it from, the Merchant Solutions home page.
This is the only place you can get to support's email address and phone number.
But you can't just access the info as soon as you click the link. That would be too easy. First you have to click the appropriate category for the problem you have. This is to point you in the direction of the correct documentation, which they hope you read through rather than contact them. Only then, do they give you the contact info.
Write down the contact info when you get it. You won't find it anywhere else!
Store Blog Now Available
Lastly, Yahoo also provides a blog in which they offer extra info and provide a forum for Merchant Solutions customers to ask questions and connect with other users. It is too new to evaluate yet though. There are very few postings.
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