I’m really starting to loathe support calls to vendors.
I’m still scratching my head wondering who came up with the idea in the first place that it was a smart customer move to send technical support overseas, and have your customers try to explain complex technical issues over a bad phone connection to someone whose native language isn’t English, and who speaks English with a thick accent. I know how frustrating it is for non-anglophones to try and explain complex technical things to me, why did the industry suddenly decide it was a good idea to make this standard customer policy?
I can tell that a lot of these support agents (especially at Microsoft) are very technically skilled, but there’s the problem of accurately communicating the actual problem to them, which prolongs the process significantly (in the case of Microsoft, up to several hours!).
Support from SonicWall has taken a definite turn for the worse of late. After you get through the ticket dispatcher (who is usually based in the US) and have your ticket submitted (BTW, Sonicwall, how hard can it possibly be to get my e-mail address right? I spell it out for you every time and yet you still manage to make it undeliverable!), you end up with some second-line tech who still seems to be operating off a script. Any time you ask something remotely complex, it’s back into holdland while he goes and asks someone who actually knows what he’s doing (or she, especially at Microsoft, where the hardcore brains all seem to be women!)
As for VMWare, it’s always an adventure in global roulette. It’s a nice distraction from India, and their overseas support folks are usually extremely fluent in English.
I understand the need to offshore your support if you offer it for free, but when I (or my employer) pay big bucks for support contracts or on a per-incident basis, I expect something other than the lowest overseas bidder.
You are right on the money. I had the same problem with Watchguard tech support several months ago when we got our new Firebox X750e and ran some issues with configuring. Paid support should be in plain, easy-to-understand English. This isn’t a smear against India or any other race/nationality, but especially when it comes to networking – it’s usually complicated enough to talk about without having to translate!