Musings on support

by Juliet Kemp

We automatically pay for next-business-day onsite support for all our machines. I have had cause recently to access this twice, with two different companies.

Company 1 (machine has what I suspect is a dodgy fan): will only send out an engineer after they have got you to run diagnostic tests of various sorts. Then they will know what to send the engineer along with. I kind of see where they're coming from, but tbh what I really want is for me to make the phone call*, and for an engineer to appear the next day with a boot full of Relevant Hardware, diagnose, and fix.

Company 2 (machine losing time, motherboard being replaced): phone not working, send email. Response to email pretty fast, we agree that the losing of time in itself isn't disastrous but may signify something more serious, so they'll replace the chassis. Radio silence for the next 2 days (apparently someone phoned on my day out of the office, but since I warned them that I would be out of the office, they should really have emailed). It transpires that in this instance, NBD means "we will ship the replacement parts & then send an engineer the NBD after they arrive". So that's minimum 2 BDs. Again, my expectation is that the engineer should bring the parts with them. (And the lack of information on this annoys me rather more.)

My assumption is that this is to do with centralised this-and-that: that engineers are based in Place A and parts in Place B (where Place B may in fact be out of the country, or even the continent in extreme cases). But it doesn't actually meet what I want from NBD, though I expect it meets the contract. Am I expecting too much?

(I feel I should note that once I actually get an engineer onsite, they are invariably extremely competent, fast, and hardworking. My complaint is not with any of them!)

* Ideally, for me to send an email, but I will settle for phone.


Selena Deckelmann
2007-11-30 09:24:31
With Company 1, I think that its fair for them to ask for a few tests - no use sending out an engineer if the problem can be solved over the phone.

Company 2 sounds like they have a customer service problem. Shipping parts doesn't surprise me, but they should be able to ship overnight with AM arrival.

The other thing that gets me is that when you buy NBD, the service company already KNOWS what hardware you have! It shouldn't be that hard to have spares in a geographically convenient location.

Generally speaking, I get NBD on core services - like RAID and backups. Otherwise, I have spares and do most troubleshooting myself. My company is fairly small - about ~$150k in computer hardware (at full replacement cost), and only ~25 end users to support.

Juliet Kemp
2007-12-03 07:09:42
Yes, agreed that with Company 1 I'm really just being lazy :-)

Company 2 is rather more irritating. I wouldn't even mind quite so much if they *told* me that that was what they were doing (because then I could chase our guys in Stores if I'm expecting something & make sure notification hasn't gone astray). Also, as you say: overnight shipping with 9am guarantee & then send an engineer to arrive at 10 or later would be fine.

I really don't like doing hardware troubleshooting so would rather have service available.

2007-12-05 10:15:17
Worked for a company in California, that really did what both company 1 and 2 does. They would have a tech work with the client over the phone, hopefully to fix the problem and not have to send the tech, but if that didn't work would ship the parts out fedex and have the techs pick them up from the fedex site closest to them. Problem was, some of the phone techs would deduce from thier testing the wrong part that needed fixing and the one's of us going to each client would then have to re-schedule and wait for the part that we found the error in. Reason they don't keep parts with techs is two-fold, one some techs use parts that they don't report and so then don't have when it is needed for another client, second...way too much money to stock each tech appropriately.
2007-12-12 00:07:47
Yes, but .. what happens if you b*gger something up when you're doing the hardware testing for them? Who's liable? Who pays??

I'd tell them it's (your) company policy not to mess with supportd hardware ..

Juliet Kemp
2007-12-17 04:50:24
JesusinOz - the testing they ask you to do is run stuff from the vendor-provided CD, so it shouldn't cause further problems (& if it does they'll take responsibility). So it's OK from that POV.