Quality of Office 365 support is sinking..

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Occasional Contributor

Just wonder how you perceive this. I post this here since I have not found a better place to do so. If I discuss this with a support person, all I get is an apology and that they cannot change it...

 

Over the last, let's say 8-10 months, Office 365 support has dropped in responsiveness dramatically.

 

That is, if I open a support case for an Office 365 tenant, the admin portal tells me that I will be contacted within 30 minutes. I would also accept 60 minutes or even 2 hours. But fact is that for all the tickets I've opened in the last 8 months, my waiting time for someone contacting me was between 2 days and 2 weeks (!).  Adding a note to the ticket every day or so does not help. It still tells me that I am being contacted in 30 minutes, but nothing happens. 

 

Now, I am working for a Microsoft partner. That means that I am using the Office 365 partner portal, accessing many tenants from there for support. 

If someone from support does actually contact me, they usually ask me for more information. However, the email I get does indicate the ticket number only. Also in the text they usually write, they do not offer a hint for which problem they contact me. In the partner portal, there is no overall view of all open tickets for all tenants. This means that I need to maintain an own list of ticket numbers with problem description. Or I need to dive in to each tenant and try to find the ticket. 

Suggestion: There should be a list on the partner portal level across all tenants.. 

 

Sometimes I get an email message telling me that they have unsuccessfully contacted me on my phone number(s). Yet if I check my incoming call log, there was no attempt listed at all. There may be several possible reasons for that, but I am suspicious. 

 

As soon as I am contacted successfully by phone, I usually have to tell those support people that I am not the average user but an experienced Office 365 admin. Otherwise I am asked very silly base level questions. Although my problem description should give them a hint that I usually do not have simple user level issues. 

 

Sometimes the first level support does not have the right level of knowledge. Once they realize that, my ticket is eventually forwarded to another engineer (there seems to be some kind of penalty when they do that. how else could I explain that they sometimes hesitate to do so).

I would have assumed that the information collected would be forwarded too. But that does not seem the case. In one of the recent tickets, I was asked by 3 (!) different engineers to repeat (!) virtually the same troubleshooting steps, each time in 1-2 hour live screen sharing sessions. Each engineer did find the same issues again. When the ticket was assigned to engineer number 4, I refused to do the troubleshooting once again and asked him to consult with the engineers having done the troubleshooting before. He did.. and the result was that the problem was found. 

 

I do not have issues with the support engineers. Especially the 2nd level engineers are very helpful and skilled. 1st level is mixed. One can be lucky and get someone on the phone who is good. Most of the time they have, however, consult with their group leader or something like that. 

 

Last issue I have is that once the problem is solved and/or the ticket is closed, I am asked to fill out a questionnaire. The problem I have with this is that it only asks about the support in general and the performance of the support staff. 

There is no question that would give me a chance to rate the response time. So I do have to rate the overall support as BAD, which is in fact very unfair to the support engineer. But there is no other way to get attention into the system. 

 

 

 

Anyone has similar experiences with Office 365 support?

 

I have to say that Office 365 support about a year ago was first class and super fast.

Not anymore, though..

 

Daniel

 

34 Replies
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Same type of issues here. Took weeks to have them tell my my issue was a known issue. Issue still isn’t resolved over a month in the making and it’s a pretty major issue effecting everyone.
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In my experience, it depends a lot on the engineer handling the ticket. Some support engineers are skilled and good. Some are new bees and if I get a feeling that they dont undersand the ticket,  I have to push to escalate the ticket.

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Lots of good feedback here, and I can definitely agree with some of the key points. In particular when the new support experience was introduced I expressed my concerns about the "30 mins callback" promise, as well as the negatives of turning this into a "call center" experience - having limited option to categorize the issue and relying on someone on the other end to follow up with some basic Q&A before support even acknowledges the issue.

 

 

With all the money Microsoft is making now from O365, I would definitely love to see a trend of bringing more support in-house, limiting the number of vendors, or at least sticking to vendors that offer qualified people, not just the lowest cost.

 

Unfortunately most of the people directly responsible for the support experience are not on these boards afaik, so tagging few others instead. @Anne Michels @Russell Read, can you please forward this to the appropriate teams/people?

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Hello @Vasil Michev,

Thanks for your answer. Indeed, the "30 mins callback" promise seems to be the main issue here. 

On the other hand, translating the current situation of 2-day up to 2-week callback into a new "promise" is hardly what Microsoft wants. Imagine "we will call you back in 2 weeks"... 

