Here is a very simple customer incident I opened last week (don’t bother trying to understand what the issue is, the important is the kind of information provided => video to show exactly how to reproduce this issue + steps for reconstruction, login details, etc.):

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This was probably not my best issue description because this is the response I got 4 days later:

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OK: everybody should be given a second chance right? I thought my message was overlooked (as it often is), so I sent back the message to SAP with this answer:

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Ooops… Guess I was wrong, problem seems to be deeper:

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Well, what do I answer now?

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Good game! I passed the first step:

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Now the second step: explain that this bug has nothing to do with any customization we did in our system, and the call stack provided isn’t even close to where the problem lies…

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And here is what I can’t bear from sap support anymore: fallacious arguments to make me close this incident and fix the problem myself because it will be less time consuming:

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Fallacious arguments means I’ve got the right not to be 100% honest in my last answer, doesn’t it?

πŸ˜‰

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Imagine I had spent a whole day creating new test cases for the incident processor (because he doesn’t know what he’s talking about at all): that would have been for nothing! Because SAP support will always find a very good reason not to process your incident:

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But I’m not the kind of guy that gives up so easily… and now I know I should add a link to my SCN profile in my signature (thanks Jürgen L), so let’s give it a try and help the processor in the right direction:

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Well played! I’m now at level 2 πŸ™‚

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Very good news received a couple of days later:

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Youhouuuuu! An oss note is on its way:

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First version of the note doesn’t solve the reported issue, but at least I wasn’t answered the usual “system works as designed”… so it’s ok: I know it’s a matter of time until this bug is fixed, and that’s great: if that was not so difficult to reach development support, I’d probably be a happy customer.

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A few more messages…

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Still doesn’t work but we’ve never been so close to happy ending:

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Last answer sounds VERY good:

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… et voilà πŸ™‚

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If you’re wondering what I filled-in in the “Positive call closure survey“, the answer is: nothing. In fact I think this blog post may have been found by the incident processor (because as the dates suggest I wrote it while the incident was being processed, like some kind of “real TV”) so he decided not to give me the possibility to fill-in this survey. He was probably afraid to be given a bad score (which wouldn’t have been so bad honestly, because I like to give good feedback when the reported problem is solved).

Anyway, I know the road is long, and I’ve been walking this path everyday since 2003…

Take care,

Nick

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28 Comments

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  1. JΓΌrgen L

    you missed to add a link to your SCN profile with the hint that you are a Platinum contributor, this can be the key to get around the gate keepers

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    1. Nicolas Busson Post author

      Good point: that’s not something I do… but I believe if someone that is supposed to answer customer inquiries doesn’t read my messages, a link to my scn profile on SCN won’t help either. Nevertheless, I have a few more incidents to create tomorrow: I’ll try as you say.

      Cheers!

      Nick.

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      1. LuΓ­s PΓ©rez Grau

        I did (because I saw Jürgen’s suggestion in a older discussion) and I didn’t have luck, maybe Gold or Platinium isn’t good enough πŸ˜›   But anyway I believe is a good practice and I keep doing it.

        Sadly happens with lots of companies not only SAP, CRM culture depends too much on the professional whom are you speaking and if you are lucky an this professional has already a “service orentation” maybe you problem won’t be solved (due companies policiys or other sutff) but at least you won’t get piss off, It this situation doesn’t remind you when you have an issue with your telecomunication opeartor?

        Robot: Please write or say you number.

        Robot: Thanks, youn number is….

        Robot: Please, write your national identification number

        Agent: Hello, what’s your name?

        Agent: What’s your phone number?

        Agent: What’s your national identification number?

        Agent: Sorry I can’t help you, let me transfer the call to the next support level.

        Agent_2: Hello, what’s your name?

        Agent_2: What’s your phone number?

        Agent_2: What’s your national identification number?

        …..

        ehmmm…Nick, Can you please clarify what we where talking about? 😈

        Cheers!

        Luis

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  2. Matt Fraser

    Just to come a tiny bit in the poor support processor’s defense, we’ve learned that they don’t actually see “steps to reproduce” and certain other sections of the ticket unless they drill into things that have completely different names, so it isn’t always obvious to the processor that those details are in the ticket. See Support Message Form: What does it look like from SAP’s perspective? and My turn to rant about SAP Support’s reading [dis]abilities for some lively discussion on this topic.

    The rest of the response you got, however… well, that’s a different issue.

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    1. Nicolas Busson Post author

      Hi Matt,

      According to me the fact that incident processors “don’t actually see [part of the message]” is not an excuse. My company is SAP Gold Partner & SAP certified center of expertise: that means we pay for the highest level of support you can imagine (which represents 10s of millions per year). But that’s not all: each time I open an incident (approx. 150 last year), we are billed 250 EUR per incident… and when we receive the bill, we need to prove those incidents were legitimate by showing the oss note provided, etc. to get a refund.

