Recently we got a low customer satisfaction score from a client for a task one of our helpdesk analysts performed. Whenever we get a low score (below 3 out of 5) our Service Manager investigates further.
On this occasion, he found out that the helpdesk analyst had been asked to install some freeware software relating to creating PDF files. For those who aren't sure what freeware is, Wikipedia describes it as proprietary software that is available at no monetary cost. The analyst hadn't heard of this product (there are over 100 freeware apps for creating PDFs), but after double-checking with the customer he undertook to install it.
Install Freeware with Care
As he went through the install process he began to get messages saying other software needed to be installed and it got to the point where he decided to abort the install process because he'd become concerned it could be malware. He communicated this back to the client along with a suggestion that a commercial application is purchased. And a low survey score resulted.
Did the NetCare helpdesk analyst do the right thing? I trust you agree with me that he did.
NetCare Policy on Freeware
What this also highlights is the need to remind our customers of the NetCare policy concerning freeware. A policy that is adhered to by NetCare staff and also - importantly - one that is communicated to our clients.
What action do we take when we're asked to install freeware?
On one hand, the view could be taken "the customer is always right" - so if they ask us to do something then we do it. But of course, we're positioning ourselves as IT experts so we also have a responsibility to protect the client from potentially malicious or malfunctioning software. Especially from a legal liability point of view when it's NetCare staff that are actually installing it! So we need to get that balance right.
With the above in mind, here's our policy for installation of freeware software:
- Installation of freeware software can proceed if that freeware software is defined in the approved software list for that specific client.
- If the freeware software is not on the approved software list for that client but it is on the NetCare list of approved freeware, then the request must be approved in writing by one of the authorised contacts for that client before the installation occurs. That software will also then be added to the approved software list for that client.
- If the freeware software is not on the approved software list for that client NOR is it on the NetCare list of approved freeware, then the request must be approved in writing by one of the authorised contacts for that client. NetCare will then undertake to install and test that freeware software in our "sandbox" to ensure its not malware and that it appears to be functional. The costs for performing this testing will be passed on to the client. The freeware will then be installed by the NetCare helpdesk analyst and will also then be added to the approved software list for that client and to the NetCare approved list of freeware software.
Feedback on our Freeware Software Policy
Please Contact Us if you'd like to clarify or inquire further about our Freeware Software Policy.