Regarding support— I hear you and I appreciate what you have to say, and especially as someone who's used MediaShout awhile now.
I totally hear you on the weekend support. While it was something we had available for a while, when you purchased it seems, it's not something we ever could promise forever. To provide some behind the scenes info--With the way our company is now, most of our employees are in fact pastors, worship leaders, or tech directors or church volunteers ourselves. So it would be difficult to staff Sundays with our small team. And if we looked to staff folks that were NOT serving in their own churches, we'd miss the mark on having a team who understands the needs of ministry/technology and the blending of the two.
We have found after all though that with the software being very stable and not causing really any surprise issues in and of itself, most common issues can be prevented or prepared for during the days leading up to Sunday when support is available. When we did have Sunday support for instance, most issues were ones that involved or were caused by system configuration or other things that couldn't be dealt with in the short time leading up to or during Sunday morning service anyway, but rather we'd have to try a few things, and end up scheduling for the folks to connect with us when they were able to during the week.
We do also try to provide the training and resources to equip folks to know how to deal with situations that do arise that they can usually take care of themselves, even if not MediaShout related, through our excellent knowledge base. (Even issues that are not MediaShout exclusive, but deal more with Windows settings and issues). For example, there are only 3-4 things that would cause crashing to occur and most are related to settings or "codecs" for instance, so once those are learned and put into a user's "toolbox," they are able to be pretty self-sufficient.
Over the years even before I myself became part of the company (I have been a user since MediaShout 2 and came on staff about 2 years ago), the team here has gone above and beyond what any user agreement may have stated, or the standard for any software company. And the reason is because our heart as a company is for ministry, and still is. Again, our team is made up of pastors, worship leaders, church volunteers, etc. And it amazes me what all we accomplish with the small team of 3 support guys (not even all full time) and no more than 12 employees total. MediaShout has never even raised our base price for the software since the beginning almost 20 years ago.
With all of this taken into consideration, we needed to make a change to allow us to continue the level of support we have always offered and even more. We didn't want to raise the price of our software, and we didn't want to leave folks without the support they needed. But to be completely honest, we didn't have the resources to hire more help for support, and we weren't able to keep up with the demand. Some of this is because MOST of the questions we get are actually not even MediaShout exclusive-- They weren't really problems with MediaShout, but more "how do I set my projector for the right resolution", "how do I put my computer in extended display mode so MediaShout can use my second screen." or "how do I prevent Windows updates from coming through before services."
To maximize what we can do as a team and what we can offer to folks, we've found the Plus Member program to be the best option for our company and the many churches we serve. We will never leave anyone hanging, and are always here for folks when we are needed. Especially if there is a MediaShout issue where it's clearly the software's fault and it caused an issue for a user-- you can bet we're going to get on the phone and take care of what needs to be taken care of. For example, when a critical update that potentially affected users a few months ago, we opened the phones for a whole week and even were available on live chat on that Sunday morning. But logistically, some things had to change for us to meet the continuous demand and still devote resources to developing better software for the future, improving the existing builds of the software, and still offering the best deals we can to ministries who can't afford to pay more than what we charge now.
While specifically *phone* support is now a benefit of the Plus membership, we are definitely not taking away support. We are actually ADDING support options, like our new Live Chat. This only helps us be more efficient to serve the number of churches we serve (there's almost 80,000 and we do this with the small team I mentioned above!) And for those who want more premium levels of support over the phone, remote computer control sessions, etc, we have it available for a small fee that's within reach of almost any church or ministry.
For $17 a month or $149 a year, users can get the Plus Membership which includes weekday phone support, weekend ticket support, all standard support options like tickets/live chat, AND monthly media packs valued at over $35, as well as media ministry webinar training events, and even a $100 discount on future versions of MediaShout. With us, you don't have to pay a high fee every time you need support. You still have great free support, and then the option of advanced support with a subscription. (A whole month of it is only $17, which is MUCH lower than the cost of one "incident" call by an IT company for instance, plus comes with the bonuses of a media pack, etc). This also helps us cover what all it takes to provide the support-- for instance even the remote software we use to connect to users computers is VERY expensive for us to pay for.
If users are NOT interested in that, they STILL have phone support up until 30 days after purchasing, as we've found this is the time it normally takes to get any kinks worked out and get going. They also have the new Live Chat which is answered by our same phone support agents. Also tickets, emails, social media, and our ever growing and improving Knowledge Base and Community Portal.
All that to say-- I definitely understand where you're coming from. I just want you to know the heart behind every decision that we make is still the church. It is always with much thought and prayer. We try our hardest to do what's best for everyone as we grow and continue to serve the church with the software. I hope this makes sense. I'm glad to continue to help on here as much as I can for you, if you let me know if it works/doesn't work and keep me posted!