I feel the need to do a little response to the ASUG News article that was posted today about SAP Support. Let me first say that Tom Wailgum quoted me correctly. But I’m not sure this really paints the whole story.
Taken in context, at the time of the SAP acquisition of BusinessObjects, the changeover in support was major. It was a huge shift. New phone numbers, new process, new website, new everything. It was a major turnover for everyone who was used to the old way of doing things. Managing change is never easy, no matter who you are or where you work. At that time, I worked for a small software company in Wayne, PA, and our experience with the support turnover was dreadful. We also had to bear the weight of losing our dedicated Technical Account Manager, and going into the larger pool of support and getting a different technician to work with every time. It was a painful time for all of us. And while SAP imported over the old BusinessObjects Kanisa support system, we didn’t even have continuity of a functioning Knowledge Base for several months.
But that time is long in the past. SAP Support has been doing some pretty awesome things recently, that I’m not sure got enough credit in Tom’s piece. First, they have been opening several Customer Engagement Initiatives around fixing what customers don’t like about SAP Support. There are usability studies going on to get some real analytics about how customers are using the site, and what would make it better. Just last week I got to speak one-on-one with Kristen Scheffler about some topics to prioritize for the coming revamp of the SAP Support portal. As Tom quoted me in his piece, one of my biggest gripes is that I cannot put an error message from SAP BusinessObjects into the SAP Support portal search tool and get a positive hit on what the error message means, or how to remedy it. I typically have to go to Google to search for the answer. I told this to Kristen last week and now that is on the list. See my point? Someone from SAP Support listened to this concern, and now its on a list for future improvements. That is a huge difference. SAP is has a twitter handle now, staffed pretty much 24x7x365 to help you navigate SAP Support and get additional help if you need it. The handle is @SAPSupportCE. I used this myself recently at about 1am on a Sunday morning when I was having some trouble, and I got an answer. Kristen even had the guts to come and be a guest on the Diversified Semantic Layer with us and talk support. How’s that for customer outreach?
I’m not disputing the report quoted in Tom’s piece. I’m sure there is a way to measure how happy customers are with support from other software vendors and that SAP didn’t do as well. But there is no doubt in my mind that the folks at SAP Support mean to change that, and have been making great strides in that direction over the past few years.
Like I was quoted, Support is a tough job. You don’t call them to have a pleasant conversation. I often find myself being short or cross with the technicians while I try to navigate the system. But the system does work, and when the need is truly dire, they will come through for you. Said incident at 1am on a Sunday morning, SAP Support did a STELLAR job in helping me through a critical production outage in a timely fashion, and even followed up with me the next day to make sure everything was going smoothly. That, to me, is customer service.
You can’t please everyone all of the time, but I am overall a very satisfied customer of the SAP Support System, and look forward to working together in the coming years as customers, partners, and vendors to continue to improve the system.