All professional software firms have a dedicated and obvious e-mail address for support along the lines of [email protected]. This is essential for people who need to contact you during or after business hours. In theory, this electronic address has a resident who has to examine his post at reasonably regular intervals. In practice, many otherwise successful software firms set up an e-mail address and then promptly never check it.

Note The one pitfall to having an e-mail address is that it opens you to bombardment from cranks. It doesn't happen very often, but you should think carefully about how and to whom you will give your e-mail address.

The main problem with e-mail is that each query needs an individual response. If you happen to be dealing with sensitive personal issues such as finances or health, e-mails are ideal, even essential. However, if most of the problems raised are generic, e-mail is usually inefficient, although you can cut and paste prepared replies if you get repeat questions.

If you install an e-mail channel, make sure your support replies really do give support. They need to be clear, comprehensive, and polite. The aim is to deal with each question completely in one reply, not incite a correspondence.

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