 

I think there is more behind this than the promise. There should be a sound balance between the capabilities of a support system and the advertisement given for it. Otherwise it will produce a lot of negative feedback and/or customer dissatisfaction. Looking at the profile of @Anne Michels, it looks like it touches on what she is doing. 

 

Office 365 is currently, as experienced from the customer side (albeit we are a partner with not just a few tenants), unbalanced in that sense. There is a bad response time at the start, but also too much time elapsing between contacts when the problem is not solved at the first attempt. 

That I as a customer cannot comment or feedback on this in the questionnaire is a clever oversight of the question list. Intended or not.

 

My wish, of course, would be that Microsoft is rebuilding the capabilities to fulfill the 30 minutes promise again. 

 

Office 365 support used to be good. Very good in fact. Can we go back to that?

 

Daniel

 

 

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Thanks @DanielHuberICX for starting the thread and thanks @Vasil Michev for adding me.

 

There are several issues discussed here that I see including initial response time, total time to solution, and quality of the support team/overall experience.

 

First, we should start by saying that delivering a quick initial response, resolving problems quickly, and leaving customers feeling good about the experience they received is paramount to what we're trying to achieve.

 

As you've noticed, we've invested in a modern support experience - and this means changes to both the customer-facing experience and the ticket management system, and we're making improvements to how our teams are structured to enable us to better deliver against the promise of faster response and solution times.

 

While it's no excuse for delivering anything other than exceptional support, change brings its own challenges. Sometimes, this results in longer wait times or longer times to solution - and we do know that there are times when we don't get things right and need to evaluate the changes we made and consider how to improve as we move forward.

 

We aren't done with our changes yet, so there's still more good stuff to come. I'd hope that some of this change will manifest itself into benefit that is visible to you in both the speed and the quality of service you receive.

 

All that said, the reason why your particular support experience(s) might not have been exceptional may not necessarily be the same as somebody else's. I'd be more than happy to pass feedback on, but it's generally best to pass this on with a ticket number (or numbers) so that we can better understand if there's a particular team, or technology, or support offering that isn't quite hitting the mark. You can provide ticket numbers here or send me a PM with them if you'd like to share the examples.

 

I realise that this post isn't going to magically change you experiences, but I hope it gives you confidence that we are listening and are constantly working to drive improvements across our tools, process, and people to make the support experience the very best it can be.

 

-thanks, Russell.

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So here is my experience with a recent incident.
Ticket: case ID #7657635

Setup a ticket on the portal. There wasn't a drop down to pick from so I just submitted the ticket. I pasted a community article in my original request where I had already done a write up and gave examples down to even page load errors etc. of what was going on in this article. Here is that article if you wanted to see it: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/SharePoint/User-hover-cards-causing-Team-Group-Guest-users-Sh...


Don't remember the turn around time on it been too long, but I got called discussed the issue, which they obviously didn't even read the issue I posted into the ticket. Had to repeat all the exact steps and tell them everything all over again. And then they will look into it, call disconnected.

Called back shortly after. New person, explain the issue, do a remote session show the issue for screenshots etc. etc.

Called again no even 30 minutes later, another person, asking the same stuff.... at this point I've gotten frustrated. They ask for screen-share, screenshots etc. And now even fiddler logs. Mind you, this issue is easy to reproduce.

I get an e-mail some days later, maybe a week or so, saying they were able to reproduce my issue..... Great, maybe they will get it to the people that can fix it.

a week or so go by, i follow up. Then I get another e-mail, asking for more fiddler logs...... at this point I've had it. This is an issue that me and I've had at least 10+ other tenants verify having the same issues and I told them no. And I tell them I want my ticket sent to the SharePoint team. No idea why my ticket was in the Teams team, but it was and stayed there. The issue initiates from Teams but was obviously something on the SharePoint pages, but they should have picked up on this for routing.

Anyway, SharePoint support calls and wants me to go over the issue again. I almost lost my cool but I started to explain it to her and luckily she actually after I express my frustration said it's a known issue and they are working on it. That's all I wanted.... was this in a dev's hands to get fixed at this point.

It's been almost two weeks or so now since that e-mail the issue still exists. It's been broken well over a month. And it's now starting to affect my users who are inviting guests to SharePoint/Teams.

Anyway, as you can see this is a pretty long drawn out experience that shouldn't have taken such an act of congress to be escalated up to some folks that can understand the issue when a lot of that ground work was done ahead of time for them.

