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Vendor Support Suggestions

Beatles Support

iSquint help menu. I love this stuff.

I came across this picture a few days ago on Brent Ozar’s excellent blog and the original picture is found on flickr. I placed it here, rather than link it, because some of you have complained that flickr is blocked by your firewalls.

I deal with several tech support departments on any given day, and I have some suggestions to make that would greatly improve their services. I understand that everyone works hard, and that economic factors must be considered in tech support. However, I think support in general would be better if you followed these suggestions.

  • DO provide a good website that is easy to navigate and informative.
  • DO provide a well maintained knowledge base. I know it requires a lot of work to maintain, but it will lessen the number of support phone calls.
  • DO provide a good user forum with modern software. DON’T make me use a Yahoo or Google group, nor use forum software that looks like it was current ten years ago.
  • DO offer phone support. DON’T force me to log cases into your website and wait for a return call.
  • DO respond promptly with something other than an auto-reply message.
  • DO follow directions for messaging the customer. If I state clearly in the case, “Dial 0 and have me paged if I do not answer,” please do so.
  • DON’T spam me to close any open cases. If your system will not allow you to close them and will not auto close them, fix your system. I pay for support; I do not work for you.
  • DON’T spam me for support feedback. I can tolerate an e-mail soliciting feedback, but one of my vendors makes me feel like I am in an abusive, stalker-ish relationship.
  • DON’T guess or make stuff up. I am an advanced user with most of my products, and I can tell when you do so. This severely undermines credibility. I appreciate it when support is honest and will research my issue to find the best answer.
  • DO educate me. Teach me to fix things myself so that I’m not tethered to you when a similar issue occurs.
  • DO deviate from the script. If you know I’ve been using your software for over 10 years, and I actually tell you that I’ve performed preliminary troubleshooting steps, don’t make me go back through those steps.
  • DO offer tiered support with appropriate rates. If I want a full customization, I know I’ll pay a certain rate. If I have a simple question not covered by regular support, I would expect to pay a lesser rate. This would actually increase revenue for the vendor.
  • DON’T stop answering your phones during regular support hours. I realize that you must train your employees and have company meetings. DO so in shifts so there is someone always answering the phone. I don’t care if that’s inconvenient for your managers in that they have to explain things twice; they aren’t paying the bills.

As an aside, can anyone tell me why Web Ex re-assigns my default printer to the WebEx Document Loader every time I use it? It takes me at least one trip to my network printer to realize I’ve been duped again.

Web Ex

I just love having to re-assign my default printer every time. Epic fail.

Once again, let me say that these suggestions aren’t necessarily directed at any one vendor but are general suggestions for all vendors to improve their services.

What do you folks have to add?

4 comments to Vendor Support Suggestions

  • Scott

    I have used WebEx on many ocassions and never had an issue with my printer.

    One big complaint I have about tech support in general is being able to understand the agent.

    The other issue I have is that their automated system asks a series of questions and when you get to an actual person you have to answer some of the same questions again.

  • Jason Griffith

    Thanks for posting the pic as I know I’m one of those that complains about Flikr. 😉

    As for the WebEX issue, I have the exact same problem and have no idea how to get around it.

    If I were to add something, it would be to maintain a customer database where you can log specific customer issues. When I call on a weekly basis and find each time that I’m dealing with a new tech because the previous one got fired (true story: 4 calls, four techs, 3 fired), I don’t want to have to explain the whole problem and every attempted solution to you every time I call.

  • Jason Griffith

    Oh yeah, I have to support Scotts remarks there to, particularly on the last point. That’s something that bit me last week that didn’t come to mind until he mentioned it.

    I also don’t like going through 5 tiers of automated questions only to have you transfer me to a voice message service so that I can leave my contact information for you to get back to me at your leisure. When I leave a message that says “I have an emergency with payroll checks not printing,” then it’s really not ok to call me 6 days later and ask me what my problem was…

  • […] However, I would like to send a message to prospective vendors regarding some tactics, which simply do not work or are blatantly irritating and offensive. This post is somewhat similar to my suggestions for vendor support. […]

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