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Web Support Spotlight Days

What are Web Support Spotlight Days?

Anyone who administers Made2Manage is aware of Web Support Spotlight Days. These days always occur on Fridays and Made2Manage Support stops accepting incoming support calls, only accepting requests through its website. This idea is sold to customers as a means of showcasing M2M’s excellent web support options, and that support technicians are reviewing the cases submitted in the same timely manner. Until this past week, I chose not to comment about them. However, this past week Friday, when I called in to register another change request, I was greeted with the following:

Now I suppose I should rest easy because the ever vigilant “Expert Team” has been notified, but I’m almost positive they follow those as closely as M2M Admins follow Red Box Errors. In fact, when I previously spoke to one of the web expert team about a problem which prevented users from searching their support cases for specific key words, he said that they had no idea that there was a problem. That problem has plagued the system for nearly a decade. That’s a lot of “Expert Team” notifications to go unheeded.

Anyway, I called support and after hitting 0 more times than I could count, I got someone in support and they dispatched someone to fix the website.

What do they do on Web Support Spotlight Days?

The official answer is that they use these days for ongoing training and company meetings. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that the majority of these days are spent blowing off steam and enjoying peace and quiet. The volume of calls they must receive on regular support days has to be enormous. I’m sure they catch up on ongoing support issues and cleaning up paperwork as well.

So What?

Well, I guess the first point is that every customer I’ve ever spoken with dislikes this practice. My experience has shown that my WSSD cases are not resolved as quickly as phone cases and often wait until the next business day (typically Monday). This is frustrating for several reasons.

  1. The process of entering cases into the website takes the customer longer. I have to select through several non-intuitive menus before I actually enter the details of my problem. With telephone support, I simply hit speed dial #666 (actual number we use, I swear), my customer number, and a few key presses and I’m done. I will have to wait on hold while listening to the dulcet tones of “Come Fly With Me” by Frank Sinatra or “The Final Countdown” by Europe, but I can work through that. Conversely the amount of work performed by support is decreased for cases submitted via web.
  2. If the customer is being asked to do perform more of support’s work, they deserve a faster response time. This incentive may cause more customers to use the web method more often and actually reduce M2M’s work load.
  3. I’m sure that many of the M2M Support Techs would prefer I submit web cases so they can research (ask someone else) about my problem, without having me waiting on the phone as well. However, I won’t do so if there isn’t incentive for me, the customer.
  4. My support is not discounted on WSSD. While I appreciate the fact that M2M Support needs ongoing training, I would suggest that it is incumbent upon Consona to find a way to do so without shutting down the phones. Perhaps they should split into two groups to attend classes or they could watch recorded classes individually.

What do you think? Do you have issues with Web Support Spotlight Days?

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20 comments to Web Support Spotlight Days

  • scott

    I have not submitted a case online in a long time. As David says, thier response time seems to be much slower then by phone. When I have an issue on Spotlight Days I typically just wait until Monday to call in.

    I will say that online case submission does have one major advantage. Often when I call in important details are never entered into the case. By submitting on line I can be sure they are there and there is proof that I gave them the information.

  • I don’t remember the last time I submit cases online! getting tech support by phone resolve my issue right away in most cases, some of them takes days! the Friday issue with Web Support Spotlight Days, it is always come when you need support for the most urgent problem!!

  • Scott
    I also see the documentation traceability to be an issue so the web case entry has its positives.

    David
    Not to dilute the spotlight angle but how about the first response individual (be it web or phone) and their breath of expertise.

    Bottom line: Staff appropriately with seasoned individuals so you may stagger support employees meeting client expectations 8×5, 24×7, etc. for ALL support vehicles.

  • I always enter cases online, since I hate waiting on the phone. I can enter five cases by the time they pick up the phone. It allows them time to research things, and I can move on to something else while they look into it. Then if the junior person gives me a bogus answer, I respond and they usually escalate it. Seems to work out well.

  • Being a former Intuitive (Product under the care of Consona) employee I feel your pain. I left Intuitive before this was really implemented, but I have to laugh. When I have a problem I usually need it resolved in a quick manner. I don’t want to type out my problem, wait until it is processed in a queue, assigned to someone, sits in their queue, they review it, blah, blah, blah.

    I totally agree that it is their way to quiet the phones so they can work on issues. Can’t tell you for sure if this is a better way of handling support issues. It doesn’t seem very customer service orientated.

    I am sorry your call is not very important to us. Please hang up, go to our support site, and enter a bunch of info in a text box, and someone will get around to looking at it. Have a nice day!

    Have a wonderful Web Support Spotlight Day!

    -Cameron

  • Stephen

    You’ve already seen my rant on the LA M2M group about this. I loathe WSSD!

    Like many here, I do use the web based support for documentation reasons. I can attach screen caps, PDFs of reports, and list in detail the steps to reproduce a problem where I might not be sure if a human tech would write down exactly.

    But when you need a problem fixed ASAP, there’s just no substitute for a live person.

    WSSD is like getting rid of the paramedics for a day and telling people to go see their own doctors.