Anyway, sorry for the long e-mail. If you want to pull it to DM that's fine but figured I would air it out here.
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Unfortunately Anne moved to a different team now (or should I say Team), but she might still be able to direct this to the correct people.

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Russell

It has probably been a couple of months but my experiences with Microsoft O365 support have been better than expected both for timeliness and quality of support. Others in my company have not been as fortunate but I think that is the nature of the support process - much depends on who you get.

 

You refer to investments in improving the support experience. However, yesterday I was told by a partner that "MS is transitioning away from handling any type of support altogether, and pushing this responsibility on to the partners." and that I should be transitioning to them for support. 

 

I got the impression that they were getting this from Microsoft and that it was more than just an effort to sell more services. However, it doesn't quite match with your comments about an initiative to improve support. Or is the direction that only partners will have access to "good" support and user companies are to make support arrangements with a partner? Any comment?

 

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Hello @John Twohig,

Just some idle thoughs...

Would be interesting what Microsoft refers to when they say "partners".

My assumption is that they refer to their outsourcing partners for support. Today, at least level 1 is not delivered by Microsoft. I usually ask them for whom they work and the engineers are very hesitant to admit that they work for someone else than Microsoft. There is nothing wrong with that. Outsourcing is a cost reduction measure. But it also gives away the ability to measure directly the pulse of the customers. And it's a strategy which can go wron terribly, if the outsourcing partners are selected by $$ only and quality is not measured correctly.

 

"partners" cannot be the partners in the Microsoft Partner Network (I am such a partner). We clearly need support and cannot do all by ourselves. 

 

Daniel

 

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> In particular when the new support experience was introduced I expressed my concerns about the "30 mins callback" promise, as well as the negatives of turning this into a "call center" experience

When I jumped on the Office 365 train in 2015 I was blown away by the support in a very positive way. Just call the number, get someone competent on the phone and resolve the issue in 30 minutes. Escalating a ticket was extremely easy, when the 1st level support technician was in over his head. Needless to say, that this tremendously helped to convice upper management to hop on board.

A year or so later, a call to the support line only resulted in some person explaining me how to open a ticket through the admin portal (what a joke).

Today I don't even try to call support anymore and just open a ticket. But that system is so broken, you can't even add technical details because the textbox (it isnt even a text area) is so small and limited. I usually just write someting along "HALP. OneDrive Broken. Cannot add user." just because the system doesn't let me add any specifics.

Oh, and I usually get an answer within three to ten days.

Office 365 management effectively crash landed the super sonic airplane that was Office 365 technical support.
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I'm finding response times are still mostly OK for my team and I, but it is frustrating that you specifically request a follow up via email and they still call. This is annoying as they always try to call AFTER business hours and we end up with missed calls.
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@Vasil Michev Correct, Anne is in a different position. I'm happy for folks to @mention me and I will continue sending feedback to the teams who are delivering these experiences so that they can take action where needed on open tickets and can consider how the process/tools/people need to improve in the future.

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@John Twohig

 

Thanks for the feedback; it's good to hear from somebody who's had a good experience. I think it's good to remember that we (the Office 365 support teams) manage thousands of interactions with customers each month and the significant majority of those interactions are fast, go smoothly, and our customers tell us that we did a great job.

 

However, this shouldn't detract from the fact that we've still got work to do to improve - and the feedback received here helps to keep us grounded.

 

 

You are correct that support experience can vary depending on the individual you work with in support - however, we don't want that to be the case. We will always have people with varying levels of expertise and experience as we on-board new folks to our support teams and as the tenure of others matures. Regardless of this, we expect our teams to work together to collectively deliver great experiences and much of our focus now (in addition to the work we're doing on the ticket management tools) is on how we structure our teams to better deliver solutions to customers faster than ever before.

 

I can't respond directly to the comment you heard from one of our partners because I don't have the context of the discussion. It is correct to say that Microsoft uses a mix of in-house employees and supplier companies to deliver support and I'm sure that we'll continue to investigate ways in which we can deliver even better experiences in the future as new opportunities present themselves.

 

One of our primary goals is to reduce the volume of support tickets we see by making the service more robust, looking at ways that we can self-heal or proactively flag potential issues so that they don't turn into support tickets, and making it easier for our Office 365 administrators to resolve and fix issues themselves through better diagnostics and self-help capabilities.

