Fog Creek Software
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Customers or Transactions

Joel (and others),

Does your company view their credit card sales as customer purchases, or one time transactions?

I ask because I feel one of the flaws with desktop credit card payment software (ICVerify, PC Charge) is that you are forced into their view of the world, which is transaction based instead of customer based.

I'm thinking about creating something myself, but want to know the feelings of those actually running companies.

Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Initially we just treated them as transactions; multiple transactions might happen to have the same customer but we didn't have any way to track this, the database wasn't normalized in terms of customers, repeat customers had to type in their full contact info for each additional purchase, etc.

We're about 80% done with a project to change this and get one step more normalized. This will have two big advantages right off the bat: repeat customers don't have to retype contact information, and we will be able to make support contracts coterminate, e.g. if you buy a product with one year support on Jan 1 and another copy of the same product with one year support on March 1, the support contract for both will expire on February 1st. It's actually more complicated than that but we couldn't even accomplish that until we normalized the database and created customer IDs, which was annoying to large companies that had bought FogBUGZ in many installments and were faced with 7 different support contract renewal dates every year.

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Wednesday, April 7, 2004

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