I was reading Web Self Service -trend in 2009? from CMS Watch and it reminded me of stores with self checkout counters.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of self checkout, you have the choice at some grocery store and hardware stores to ring up your purchases yourself with a computer instead of clerk where you do the scanning, paying and bagging. Some people go to this counter thinking “I can do this faster than the clerk” or “I don’t have to wait in that long line” because you are the clerk doing most of the work for your own purchases. Did I mention it ultimately costs you the same price? Meanwhile, the store gets to employ less staff to monitor four to six of these self checkout counters. This is a smart business idea for the vendor because they save money (but you don’t save money nor time trying to figure out how to use their system). The store only needs one person to monitor and trouble shoot the checkout process for customers. Do you see where I am going with this?
Self service DAM vendors get to do the same thing. Particularly, the open source solutions. Wow, I hope you like coding.
They have less people to give you any form of customer service. You got a problem? Take a number and go to the back of the line again. Slower or non-existent customer service is available for your self service DAM solution too. Where do we sign up for this awesome solution as a client or user?
If you are thinking “Who needs help with technology nowadays?” or “This is easy to implement from scratch without assistance”, you may want to re-evaluate what you are doing and who is going to use this ‘solution’.
This is why many stores with self checkout counters still have full service counters available and many people go to full service with the expectation that the store will do their part and ring up your purchases for you (and maybe even answer a few questions). Customer service sounds like a fascinating concept which still happens in some parts of the world. DAM vendors offer full service contracts for this reason where you get what you pay for. One way or another, you pay for customer service. If you can’t find any customer service, that is because you are not paying for it and neither is the vendor.
If you think you can go with a DAM solution alone (without customer service), go ahead and try. But when you have a problem, get a bottle of aspirin before beginning to kick yourself. Did I mention you will end up paying the same (or more than full service DAM) in the time spent trying to implement and update the solution for your needs? Consider revisiting the vendors that do offer customer service. You have a choice and be careful what you ask for.