 

If we can't prevent a problem or if we don't provide the tools/information that allows you to resolve a problem yourself, we'll continue to have our support teams here who are ready to assist you to get your service back up-and-running again as quickly as possible. It's absolutely in our interest to fix your issue and to make your support experience great - we want you to love using the service, but most importantly, we want everything to be super-easy so that you think less about how to manage the service and/or how to fix problems, and more about how your employees can be more productive by using the full range of features provided.

 

If the general question is "Is Office 365 support going away", my answer is no! We have, and we'll continue to have thousands of support folks working hard to support all of our Office 365 customers across the world.

 

That said, our Microsoft partners absolutely do have a role to play here - and many partners will offer support services. For some customers, it's appropriate for them to work with a partner and for that partner to deliver proactive/reactive support services to the customer. This is especially true for customers who have very large and complex environments to manage and need something more than break/fix support. However, Microsoft also offers advanced paid-for services too. The choice is one for our customers to make themselves based on their own requirements. Much like any service on offer, you as the customer should decide who you'd like to deliver that service. And your choice will be dependent on the type of service, quality, and cost offered by the provider.

 

In summary then, we absolutely are investing in improving both the customer facing support experience in the Office 365 Admin Center, and the internal ticket management system that our Office 365 teams use. We are also changing (or in many cases, have already changed) the structure of our teams to enable us to deliver faster, high-quality support. In addition, there are many more investments happening - both within Office 365 support, and more broadly across the entire Microsoft support organization - to allow us to continue delivering a support service that meets the demands of our customers today.

 

One final note: I'm not the official spokesperson for Microsoft support, the comments above are my own based on my understanding and interpretation of what's happening. I don't have insight into each and every change, so it's always possible that other work or change is happening that I'm not personally aware of. I've worked in various support teams at Microsoft for the past 19 years and I'm personally involved in, or project managing, some of the improvement projects I've talked about.

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@Shane Bryan

Which reminds me of another little .. hmm.. annoyance?

It happens that I work on an issue until late night. Then I decide to open a support ticket because I'm stuck. 

I am in CET time zone. When I open a ticket at 10pm, it obviously will be routed to the team that is active at that time (covering the US timezones for example). I know that I am not called back in the night, but I still add a remark in the text of the ticket that I am in the CET timezone and I wish to be contacted during the CET business times. 

Yet, if someone contacts me, they try still in the middle of (my) night.

 

Based on this discussion here, I would assume that there are different support partners covering different timezones around the world. And apparently they are not able (or do not know how?) to transfer a ticket to another support team that is covering the customers (my) timezone...

 

Daniel

 

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@Shane Bryan,

 

Thanks for the feedback. If you've specifically requested communication via e-mail, the support teams shouldn't be calling unless there's a good reason to attempt a call. And certainly the teams don't intentionally call after hours, we'd much rather speak with you to help you resolve the ticket.

 

In future, if this happens, please do add a note to the ticket to re-iterate that you don't require a phone call and that you want communication to occur via e-mail. You can also use the feedback opportunity after the ticket is closed to feedback on your experience.

 

If it's persistent, let me know the ticket numbers where it's happening and I can help to feedback to the teams too.

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@DanielHuberICX

 

Thanks for the feedback. Generally speaking, the support team who receive your support ticket are going to take the opportunity to resolve as fast as they can - this is probably why they try to contact you.

 

If you've explicitly asked to be contacted between a certain window, that should be honoured where possible. If you are routinely contacted outside of your normal availability/working hours, just let the support team know which times/days work for you and they should assign the ticket to somebody who's on-shift at that time.

 

We do have many teams and they are spread geographically, however, we do have sites that operate 24x7 too. If you submit a ticket at 10pm CET, you will route to one of our 24x7 global English teams. These teams know how to transfer tickets so there shouldn't be a problem in getting somebody to support you during your business hours.

 

If you don't have success after asking the support team to assign your ticket to somebody who can speak with you at a time suitable for you, use the opportunity to provide feedback when the ticket is closed. If it's persistent, let me know the ticket numbers and I can also get that feedback to the teams.

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I have had a Dynamics 365 call raised since the 18/04/2018.  Which is till waiting for an engineer to be assigned.  I have tried raising another call for this call but I am informed they cannot help and to ring the Platform Support Team, they are unable to help because an engineer has not been assigned in the Dynamics CRM team.  I keep being reassured that emails are being sent and they are taking personal responsibility to ensure it is actioned - but nothing is heard.  I have spent HOURS! on phone calls just trying to get an issue resolved which has been caused by Microsoft.

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Hi Andrew,

 

Sorry to hear that. If you want to send me the ticket number, we can take a look to find out what's going on.

 

-thanks, Russell.

