Non-existent Technical Support: One-Man Show as a Business

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Non-existent Technical Support: One-Man Show as a Business

Here I have another post from the category of irresolvable problems. Not that this story could not be solved. It was solved by the next day. But I have not introduced another category for this type of “blubber”.

In fact, I’m already getting tired of these eternal solutions to complicated issues. I’ve already written about how we have solved a problem with Microsoft and Vodafone support. A colleague solved a case with Dell’s technical support a couple of weeks ago (I’m going to write about this – a great read as well). Other colleagues are solving problems with FortiNet support (playing a game: for each hour of their work they require materials that will take us 4 hours of work to complete). And I have been resolving this story, once again, with technical support.

What got broken

We have a virtual telephone exchange at our customer’s (Asterisk over Linux). The control panel is hosted at one provider who does the job for good money and understands the problem. All this has already been working for a few years, without any problems … until recently. One morning, the control panel went silent. The colleagues started to deal with it. They went through what they could but did not succeed. Nobody has changed anything, but the control panel (Asterisk program) refused to start. They went through the provider’s site, but there was no information that there would be any problem or change on their part. They then backed up the entire virtual and recovered from the older backup. When we were not able to run the control panel from the older backup, it was clear to our colleagues that the problem could not be on our side.

We have found the offender

Colleagues began to search for the provider´s support phone number. Unfortunately, they found that no such number exists. The support forum, that once existed, no longer did. The only support is through an email address. Unfortunately, no one has responded to the email that day. Therefore, the customer had to run without the control panel all day. We have finally made the most important figures available to him in the afternoon from the operator.

The customer’s tech support did not respond until the next day. They have admitted that the problem is on their side. That they are under some maintenance and the virtual control panel has been migrated to another HW. The HW was significantly older, and the CPU did not include an expanding set of instructions that Asterisk required. They have defended by having custom Asterisk, and that no one else has had the problem. They have not responded to my objection that they have installed the virtual control panel. No blaming, excuses, suggestions for compensation.

Who will pay for that

The customer was devastated by the fact that his phones did not work and his employees could not work. At the same time, somebody has to pay for our work when we have tried to fix the control panel and we had to make temporary adjustments to make some phones operational.

The problem did not have to be so serious. If there would be regular support, we would connect with them right at the start, and the problem would be identified in the first hour. This was a waste of time and a lot of work on our part to solve the situation (ie total damage).

And the question is, who will pay for the incurred damage? This should be the provider that has caused the outage. He does not feel like it – I really think he’s not aware of what he did. So in the end, it turns out that most of it is paid by the customer and partly by us (as in other unsolvable cases). The provider is, of course, over and the service will be canceled and we will certainly not recommend it to anybody.

Lessons learned

The provider (whom I do not identify because I appreciate him as a person – he is a great technician, but a bad entrepreneur) is a company (Llc.), but in reality, there is only one person behind it. There are A to Z services on the company’s website. It is clear that when one person is working for the company, they can not be at the customer´s and solve technical support at the same time.

I do not understand why people/companies often tend to make themselves X times bigger. In the end, the truth will prove itself. Small businesses/traders have some advantages compared to big companies and should build on them. Although to be objective, I was also looking for the right path/service in the early days of business.

Next time we are to select a provider/partner, we need to look at how the technical support is provided. Not having someone to call and do not know when and how someone will solve your problem is unpleasant. Especially when you push the customer on the other side.

Conclusion

In solving this problem, I have realized how important technical support is. I thought it was the worst at multinationals. Now I know it’s not the size of the company, but it’s the people. 🙂

When we have conducted a satisfaction survey among our customers, they most often mentioned the quality of our technical support (expertise and speed). It occurred to me that I could write about it. So the next article will be about our technical support. I’m already curious about your reactions and opinions. To get a notification, once the article is published, please leave me an email below.

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