      So really, if I didn’t have to struggle on each and every incident I’m creating, I wouldn’t be so disappointed… but that’s a fact: SAP support doesn’t deliver what they promise, and as time goes by, I’m probably less indulgent.

      Cheers,

      Nick.

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      1. Matt Fraser

        Hi Nick,

        It’s not meant as an excuse, merely a partial explanation of why so often the processors end up asking you for details that you’ve already provided in the original Incident. It’s obviously not the best ticketing system when such information is essentially “hidden” from the support processor.

        I would say you aren’t getting what you’re paying for. We certainly do not pay per Incident — we have the regular “Enterprise Support” contract that probably most customers have, and I’m going to guess that we likely get almost the same level of actual support that you do, from your description. There are cases where the support we receive is excellent and fast, and there are cases where it’s… less so. Sometimes much less so. As it’s often a multi-day scenario to resolution, I do tend to do everything I can, on my own or via SCN, before submitting an Incident, and my suspicion is this is exactly what AGS wants — for you to use SCN instead, because that doesn’t cost them as much to operate when customers and volunteers provide the support. Though that model seems to be changing, as many AGS employees are now actively providing support in SCN spaces, even to the point of crowding out the ‘volunteer’ customers/consultants in some cases.

        Keep agitating! You’re paying a lot of money; you are right to be upset and to voice your dissatisfaction. My only point was to bring discussions to your attention where similar dissatisfactions have been raised, and where certain exemplary SAP employees have joined in the discussion and been very helpful, both in shining a light on why some things happen the way they do (whether good or bad), and also in raising visibility on real concerns and helping customers to gain some traction with their issues.

        Cheers,

        Matt

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  3. D J

    πŸ˜† πŸ˜† ,most of the time their first response is just to buy time and reduce the ticket level—  if they don’t know they should accept it and pass it on to the other/knowledgeable desk….

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  4. Jelena Perfiljeva

    Sigh… I don’t know how many blogs we need to write to make a slightest dent in this ping-pong mentality. To be fair, there have been few cases where we received great support – the first response provided a solution and the person clearly knew what they were doing. Interestingly, this was actually for very old interface technology that is barely on life support. Maybe that’s why the ticket avoided the first level support swamp and flew right to the few people in Waldorf who still remembered it?

    Otherwise it’s just like the ticket I got an update on today:

    Issue described, all samples are provided.

    SAP: “Please open connection”

    Connection opened, never used, response few weeks later.

    “Apply note X”.

    Applied, no difference. Some week later.

    “Apply note Y”

    Note Y not released

    “Oopsie, try again”

    Applied, no difference (the symptoms don’t even match ours, so no surprise really).

    “Please open connection”

    … aaaand “the wheels on the bus go round and round”, la-la-la…

    P.S. Hey, how did you do ‘semi-automated’ connection opening? I want that too, at least takes some load off.

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  5. Christoph Ostrop

    πŸ˜†

    i think, many sap customers have had similar experiences, 😎

    😯   I’m just amazed, that this applies also goldpaying customers.


    by the way, sometimes you get significantly faster competent help here in SCN community


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  6. Jordan Hodgson

    Hi Nicolas,

    Your candor is refreshing and, frankly, imperative to SAP improving your support experience. If you are interested, I’d be happy to arrange a meeting to gather additional feedback – as you’ve partnered with SAP since 2003, your expertise would be both valued and helpful in driving future improvements!

    Best,

    Jordan

    Customer Experience Team
    SAP Global Service & Support

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    1. Nicolas Busson Post author

      Hi Jordan,

      Thanks a lot for your comment: really appreciate your offer. Of course count me in if you want to discuss this further off the record. And I would like to take the opportunity to recommend the best blog post ever on this subject, by Jelena Perfiljeva:

      Are you there, SAP? It’s me, Jelena

      It’s just that sometimes I feel like we need to write the same kind of post every month to be heard.

      Best regards,

      Nick

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  7. Joao Sousa

    “Running Simple” should include providing adequate support, but as SAP focuses on buzzwords, customers are left wondering why they are paying for maintenance and move on to cheaper software.

    I would like to have seen one mention at SAPPHIRE of SAP’s commitment to do better support. How can you innovate when you are too scared to install an SP?….

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  8. Colleen Hebbert

    can’t believe I just saw this thread now

    I’ve taken to adding my SCN profile in there now but I also post my discussion to SCN first and link the discussion. If anything, it’s whether SAP Support can fix it before someone on SCN can point me in the right direction. It’s also easier to contain all the information and screen shots (as well as have reference for future work).