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Hello @Russell Read,

I have three generic questions you might or might not be able to answer.

(btw, I really appreciate very much you taking the time to try to help us here, even if this is not your main responsibility, as I think I have understood on your comments).

 

Question 1:

I am logged into the Office 365 partner console and see all our tenants. I can open service requests for each tenant. But I do not see anywhere the possibility to see all open tickets across all tenants in one place or view. Should that be or is that not possible at all?

IMHO, it should be possible for MPN partners taking care of several tenants to see all tickets of all tenants (possibly of all users in those tenants having opened a ticket) in one place. Hopefully with some history as well.

 

Question 2: 

When I log into a specific tenant with the same login I used to open tickets, I cannot see old tickets at all. What I see is only the tickets that are currently open. Should I not be able to see all open and closed tickets for at least a couple of months back?

 

Question 3:

If I, as an Office 365 user, or as an Office 365 MPN partner looking after several tenants, have an issue with the quality of support in general (not related to one specific ticket, but really overall), is there an official way to reach someone responsible for the support process to discuss the issues with?

Explanation: When I address the engineers working on tickets, I do not talk to the right level. Those engineers are interested to fix the Office 365 issue and not the Office 365 overall support process. Talking with their manager won't do either. 

Having this discussion here in this forum is a nice refreshment, but at the end I do not get a satisfying answer. 

 

Thanks

 

Daniel

 

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I hope this doesn't jinx me but, by coincidence, just after reading this post nobody was at our help desk and I was contacted by one of our users with an issue. I couldn't solve it so I opened a ticket with Office 365 support. 

 

I got a call in about half an hour and explained the issue. I gave the support engineer the user's contact information since he was in a different city. Fifteen minutes later I got an email from the user and a call from the support engineer saying it was resolved. 

 

Sometimes things do work the way they are supposed to!

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I don't mean to sound like an old man but with over 25 years of IT experience I have seen this scenario play out over and over.  It used to be when a smaller company gets bought by a bigger one, I am looking at your Network Solutions, the support was responsive with the little guy then it goes South with the bigger company.  It happened again when Cisco bought a company called IronPort good luck getting proper support with Cisco now, it is a black abyss.  We have not migrated to O365 yet, we are one of the last hold outs, but our time is coming, and I know two things are certain, their prices will only increase and their level of support will only decrease.  No one cares more about your systems (servers, apps, etc.) than you do, keep them on prem as long as you can.

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@J 1901

 

 

 

There are many reasons why the support experience varies between small and large companies, but that doesn't mean to say that support from large companies should be expected to be bad.

 

This particular thread predominantly attracts those who've got stuck in the system and need help, but we help thousands of customers every day and aim to respond very quickly with the intent of solving that problem on the first contact.

 

We don't always get this right and some problems are unfortunately more tricky to solve than others. There are lots of folks at Microsoft working in the background who are passionate about making significant improvements to our support experience and I believe the support experience you'll receive from Microsoft will only continue to improve.

 

Keeping services on prem is currently absolutely the right decision for some people, but for many others moving to online brings significant benefits. Don't worry, I'm not here trying to sell :)

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Hi @Daniel Niccoli,

 

Thanks for the feedback and good to hear that you had some great support experiences in the early days. Sorry to hear that your more recent experiences haven't lived up to that standard.

 

In short, we've made a lot of changes in the past two years and the guys who answered the phones were indeed advising that you open an online ticket due to some limitations we had as we rolled out new tools.

 

In the online support experience, there are now fewer boxes and no dropdowns to select from because we are switching to a smarter way of identifying and routing tickets to a person who can help you. Rather than asking customers to do the work to categorize their ticket, our systems now look at the descriptive text you've entered and use that to display content that can help you to resolve your issue. Additionally, your text helps our systems determine where to route your ticket to.

 

Opening a ticket online generally is the best way to initiate a support ticket and our teams are working hard to respond to those tickets quickly. There are times when we see a lot of tickets created at the same time and this causes delays as we work to connect with each customer, but we continue to look at ways to better predict (and staff for) the times that we'll see tickets arriving.

 

We have a program of continual improvements and I hope that you'll start to experience and see these improvements if you need to contact support in the future. We know that we've still got work to do, and we'll never stop looking for ways to improve.

 

-thanks, Russell.

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Yes, I've noticed the same problem after help center modernization. When function of choosing category and subcategory in the support ticket has been retired - the level of support dropped dramatically. Before it took more time to create a ticket, to choose a proper category and make detailed description of the issue, but it was worth the effort. I had always quality responses and fast call-back, sometimes even no call just email where were fixes to my issue.

