Paid IT support and revenge
I've recently had some very bad experiences with paid technical support and I'm wondering if anyone else shares my dismay.
I'm responsible for about 40 servers which support services for approximately 15,000 people so you might imagine that good 24x7 technical support is fairly important to me. The last several months of dealings with two companies in particular have my blood pressure way higher than it need be.
On several occasions I have had to repeatedly call or email companies multiple times just to get a call back. Many times the stipulated minimum response time was long past by the time I was able to get help. On several other occasions, one company in particular told me that the support agreement ID I had provided did not exist and that we would have to pay for support when the contract had months left on it. On at least two occasions the solution has taken from 6 months to a year to arrive at. On other occasions, the tech I was dealing with left for day without passing the trouble ticket on to another tech, so I'm up at 1:00am explaining the entire problem yet again to a new person.
Today I was passed like a hot potato through three people till I found a fourth person that actually knew what I was talking about. I had to have the tech repeat about 40% of everything he said and I had to phonetically spell part of my side of the conversation. Another problem I was dealing with today, took most of the day but when I finally hooked up with a back-line person in Atlanta it took about 10 minutes to prove my theory and the hardware is on the way.
These are no longer anomalies, this is the norm for me over the last year and it's getting progressively worse. Admittedly, when I call tech support it's usually a whopper, but it should not take days to get to the back line people for what we're paying for support.
I've been fighting back though. About 78% of the servers in my charge have gone from proprietary hardware and software to commodity rack-mount Linux boxes. This will be 87% in the next couple weeks and in a few months, I will have only Linux servers. We are saving thousands on hardware, software, and maintenance costs, and problems requiring support have decreased dramatically. We're also using virtualization to further reduce server count and utilization.
One of the field engineers for the worst offender put it best, "I don't know how much longer we can afford to annoy our customers and remain in business".