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sedell

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NEW WAYS FOR TECH SUPPORT

Are you kidding? On top of maintenance, we're going to be expected to pay per incident for support? The majority of support calls I've had were due to bugs and shortcomings with the system, and you're going to charge now for support for that?

On top of that, pushing support off on resellers is a joke. The majority of the software that we've dealt with that requires going through the reseller for support has terrible support. It takes 3x as long to get things resolved. Everything requires contacting the reseller, waiting for the reseller to contact support and get a response, then relay the response back to us. Things get lost in translation, then after waiting days for a response, the suggestion is to try the same thing you already tried that the reseller suggested.

The only thing worse than dealing with a bad support department is having to go through a reseller to get support, and you're adopting that method. Either that or pay for what should be included with the maintenance. Way to go. Another way to make the customers feel even more like you don't care about them.

Scott
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tek_san

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I am expecting a substantial reduction on the annual maintenance costs.
That would even out the future per incident costs.
Any other procedure would lead to rethink the future use of kerio connect.
regards
Oliver

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tonyswu

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tek_san wrote on Wed, 11 April 2012 10:04
I am expecting a substantial reduction on the annual maintenance costs.
That would even out the future per incident costs.
Any other procedure would lead to rethink the future use of kerio connect.
regards
Oliver


I agree. Since maintenance won't be included in the annual maintenance fee anymore, I would expected you guys to cut the cost down accordingly and perhaps change the name (to annual licensing retention fee or whatever) .
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trifecta

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These changes can be exacerbated Kerio competitiveness into the future.

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pcunix

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They aren't going to charge you for bugs.

What they want to do is encourage the resellers to provide the kind of user level support that IS covered in manuals and other on-line resources.

Resellers SHOULD be doing that.

Tony Lawrence
Kerio Preferred Partner and Reseller
Certified for Connect, Control
http://aplawrence.com
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sedell

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When I think support, I don't think of someone to hold my hand and explain what's in the manual. I check the manual, the KB, and search the forums and online before submitting a support ticket. Support is the last resort to get an issue solved. If someone can't RTFM and wastes support time, charge them, not the rest of us.

Scott
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pcunix

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sedell wrote on Wed, 11 April 2012 15:56
When I think support, I don't think of someone to hold my hand and explain what's in the manual. I check the manual, the KB, and search the forums and online before submitting a support ticket. Support is the last resort to get an issue solved. If someone can't RTFM and wastes support time, charge them, not the rest of us.


That's exactly the intent that was explained to me. You won't be charged for bugs/product flaws.

I think the problem is that some resellers aren't doing a good job with training. This will force them into doing a better job or drive business to those of us who ARE willing to support customers.

I don't see this as a bad thing, but I knew that customers would react badly to it if it was presented badly and unfortunately that's just what happened.

Tony Lawrence
Kerio Preferred Partner and Reseller
Certified for Connect, Control
http://aplawrence.com
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NorthernAlberta

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I agree, this is an extremely poor idea. I currently use Kerio Connect, Workspace, and am evaluating Operator. These are business critical applications. It would be much appreciated if Kerio would treat them as such.

As far as I'm concerned it does not matter if bugs/flaws are free. I've dealt with more than one company where -- according to them -- everything is the user's fault.

I've generally had good experiences with Kerio support, but this is just nickel and diming us.

I contacted Kerio sales to complain and I suggest you do the same. My sales rep said he'd get back to me. Posting on a forum like this may make us feel better, but the only way to make them change this is to contact them directly.

I'm sorry, Kerio. I like your products, but this is a poor move. Mission critical services like email, collaboration, network security, and phone needs proper support.
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Josef Zacharias (Kerio)

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The decision to make our support a paid service was made for one primary reason - quality. We have over 60,000 customers worldwide, only a third of whom ever use our technical support. Yet, we receive around 40,000 support enquiries a year. The vast majority of these queries are configuration related and 65% of all our tickets are resolved within 8 hours of opening. This, translated, basically says that most of our support queries are simple questions that could be resolved by referring to the product documentation, online resources or simply consulting one of our partners.

Kerio's support operation has undergone many structural changes in the past two years to increase its effectiveness and to maximize the consistency of the service. This allowed us to combine all our English speaking staff into a single queue to maximize the team's utilization and eventually introduce the 24/5 service at no extra cost.

However, with 15 people on Kerio's global support team and with the increasing amount of enquiries, the quality of the service inevitably started to suffer. One way to counteract this would be continually adding new staff, but this would have to be reflected in the overall product price and then even people who never use the service would end up paying for this. The other, and to us the more logical solution, was to charge a nominal amount for the service and thus lower the number of simple queries.

Freeing our hands a little bit will allow us provide a higher quality service quicker, as our phone queues will be less busy and our engineers will be able to dedicate more time and attention to people who really need it - our customers with more serious issues and our partners, who will get better training to help them assist their own clients.

Paid technical support is not a means for Kerio to add additional revenue to the bottom line - believe me or not. The revenue generated from paid support is going to end up back in the service. To prove my words, I will simply say that full 24/7 support is on our plans in the next 12 months.

Quality service can only exist when it is perceived to have some value. Our technical support was a free service up until now, with the only condition that the customer wishing to use it kept their Software Maintenance up to date. We will continue to offer some level of free support but we need to put up a value next to the service offering to maintain its high quality.