Now you need to repeat several times your issue, screen sharing session and still sometimes engineers don't understand your issue or ask you to do elementary fix steps which you've already did, and described that you did.

 

I would love to have back old help center experience.

 

Other thing that annoys me, it's  when support engineers is asking you to rate their support level while the session isn't closed, and waiting on the line, looking on your screen which rate you will give. 

 

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Yup, sometime we wonder why we pay them for? We use Google G Suite and there is a number we can just call or even chat with a live living person!
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oh Sir Russell how I wish you were a fly on the wall during my last two Microsoft "Technical" Support case calls, and I use the term "technical" loosely, lol, ha ha

I would just love to keep the "Engineers" attention on our call for 2 minutes, seems like they have a dozen Chat windows open and keep regurgitating the same standard rubber stamped replies, example:

Me: Hi, I would like to know how to enable Rights Management on my O365 portal?

Respnse: Hello I am so and so and I am dedicated to helping you and only you, I will solve all of your problems, what issue are you calling about?

Me: um... read my first statement

and round and round it goes

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100% agree.  Support has been terrible for the last 6 months or more.  The new online ticketing system is awful too.  The only way I get a resource that is helpful is if I open a sev A ticket.  Anything lower has been a waste of time.  Not sure what's going on, but SharePoint online resources used to be really, really good.  Now they just ask the same questions over and over and rarely find a resolution.  Very disappointing and frustrating.  

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Always with the fiddler traces.  There needs to be a better way to get that information.  We have to disable firewall rules in order to capture that traffic, which of course is frowned upon and requires a formal change request.  I have never once had first level engineer identify anything from a fiddler trace that actually identified a problem.  I think its a "buying time" ploy in most cases. 

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@J 1901 and @Luke Hoffman

 

Thanks for taking the time to send feedback. I'm currently out for the holidays for a few weeks; however, I saw your posts so wanted to at least get an initial response out to you.

 

Contacting support should be a worry-free experience that gets you a solution to your problem quickly. We know that sometimes this isn't possible - but it absolutely is how we design the system to work. If we're not delivering, you are right to call us out on it.

 

I had to contact the tech support department of a tech company yesterday for an issue I was having with some home automation hardware. The experience was terrible! I spent over an hour on the phone and was forced to repeat the same steps, in the same order, more than 10 times! While I was performing these futile steps, a few things went through my mind.

 

First - I'm absolutely confident that the experience I received was not the experience that the company wanted me to have. If they ever listen back to the call, I'm sure it will be used as an example of how NOT to deliver support and how to drive your customer insane.

 

Second - the net of my support experience is that I most likely have defective hardware, so no amount of hand-holding was going to solve my problem.

 

Third - the person who was helping me was either new, inexperienced, or poorly equipped to do their job. Lack of training or poor quality training or lack of access to more experienced resources.

 

As I think of the problems I was hitting in my own support experience, I think about how we equip our support teams to help our customers. It's absolutely possible that we face some of the same challenges I call out above - but it's certainly not how we design the system to work and we invest constantly to bring improvements to both the technology that powers the support experience and the people who deliver the service.

 

I can't explain why your support experiences in the past months haven't met the high bar we set, but I can tell you that we certainly didn't do anything detrimental to result in such a change. If anything, we're doing quite the opposite. Our teams are moving away from scripted interactions, we are adopting a growth mindset in our approach and using our "failures" as opportunities to learn, and we continue to build our tooling based on the feedback from both customers and our support teams.

 

Regarding fiddler traces - or the ask to collect any other logs, screenshots, error messages etc. - none of these are tactics to "buy time". If the frontline teams don't have the expertise or tools to analyse the information, they will be sending it to (or might have already been asked to request it by) our more experienced folks. In many of our teams now, we have a mix of "frontline" and "escalation" resources so that the experience is part of a single team which enables individuals to develop and solutions to be delivered faster.

 

All that said, if you aren't having a good support experience, let the person who's helping you know. In many cases, you should see their manager's contact details in e-mail communications that are sent to you. You can provide feedback to the manager directly (if available) or provide the feedback directly to the support person you are working with.

 

If you still don't see an improvement, I'd love to hear from you to find out why things aren't going well.

 

A few notes on this to set expectations for anybody else who happens to be reading:

 

1. I don't work 24x7 and I'm not "the escalation guy" :) If I'm slow to respond it because I'm taking care of my day job (or on vacation!)