    I added SCN links/profile in a year or so back when I had the SAP person explain to me what an authorisation object was and why SAP_ALL would fix it. It was a code issue with incorrect fields being passed so SAP_ALL wouldn’t even work. After I posted my SCN it was escalated to a developer and fixed that day (warm fuzzy feeling of seeing a note deployed as I raised the issue) – but that was 3-4 weeks of it being in the queue.

    My main frustration is even with all of the analysis and evidence of a problem you get told to go to the latest patch level without any explanation as to why that patch level will resolve the issue. How many SAP support consultants out there are aware of how difficult it is to turn around to to your Solution Architect and say can you throw this patch on a month out from go live (or any time) where you’re in a change freeze or would need to regression test the solution.

    When I see ‘go to latest patch level’ it reads more like ‘yeah we go nothing but fingers crossed this might help you. if not then we have you on our patch level to investigate’. No guarantee it will be resolved.

    Cues for SAP Support pushing back on customer and buying time

    1. Please provide steps to replicate (when already provided)
    2. Provide System Patch Levels (usually provided but also wonder why they can’t look this information)
    3. Open connection and provide user (when already provider or issues is proven to be standard SAP and not specific to customer configuration)
    4. Apply Note XYZ or Patch XYZ without any comment why and the note has no resemblance to the issue you raised (refer rant above)
    5. Reassign the incident to another team and then have to wait x days for it to be acknowledged.

    Any of these comments automatically get me frustrated and beg to be escalated to Level 2 or the developer.

    /rant

    In fairness to the support team, I can only imagine the types of incidents that are raised and sent to them that really are lack of knowledge, consulting and custom functionality. I can see the push back on this but it’s still frustrating when you do provide the information and get such a reply.

    Must admit, when my calls get heated I asked an SAP consultant to login and check their end of the customer message to see if any private comments are made about me (yeah I’ll accept paranoia on that one)

    Regards

    Colleen

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva

      Few months ago I was trying to find out what EHP/SPS level is needed at minimum to get Personas (simple question but this information is not freely available for some reason). So I ended up starting a chat with an SAP representative (I assume) and after many questions we arrived at this suggestion (exact quote):

      You should be able to use SAP Personas from EHP5 but since EHP7 is the latest you can update to this one to make sure your entire system is up-to-date.

      Yeah, we’ll also update GUI while at it, what could possibly go wrong?

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      1. Colleen Hebbert

        Jelena

        Exactly!

        When someone recommends you just two EHP5s in such a situation you question how much practical experience they have in support an SAP solution and appreciate technical and organisational change management as well as project implementation costs.

        I’m a huge proponent of support roles and think everyone who is on project roles should do support at some point in their careers and revisit it regularly). But when someone is on support and doesn’t realise their recommendations are major pieces or work with no promise of desired outcome then they don’t belong their either (or need adequate training)

        Regards

        Colleen

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      2. Yves KERVADEC

        Hi Jelena,

        Personas is a good example on how Simplicity is still a faraway target…

        There are already 3 versions available, with different requirements, only version 3 does requires NW 740, that is available on ECC with Ehp7… but that information is not that easy to find.

        As often SAP builds it complex and hides the information both internally and externally.

        Having up to date and easy to find documentation would save time for both support and customers.

        Hopefully SCN is there SAP Screen Personas: Myth vs. Truth – Part 10: installation

        Best regards

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    2. Ekaterina Bondarenko

      Cues for SAP Support pushing back on customer and buying time

      I like also

      4a. Upgrade everything to the latest patch (and receive two unknown even to SAP problems, in the worst case in addition to one known πŸ™‚ )

      6. Work with SAP_ALL (sometimes it can solve the issue, but nobody plans to grant SAP_ALL to every user)

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  9. Jelena Perfiljeva

    I thought about this blog again today after receiving an email from a project manager working on “slicing and dicing” one of our systems using SAP SLT tool. They opened an incident regarding an SLT issue and it requires a connection to be opened for SAP to take a looksee. And that team is all ready to go and help us. But – dig this – some other team (also at SAP) needs to update some kind of router setting and those guys are apparently waaaay too busy to do that. So even though we pointed out that this is needed for another incident, one group of SAP people is in no rush to help another group of their own SAP people.

    If someone thinks I’m imagining or exaggerating anything feel free to reach to me for the specific ticket numbers.

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  10. Helder Duarte Da Costa

    You have a lot of patience indeed. πŸ™‚

    I had a similar issue last year, where I even put the solution in the message so that they can implement it quickly. Still took like 3/4 weeks to get my note.

    By that time I had already done an overwrite method to solve it myself…

    Cheers,

    Helder

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  11. Ekaterina Bondarenko

    My longest experience was more than one year. Users had a quite nice workaround but I didn’t want to leave the topic closed and not solved, for the future and for everybody, so I even had a chance to test a pre-release. πŸ™‚

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