In June 2015 we announced a suite of new support services for partners to offer customers, called Milestone Care. It’s available in options that address the varying needs in the market. All our resellers have access to Tech Support during local business hours, and after hours if Care Premium has been purchased. Our U.S. call system ensures that no one has to wait on the line: they can leave their number which holds their place in the queue for the next available person.
What about after hours?
In the middle of this year the grace period ended for our previous Enhanced Support Incident Packs with tickets, which used to let partners with an issue call up and buy support on the spot. For end users to receive support from Milestone now, they must have Care Premium. If the end user does not have this, they can call their reseller or integrator, who has certified Milestone technicians and is obliged to provide Level 1 support.
As Milestone has grown with time, we now have experts around the world rather than just at our headquarters in Denmark. We have changed the way we provide support to get more consistency in all regions and for greater efficiency. This benefits those customers who need round-the-clock availability of highly qualified experts. – Lucas Rose, Dir. of Global Support, Milestone Systems
We have support centres around the world, including teams in Australia, India, Singapore, Dubai, Bulgaria, Denmark, Mexico, and the U.S., with both frontline and backline presence in all regions. We leverage that presence to provide ‘follow-the-sun’ 24/7 support. Time zones make no difference to service levels with this global presence; our phones are manned round the clock. If there is an urgent and critical incident, it will be handled with priority for anyone who has bought Care Premium.
How does it work?
We have a tiered-support model and organize our tech support resources into Frontline, Backline and Sustaining Engineering teams. The Frontline support team can handle a wide range of Level 1 and Level 2 cases, which make up the vast majority of our total support volume.
In line with continuing business growth, we received more than 20,000 help requests in the first half of 2016 alone. Many of the issues can be traced to other elements of the installation than our software, but if an issue is determined to be in our licensed software it gets handed over to Backline, which is a more specialized team.
Level 1 cases are those that can be solved with a knowledge-base article available online, or a manual or guide. Second level issues are where we begin to do some investigation and troubleshooting: we work with the partner or customer to identify if this is an issue in our application or in the environment – a network issue, operating issue or server-side issue that’s contributing to the problem. For Level 3 cases we do test setups to ascertain whether it’s a software issue or not. If it’s determined to be something with the software, the case is sent to our Sustaining Engineering team who create a ‘hotfix’ and also ensure the change is included in future releases. So far this year less than 0.1% of help requests have resulted in a hotfix.
What’s the best way to communicate?
If choosing to communicate with us by phone, knowing your Partner ID speeds things up and gets the appropriate support as quickly as possible. If it’s not readily available, we can help find it. If calling about an ongoing case, it’s helpful to tell us the case number, for the same reason. Support can also be requested via our support portal, and if there’s a license question we can chat online.
It sometimes happens that we don’t hear back when we’ve asked for information during case resolution. If so, we will notify with reminders a number of times, and if there’s still no feedback after two weeks the case will auto-close, on the assumption that the problem was resolved. If the problem wasn’t resolved and we are contacted about it again later, a new case will be opened and we’ll take things up where we left off.
How does Milestone measure the quality of support and ensure good service?
We measure our performance and track it to hold ourselves to a high standard. One of our key metrics is the average speed of answer (ASA) – how long someone waits when they call up for support. Our global ASA is 6 minutes 15 seconds. We’re continuing to invest in people and systems to improve ASA, and have alerts set up so management is made aware of anyone queuing for a long time.
Another key metric is Net Satisfaction (NSAT) – we offer everyone the option to provide feedback on each case after it’s closed. We then measure the feedback against the industry benchmark called Net Satisfaction. The team follows up directly on all dissatisfied feedback and looks for areas where we can improve, and we work hard to make those improvements.
by Lucas Rose, Director of Global Support and Sustaining Engineering, Milestone Systems