 

2. Sending a case number to me doesn't magically = faster solution. I'm interested in specific cases because it helps me to see what opportunities we should be following-up on to improve our service. I always provide cases to the managers/leaders of the team so that they can take action where required.

 

3. It's always best to have a conversation with the support person who's helping you. Whether it feels like it or not, they are human and they are doing their best to help. If they understand your concern or complaint, they might be able to do something immediately to resolve it.

 

Thanks again for sending the feedback. If you have specific examples you'd like me to take a look at, you can PM me and I'll look at them when I'm back after the holidays.

 

If you are lucky enough to be taking time off over the next few weeks, I hope you enjoy a relaxing break.

 

-Russell.

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@Russell Read 

I would like to thank you publicly for all your efforts to try and investigate the issues I have raised with you. I know that you have tried your best and for that I am very appreciative.

 

But the sad reality is it is not getting any better, my working life is being ruined by having to raise cases with the office 365 support team. Out of 10 issues raised this year only 2 have been dealt with correctly and in a timely fashion.

I dread having to contact the support team as most the time it a frustrating loop of "have you tried this, have you tried that, can you send me a screenshot of the error message that you already have pasted in the ticket when you raised it." and asking all the questions you would ask of a novice user and  they cut and paste standard questions that are not related to the issue that you are encountering.

 

I search all the forums, documentation and status pages for a solution, before I raise a case, so to be asked these questions is tedious. 

 

They email you when you have explicitly asked them to call you on the phone.

They call and email outside your normal working hours even when you have repeatedly told them what those are.  

If the person assigned goes off sick, no-one else bothers to pick up the call in their absence - great for time urgent critical issues - NOT.

They have no power to escalate any issues to get anything fixed, be it simple documentation correction or getting an identified issue fixed by a developer.

Cases drag on for months and then just get shut by them when they get bored without resolution or telling the customer.

 

I wish I did not have to write this, I have tried so hard to get the message across, but it is just not working, You have too many feedback mechanisms and none of them result in anything getting fixed,  in product feedback, uservoice, office insider forum, github documentation comments and different office 365 support teams.  I have been let down by every single one of these methods in the past 12 months and have the apology emails to prove it.

 

But ultimately this is causing me to let my customers down, because I cannot get their issues fixed in a timely manner and both I and them are losing faith in Microsoft Office as a credible solution.

 

I will give an example of the latest debacle:- some elements are abbreviated for the sake of time

 

one of my customer found suddenly that 80% of their incoming and outgoing genuine emails were being tagged as junk. We tried using the inbuilt "report this as not spam" tool, nothing changed and they started to lose business because the order confirmations were hitting their customers junk folders. This was affecting ALL of their users in the company.

Before raising a case I did full troubleshooting myself, I checked that their anti spam settings were on the standard defaults,  I used the Microsoft test console to check the message-id's of the submitted samples - which said that NO RULES had been hit, - yet it was still tagged as spam by Microsoft's filters.  I even worked out by painstakingly modifying the contents of an affected email and repeatedly sending it in to the customer until it no longer went to their junk, was that it was related to all emails that contained their own domain in the message body!!!   e.g. when you reply to someone it usually contains text that shows the original senders email like "fred@xyzcorp.com wrote:  "

 

So having narrowed it right down, I opened a ticket and asked to be contacted by phone - first agent decides to send me an email instead and ask dumb questions that were already answered in the case when I logged it. A terrible start to the call, After a frustrated email reply from me asking them to actually call me like I had asked for in the first place, someone else did pick up the case and called me.

I was asked for more screenshots, message id's headers etc, wasting 2 days and then that agent wrote to me by email and those responses got overlooked by me because they went to my junk mail (and I work in a different tenant but probably caused because they contained the text of the affected domain in them). Why didn't she call me instead if she was not getting a reply from me ? The lady kept asking me for all sort of other information - when all you needed was the message ID's and to escalate the issue! The lady kept apologising and saying that there was nothing she could do to get the issue looked at any quicker. I then heard nothing for 2 days and eventually someone else took over the call meanwhile we are on day 5 of a critical issue and no further forward.

Then 2 days on from that, after he said he had no further update and had not heard anything back from the relevant team, I noticed it had magically started working again.   It turns out that the team responsible for the spam system had made a change and not bothered to tell him or me!  I then asked him to try and find out a root cause analysis and was told that you do not do that sort of thing, I pressed him again and asked him to go back to that team and at least ask them when and what they had changed  this took a further 4 days and all I got back was a vague "they whitelisted the customers domain the previous night" but had not informed the agent on the case.

