Why I like definite answers to support issues

March 14, 2008

One of the things that irritates me about commercial support is the difficulty of getting a definite answer from them if they do not have a canned solution to my issue. If they cannot give me great news, getting any news from them is often like pulling teeth (or slower), and even when they're willing to talk to me they tend to mumble a lot.

I want answers for a simple reason: it lets me resolve the situation one way or another. In this, I would rather have a definite no than a dragged on maybe; in the former case, at least I can make sure decisions and sensible plans. Without a definite answer, it is very hard to give up and let things drop; after all, the answer might be 'yes' tomorrow, if only I'd waited.

The result is that vendor mumbling turns into local paralysis, unless we are forced by outside events to establish a deadline (eg, 'must have something operational on date X'). We don't like the paralysis, but it is very hard to fight without that outside deadline, partly because we know that any deadline we pick for making a definite decision is pretty much arbitrary.

(No doubt this serves the vendor's purposes; after all, in a year the horse might sing.)

Comments on this page:

From at 2008-03-17 18:38:11:

I mentally translate a noncommital answer from a support team as 'Not possible, and we have no plans to fix'. I mention to them that their lack of positive response or concrete deadline for a repair has resulted in that necessary assumption. Then I move on to find another solution.

Very rarely, I get an escalation to some liar of a salesguy who will promise what they can't or won't deliver. But mostly the droids seem grateful to not have to violate their company's policy to tell me I'm SOL.

By cks at 2008-04-14 17:39:08:

My problem is generally giving up on the hope that it actually will work, if we actively want the thing that I'm reporting the bug against (and if I'm going to the work of reporting a bug, we probably do).

(This is especially the case when the thing in question is by far our best option for something. Then it really hurts to have to give up, and the thought that maybe the vendor will fix it right after we give up really gnaws at you.)

Written on 14 March 2008.
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Last modified: Fri Mar 14 23:33:36 2008
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