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