Frustrating Vendor Support

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In the Managed Services business, we rely on our vendor partners to deliver first class services to our clients.  When we select a partner, we become part of their partner program and in so doing, we are telling our clients and prospects who’s technology we feel is best in class and best for them.

One of the key criteria that many in our industry use to make these selections is access to quality vendor support.  At the end of the day, no matter how many certifications our engineers may hold, there may come a time when we need to rely on our vendors support organization, to solve a particularly difficult issue.

Yesterday, I had one of these rare, but important occurrences.  It was a fairly complicated matter that involved a deleted account that needed to be restored, along with all of the associated data with that account and moving it to a new location where it now needs to reside.

I spent two hours on the phone with the vendors support organization and ultimately, I determined the fix for the issue, which I verified worked as I expected this morning.  This was incredibly frustrating.  I had worked to resolve the issue before calling the vendor.  I engaged with some of the most experienced engineers we have, to brainstorm the best path to resolution.  Ultimately, we were not able to resolve the issue on our own, so I made the call.

I spent the first thirty minutes being verified as authorized to work with them as their partner.  While that was frustrating, ultimately I understand that they needed to properly confirm that I was who I said I was and that I was authorized to work with sensitive user information.  What was wildly frustrating and even infuriating is that ultimately, I knew more about the vendors own technologies than the support team I was working with.  Over the course of two hours, after being verified and working with multiple vendor techs who engaged multiple vendor experts to assist, I was able to determine the proper path to the needed solution.

Yelling at ComputerWhen you become a member of a vendors partner program, you are demonstrating a commitment to and endorsement of that vendor as the best in class solution to offer to your clients.  When you achieve levels of expertise and penetration with a vendors solution, you should rightly expect that when you call for partner support, you get connected to the highest level of support the vendor has to offer.  That is part of the vendors commitment to those companies that choose to partner with them.  It needs to be understood that you have already taken the logical steps to try to resolve the issue before calling for the vendors assistance.

It’s high time for vendors to acknowledge this.  If an organization is willing to be your partner, you need to be their partner in return.

A friend of mine posted the the image in this post to an email list I participate in yesterday.  Ironically, it turned out to be a pretty accurate representation of how I felt after two hours on the phone with partner support.

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