I recently had my first opportunity to use DataMystic's MS Word find and replace program, WordPipe. I am responsible for publishing our organization's documentation onto the intranet. In this role, I need to be able to deliver any amendments or corrections to these crucial documents quickly and easily to enable staff to have total access to policies and procedures in their own roles.

A few weeks ago we needed to change a Business Unit name within some of our documents. I knew that this particular name was only used in a few, but vital documents, but was not sure which ones exactly. The change needed to be done immediately, but my challenge was to find them amongst 40 other documents that had been identified as most likely to contain it.

So I pulled the 40 documents off the intranet site and ran WordPipe over them ?it located the name straight away and amended it as specified. It then returned the result stating 3 documents had been changed. Great! The problem was, that nowhere did it say exactly which 3 documents they were. This meant that I had one of 2 options: I could either republish all 40 documents back to the intranet - which I did not want to do if I could help it - or I had to systematically open each document and search for the amendment manually. Either option was going to take some considerable time ? too long to have the documents unavailable to our staff. So what was the point of having such great software as WordPipe if it still made the user manually open the documents and look for the amended words? To me, that really defeated the purpose somewhat - and it was the very thing that we were trying to avoid by purchasing WordPipe.

Thinking that I overlooked the log of amended documents somewhere, I began searching for it. I exhausted all buttons and menus on WordPipe itself and eventually ended up at DataMystic's website. I scoured the web pages and still could not find what I was looking for. I eventually gave up in desperation and emailed them directly.

I must say, that what happened next was outstanding customer service at the very least.

As past experience has taught me, when sending emails to website contacts, sometimes you may or may not get a response (usually automated). If you do, its usually too late in coming to be of any use. I was certainly not expecting anything different from DataMystic, but I sent it anyway. Sure enough I got the mandatory automated email saying that a real live person would be contacting me within 3 business days. Naturally, I was not really expecting to hear from anybody and resigned myself to the fact that I now had a very time consuming task ahead of me.

But, within half an hour, I had a response from Simon Carter at DataMystic! I was stunned as I had never experienced such a high level of customer service before and certainly not from a website contact. The answer he supplied was not one that I wanted to hear ? the current version of WordPipe did not have a amendment log, but it was probably going to be in the next version. Of course that did not help me out of my current predicament and responded as such, thinking that I would just have to bite the bullet and wait for the next version to be released.

But within the hour, Simon had replied to me with a new build of WordPipe that included an amendment log function! This meant that I could immediately identify the 3 changed documents and publish them back onto our website with very little 'down time' for our users.

Result: one very happy WordPipe user ? this product is a dream come true now for someone like me, who has to deal with tight timeframes and deadlines to meet.

I was completely blown away by such a quick response to a customer and was greatly impressed by it. I emailed Simon back and told him what valuable service he had just provided and asked him to forward my email onto his manager ? he is truly an asset to the company!

I then forwarded his emails onto my management, with a footnote saying ???.?we can all learn something from this, and take a leaf out of Simon's book?

So to DataMystic and especially Simon ? congratulations on such fantastic and outstanding service. The ability to ensure rapid response and solutions to customers enquires and needs is paramount to any organization and you have certainly exceeded this customers expectations!

Ruth Donnelly
Wellington City Council