Ah, customer support. You know the drill. You think, “Hey. I need to get some help. Who do I call? What is the process? Also, what is my support level? Am I in the blue support level or gold or purple? If I am blue can I call or is this chat only. Do I even have an account? Maybe it’s limited to who in our company can get support. Perhaps there is some board where I can try and find the answer myself and waste hours of my time getting help. HELP!”
If you are looking for DCIM, the support a vendor provides is a major consideration. As we make DCIM software (netTerrain DCIM), we’ve heard our fair share of horror stories from customers who bought DCIM but ended up buying a caseload of headaches with no actual vendor support to solve them.
Sure, you want to buy a DCIM solution that’s not going to send you running to support all that often, that’s important — but, let’s face it: DCIM is enterprise-grade software. Good DCIM should be doing some significant heavy-lifting for your organization — and, inevitably, you’re going to need to use a DCIM vendor’s customer support team. You do not, and I can’t underscore this enough, want to end up in a situation where you need good support and you can’t get ahold of someone, the person you do get ahold of doesn’t know what they’re doing, you have to wait hours for the person to email a question that you answer and then have to wait many more hours just to get asked another question, or you ask for help just to get told they don’t offer that kind of help. Fun times.
Support should be easy, not a guessing game. It should be a phone number or a site where you open a ticket and get a response in a timely manner. I do not like vendors where support is ticket or email and I get some automated response estimating when I may get a solution. How about a phone option or chat to get a live person? Why is that so hard?
“I rebooted it, installed it, reformatted it and did every other silly thing you are going to ask me. Please no script step by step guide: that’s like paint by numbers for support. Just help me out!”
Beyond just being able to reach an actual human being, I also want to get someone who has actually used the software I am opening a ticket about. — someone who is not 1st level support but who is the top-level support before I may need to have an engineer or some non-standard tech expert needs to get involved. In other words: it’s good to speak with someone whose first instinct is to not ask “did you reboot it”. Afterall, when you need DCIM software support, you need business support — not consumer support.
Speaking of experts…I like to get on the phone and talk to someone. Chat boxes going back and forth or emails are frustrating. How about we keep it simple and just set up a call and get through the issue? Often these things take a few minutes to resolve. But when it’s tickets/emails back and forth it can last for days. How about we schedule something and get through the question or issue.
Are you there 24 hours a day for us to get help? Yes and no perhaps. That’s not terribly important to me if I can get a ticket started somewhere like a portal and can get a response in a timely manner. Get me on the calendar to talk to someone and take care of the issue — not guessing when a solution will come my way.
The other item to consider is specialty services that you may get with support/maintenance that you are paying for. When it comes to DCIM, for example, find out if you can request items like a new device type (example: “the latest Cisco device is not in my system..what do I do”)? Can the vendor get it created within 24 hours or will you have to wait a week or more (or better yet can you just do it yourself). How about special reports or other items that may be needed? Sometimes I just want something created and I don’t want to have to do it myself. We often hear from users who might need a table report that doesn’t exist. How to create it or asking to get it created for them?
Bottomline? Before you buy a DCIM solution, before you even zero in on a finalist, think about what you need out of support – or would like out of support. Ask vendors what they offer — how it works, who you’ll be speaking with, how long you may have to wait, and what the scope is.