  • I too feel the pain and the dissatisfaction of the lack of support. I just posted a case regarding a job that was opened on June 11, 2009 and was closed on Mar 20, 2010, when the job was closed, the GL transactions dated back to the “closed calendar year of June 11 2009”. Support sent a message back stating I needed to change the date in the future and sent me a document that gave the posting dates for the transactions in M2M. Hello the system prompts the current date; we do not enter it and would never think to change it. This is a flaw in the program and happens periodically but M2M does not want to waste their time to figure out why the system does not always prompt the current date. I sent a message back to support stating they were giving me a silly answer and they needed to rethink this issue and get back to me with a better response.

    Are we getting what we pay for???

  • Mark, I agree with you, but would like to expand on your comment.

    “Staff appropriately with seasoned individuals so you may stagger support employees meeting client expectations 8×5, 24×7, etc. for ALL support vehicles.”

    This is the part I don’t get. If they were properly using WSSD’s then they would all be seasoned by now. M2M Support has not had a lot of new people join the team in the past couple of years. I know they’ve lost many due to lay offs, but I only know of 2 people hired in the past 2 years, one quite recently.

    If they are properly training, every other technician should be seasoned by now. As it sits now, I can only think of two or three people there I would trust any problem to.

    That concerns me.

  • Lisa

    My biggest pet peeve when entering a case on line is the responses (1) i can’t duplicate the problem, or (2) the system is working as designed.

    Must better to speak with a human when dealing with M2M problems!

  • Lisa, I kind of talked about this here: http://www.made2mentor.com/2008/12/data-utilities-convenience-or-crutch/

    In all fairness to Consona, some of these issues happen so infrequently that it’s not feasible to chase them down.

    I know I’ve tried chasing problems down in my own system, and if we cannot duplicate them it becomes nearly impossible to diagnose.

  • Lisa

    Let me preface by saying I have been told “We are unable to duplicate your problem here” by technical support many times so I truly feel your pain.

    That being said keep in mind troubleshooting can be quite difficult when you don’t have a real time model to work with. I’m neither defending or slamming M2M tech support just pointing out that I as a administrator need clues and the outcome of the anomaly being resolved sometimes just comes down to tenacity. We all expect this persistence and expertise to be on the part of M2M technical support but at times we need to get creative.

    Sometimes this means providing information we haven’t been asked for, or doing online searches of barely similar information, other times getting our hands on M2M email addresses up the food chain, phoning tech support daily, updating the web content hourly, and generally making our presence known.

    We should all get the support we deserve and pay for but there is something to be said about the phrase “The Squeaky Wheel…”

  • We have issues that we can duplicate. Sent data to M2M and then say they cannot duplicate the error. Then after a few more attempts and change in staff, I am asked to send my data again or they point fingers at our network. We have changed out everything on our network and still have the same problems with the software. 300000001 error when we create a purchase order on a job and then to into a new job and create a new purchase order. The system hangs and then the information entered is lost and you have to start over. Error 26 while in the item master and you click from the items tab to the user tab and then try to click back. I just wish they would help solve the problem and then give you a PATCH to fix the problem instead of making you wait years to receive the fix or they never fix it because too few users are complaining about the problem.

    Again my two cents….

  • Lisa

    Debbie,
    or give you a “workaround” until they address the problem in a later version.

  • Andrew

    I’m not going to comment on Support other than to say the hold music needs more variety.Some times I think that if I hear the Rocket Man one more time, I will rocket from my chair.

  • Once in a great while, the support tech actually asks to remote control my desktop to see what’s going on. I’m surprised they don’t do that more often when dealing with problems they can’t reproduce.

  • Stephen, that seems to be a rarity as of late. I haven’t had a tech do a Web Ex session in a long time. I am wondering if they drastically cut back on that to save costs.

    It sure can speed up the explanation of a problem when they can actually see it happening.

  • Debbie, have you tried Profile Tracing your reproducible problem? That may offer some insight as to why it’s happening.

  • Yes,M2M ran a Profile trace but they could not identify the problem and now have asked me to change our the network cable and if that does not solve the problem, they want me to install a new network card. Kelly does all of our purchasing and if she leaves a job open and creates a purchase order for a line on the job and then opens a new job without closing the previous job, and then creates a sub routing or adds a line of material, the system will hang and an error 3000001 will be recorded on the error log. We can duplicate this on any workstation, but M2M can not duplicate it with our data. I do not think M2M is following the same steps we did to create the error and the software does not alert the user that an error was recorded, it will just hang there and then when you close the job, and reopen it, the routing or material will be gone.

    We have been on the system for 10 years and upgraded from 3.56 to 5.6 about two years ago. or error log is huge and we have reported numerous problems with the item master and purchasing as well as problems with the software not functioning right.

    We have also installed the M2Mdebug on several workstations, but most of the time M2M just gives us a silly answer when we report errors.

  • scott

    I feel your pain. I had an issue with the ARINV screen that M2M could not reproduce. Eventually I had to make a 3 hour drive to thier headquarters to produce the error in front of them. After doing so they told me they had seen the error before.

  • Larry

    There may also be internal technical expertise issues going on here. I was recently in an M2M Users Group meeting and Consona reps stated that one of their original coders just up and left a year ago, and left little to no documentation on a wide array of issues. My point being they may be suffering from lost “tribal” knowledge, and just cannot investigate some of the more demanding issues in a timely fashion. Just a thought.

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