We will soon post more information regarding this change on our website, including an FAQ, so please be patient with your quick judgments. Kerio is not a company making a living on trying to mess with our customers and channel. I believe we can live up to our reputation and do things right.

I will be happy to receive your feedback, so please feel free to PM me.

Josef

Josef Zacharias
VP, Technical Operations
Kerio Technologies
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Josef Zacharias (Kerio)

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And to just confirm what has already been said here - we are not going to charge for incidents that turn out to be bugs in our products.

Josef

Josef Zacharias
VP, Technical Operations
Kerio Technologies
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sedell

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If you're getting too many RTFM calls, what you need is to screen the calls, and keep all of the RTFM calls away from the support techs. Other companies do it, including some that I feel give the best support of all the companies we deal with.

Also, if you're getting too many RTFM calls, it's probably time to evaluate the documentation. I know I've had several occasions where the documentation was lacking or incorrect, or change logs failed to mention changes in behavior or functionality that generated support calls.

Another major flaw with the change logs is not listing bug numbers. You give customers bug numbers when you identify a bug, but never mention them in the change logs. "Fixed stability issue..." or "Fixed rare crash..." - was that my stability issue, or an unrelated one? I need to contact support to find out. Tell people the bug number that was fixed, and there's no question.

Not telling customers about existing issues is another issue with your support that we don't run into with most other companies. I can't tell you how many times I've had to contact support over an issue, only to be told it's a known issue and here's the bug number. Well, now you just wasted a lot of my time trying to diagnose and correct the issue, and you wasted your own people's time handling a support call for a known issue.

There are a lot of things that can be done to reduce the support load. Many of them are little things. You want to discuss it now, but these are all things that customers have asked for and brought up in the past and were ignored. Some of them are still listed in your suggestion/voting forum. So now, because nobody there listened, we've got the threat of a charge looming over our head every time we call. Charging for support is a lame way to correct an issue that is, at least in some ways, self inflicted.

Scott
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pcunix

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I'm going to agree with some of what Sedell said, but with some reservations.

RTFM calls belong to the reseller. As a reseller, I'd like to be both notified and included on all support incidents. Often I could respond to my customer very quickly and possibly close the ticket right there and then, saving everyone time and aggravation.

I agree about bug lists and documentation. The suggestion to include bug numbers in release notes (or at least in a version that could be accessed by those needing to know) is a good one.

I also agree on the known issues lists - at the very least, that should be available to resellers (if we are going to screen first tier support, that's something we plainly need access to).

Documentation is an issue. Generally, the documentation is good, but there are places it could be better. Perhaps a community edited wiki could help improve that?

Tony Lawrence
Kerio Preferred Partner and Reseller
Certified for Connect, Control
http://aplawrence.com
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pcunix

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sedell wrote on Wed, 11 April 2012 12:39

On top of that, pushing support off on resellers is a joke. The majority of the software that we've dealt with that requires going through the reseller for support has terrible support. It takes 3x as long to get things resolved. Everything requires contacting the reseller, waiting for the reseller to contact support and get a response, then relay the response back to us. Things get lost in translation, then after waiting days for a response, the suggestion is to try the same thing you already tried that the reseller suggested.


I understand that, but it doesn't have to be that way. When I know the answer, obviously that's taken care of right then and that is almost always going to be faster than Kerio.

When I don't, I prefer that the customer and I and Kerio support all work together. There's no lost ime passing things around and nothing "lost in translation" - if anything, communication is apt to be more clear if I can add my two cents to the conversation.

And again: this isn't going to apply to bugs and faults. Involving reseller support isn't a "joke" - it's valuable and important.

I don't know the details of how Kerio intends to handle all this. It sounds to me like you'll be encouraged to contact your reseller for RTFM questions. As a reseller, I'd prefer to be brought into the incident regardless - if it is a bug, learning about it can help me with other customers and I can proactively notify those who I know are likely to bump into it.

I'm sure Kerio will make the details known to all of us soon enough.

Tony Lawrence
Kerio Preferred Partner and Reseller
Certified for Connect, Control
http://aplawrence.com
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jamesf

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This information was delivered to customers by newsletter on April 11th with a start date of May 1. That's 13 business days before it goes into effect. Other than when a company is going out of business I have never experienced such a fast implementation for a major service and support change.

My understanding is this change was as much a surprise to your resellers as it was to your customers. I sent an email to my Preferred Reseller rep and when he started making inquiries about the change, no one on his support staff knew anything about it. When he checked with people within Kerio that should have known, they did not know much more that he knew.

Because the resellers were not in the loop on this change they are not prepared to deliver the support that is being dumped on them. As others have said this will also create an as yet unknown cost to customers.

From what I know this is a very poorly planned change and I feel it needs to be rescinded. If the final decision is to implement such a plan it must be planned much better with reseller and maybe customer input. This will help customers and resellers plan for the change and will help restore Kerio's image as a company for me and I am sure other customers.
giobbi

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I don't understand this.

So you have a lot of RTFM calls. Why "punish" all with this really blunt solution? Reasons:

A. You want to make more money
B. You don't have any idea to screen those calls.
C. The documentation is not that good as you think.
D. A mix above?

I have had Kerio for 5 years now. I have used support at MAX 10 time, in 5 years. Thats two calls a year.

With the new "improved" Kerio support i have to pay maintenance AND the support call?

That sux bigtime.

Its smells like its the first step in a line of "chargings", happens to all companys in the end it seems. So now i have to look for a new server software, just in case...
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