 

  • How is it that a customers own domain can suddenly get tagged as spam  - without this being shown in any of your test tools? (by the way before you ask, they do not send bulk marketing emails out).
  • Why did several dozen emails being reported using the "this is not junk" tool not result in this problem being picked up automatically? surely that is the point of that feedback tool?
  • Why did a simple yet critical issue take so many days to get escalated to the relevant team? and then 2 days after that to be actioned ?
  • Why did I have to jump through so many unnecessary hoops? when all you needed to do was supply the affected message ID's and the extra info that I had already worked out to the team that manage the rules engine?
  • why did the rules team not communicate the fix they had applied back to the support agent ?
  • why do you not do a root cause analysis to prevent this happening to another customer?
  • Why did the first agent that took my case, decide to ignore the specified contact method of phone for an urgent case and send an email with canned cut and paste dumb questions already answered by reading the information supplied in the case?

Well there you go, rant over, but this is just one of the many calls that have been handled poorly this year.

 

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Hi @technonath ,

 

I'm sad you made that experiences (too).

 

From my end, I have to say that the Office 365 Support has stabilized for the moment. Call back ist still not perfect, but at least I do not have to wait for days or weeks. I also get connected via email even when I explicitly gave phone number and local time frame for a call, and only for a call. In those emails they sometimes claim that they did not reach me by phone, but my phone-log does not show any missed attempt (I am the pbx manager too, so I should know). Yes, there are individualy who do not like to call a customer, but work in first line L1 support...

 

I recently did not have extremely painful issues, but rather annoyances I could not solve myself. Mostly due to the frequent changes in Office 365.

 

Your issue with the own domain being junklisted ist interesting. I think I had a similar issue, but I was able to workaround it by adding spezial rules and exceptions. Yet, just a workaround.. Which reminds me that I probably should remove that workaround again...

 

 

About the support quality, I think Microsoft should provide separate support access points for Microsoft Partners (we are a partner...) and experienced admin's, and standard requests from Office 365 users. 

 

Opening a ticket as partner (or experienced admin), Office 365 support should assume that certain knowledge is available and certain pre-tests have been done. 

 

I usually try to determine the knowledge of the person I get on the phone and act accordingly.  Sometimes they are very advanced and are "bound" by some kind of script. Sometimes they actually go the extra mile. Most of the time though, they follow some procedure. The external 3rd-party support people are likely of the last kind. 

 

You *can* get the advanced ones to understand fast. Sometimes.

 

The others.. well... I switch to stupid and just move the mouse where they point me to. Until I eventually loose patience, open the PowerShell window with the Office 365 connection and the Problem eventually visible, and thus show them that they might want to reconsider their approach. 

All very time consuming, though.. so, I feel with you.

 

I *do* understand when support people sometimes re-ask questions. I worked for many many years in another big company in support. What a fellow support engineer is writing down in the ticket, what the customer wrote down, what I read and understand... not always matches. 

 

So one of the first question I ask when they contact me is if they have read and understood what I wrote. Sometimes I "test" them by asking something specific about what I delivered. I know, this sounds, well.. perhaps arrogant.. but it helps me determine with what kind of support person I am talking to (new, experienced, old hat, ignorant, you name it.)

 

People/Organisations act as they are measured/paid. I am not sure how Office 365 support is setup in detail, but I would assume that Microsoft has outsourced L1 support at least in some regions to local 3rd party (I *do* ask each supporter I have on the phone, but not all of them seem comfortable telling me that they do not work for Microsoft). So, if it's a 3rd party, they need to make money. Either they are paid by ticket they close or by other means. For example, they might be hesitant to escalate to L2 (because that might be Microsoft) and thus they would not get the full fee for a ticket that has not been closed by themselves.

 

 

At the end, customer needs to be happy. The feedback after a ticket is important.

In my past experience in support, we actively only analyzed feedback that was extreme (positive and negative) AND had a remark attached. This is what I do.

So, if you might want to give feedback to a ticket, do it in the extreme. And write a comment, be direct and ask to be contacted. Medium feedback and such without comment, disappear in statistics.

 

Ah, and the support engineer is sometimes the poor one in between. In my comments, I explicitly point out if I had a problem with the person, the process, the product..

 

 

 

 

Dan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yet another ticket where I wait and wait and wait...
Sigh...
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FWIW, i have recently been getting call backs within an hour.