In July we announced changes to our technical support service for TradeLog. Here are some questions and detailed answers regarding these changes that you may be interested in.
Exactly what has changed? Essentially our technical support is the same. We are still committed to providing the best technical support of any trader tax software. The key changes are (1) how we provide that support and (2) the extent of the support we provide.
- In the past, you could call our 800 number and wait for the next available agent to talk with. Now, when you call the 800 number we have an automated system that helps identify the type of problem you are having, the system then provides some basic instruction as to what we need in order to support that problem. We may ask you to send your TradeLog data file or other information. In all cases, we ask customers to submit a support request either directly from the software, at our online support center, or by email. We then can respond to that request, and usually by email because this is the most effective way for us to provide instructions in most circumstances.
- As to the extent, our policy has always been that we provide technical support. The challenge is that some users do not understand what that involves. As a result, those few users would often tie-up our support staff with problems and questions that involved accounting service, tax advice, or basic computer instruction. We now are trying to direct those types of problems to the proper channels for service so that our technical support staff is available to help all users more effectively.
Why the changes? As we are all aware, costs for everything are constantly on the rise. Although we have not raised TradeLog prices in over five years, our costs have continued to increase. In this difficult economy we especially did not want to raise our prices. Therefore, we examined ways we could be more effective in the support we provide. We studied our support history and trends and made adjustments that would affect the least amount of our customers. In doing so we found that phone support – while being the most expensive type of support to provide, was used by a minority of our customers. To keep the cost of TradeLog down for everyone we chose to make adjustments to reduce our support costs in that area.
Why can’t I talk to a live person? We do have live people in our support staff and we do talk with customers on the phone. Our research has shown that when customers called our support line we would usually spend more time resolving their problem than had they used an online channel. Why? Because usually the customer did not readily have the information needed for us to resolve the problem (such as the TradeLog data file), or they hadn’t followed the instructions for using the software (such as our Quick Start Guide). Therefore, by requiring customers to submit a support request first, we are able to better assess what the problem is, review information needed to solve the problem, and then provide clear instructions. Usually, it is better for us to respond by email and provide instructions that users can follow at their own pace. However, if we need to we will also arrange a phone call to discuss more complex problems.
What is the extent of technical support? Technical support involves the use of TradeLog software. For example, if you are having problems downloading or installing the software, or if you have problems importing your trade history or need instructions for handling adjustments that occurred – these are areas we can support. Oftentimes we already have instructions online and it is simply a matter of us providing you the link to those instructions. We do expect that our users be able to follow the instructions provided with TradeLog or by our support team.
However, our technical support does not include analyzing your 1099-B for reconciliation errors, looking up information regarding your trading activity, entering your baseline positions, etc. Although we can point you to instructions for using TradeLog functions and reports, beyond that the situation usually involves accounting services. It is impossible to outline every situation, but typically if your request involves us using the software for you, or reviewing statements and 1099’s, then it usually is beyond the extent of technical support. The good news is we have approved service providers who are able to do such accounting services at various levels – if you just need someone to do the TradeLog work for you, or if you need full-fledged CPA services.
But you did this for me in the past? Perhaps we did, even though our policy has not really changed, we are aware that we at times went way beyond that policy in the past. And at times we may assess a unique situation in which we need to learn more in order to provide online instructions or improve the software. However, in general we must limit the extent of our support in order to keep from raising our prices.
What if I cannot use the software on my own? We try to provide as much help as we can for people to use TradeLog. Our Quick Start Guide walks you through each step of using TradeLog for tax purposes. Our full User Guide covers every function in TradeLog as well as various situations that may arise in using the software. In addition, if you need someone to talk you through using the software we have Online Tutorials covering most major steps. We do understand that for some people using TradeLog is beyond their ability. We encourage those people to contact one of our approved service providers to discuss trade accounting services available using TradeLog software.
These changes have yielded good results so far. Most customers have provided us with positive feedback and are happy we haven’t raised prices. We are working on more improved processes and tools to help provide the best support we can for our customers, especially for the next tax year. In addition, we have been able to increase our new development for TradeLog and we will have some exciting things coming for 2012 tax year!
Please note: This information is provided only as a general guide and is not to be taken as official IRS instructions. Cogenta Computing, Inc. does not make investment recommendations nor provide financial, tax or legal advice. You are solely responsible for your investment and tax reporting decisions. Please consult your tax advisor or accountant to discuss your specific situation.