Acronis Support Policy

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by cequi, Sep 8, 2006.

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  1. cequi

    cequi Registered Member

    Joined:
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    I would like to offer some "constructive criticism" to the folks at Acronis regarding support of TrueImage Home.

    First, I realize that the consumer software market is a competitive one, appropriate price points are essential, and that post-sale support is a significant cost burden that, if not properly managed, can severely and negatively impact profitability. Further, I understand that one way for customers to obtain more responsive support is the "pay-per-incident" support.

    However, there are those among, especially represented in this forum, us who have a reasonable level of technical proficiency and can and are willing to work through issues fairly independently. In fact, we might even contribute to a solution when given the opportunity. However, it is essential that we have sufficient information to work with in order to do so.

    In my brief time working with the TrueImage Home 9 product, my experience has been that Acronis has not been very forthcoming with information, nor very responsive in their communications.

    Specifically, Acronis seems reluctant to acknowledge that a problem exists even when multiple individuals describe identical symptoms. Further, most of the beneficial information is buried here in the Forums. The Knowledge Base on the main Acronis website contains very little relevant information. And the replies to "officially submitted" cases via the web have been abysmal.

    So in an effort at actually being constructive and not just critical, here are a few suggestions that I think would improve the experience for both Acronis customers as well as Acronis' support staff.

    1/ Be transparent about issues with your product. I am much more willing to purchase a product from a company that discloses current issues so that customers can avoid the situations that might cause them. Post problems in a section of the main website, perhaps organized by severity of the issue, likelihood of occurrence or functional area affected.

    If Acronis is concerned that this would reflect negatively on the maturity / stability of the product, then include resolution dates in the posting and leave resolved issues up for all to see. When problems arise that may expose customer to potential data loss (not just nuiscence issues), email effected users who do not opt-out of such communications. All products have some faults, and no one expects perfection. But it's a lot easier to work with a company that acknowledges the issues promptly, discloses them, and works them effectively to resolution than it is to work with a company that denies issues and thereby makes resolving them more difficult.

    In the case of TrueImage, we're talking about a product to which customers are trusting the security of very precious digital assets. I think full disclosure is a very reasonable expectation of any company that wants to be in that business.

    2/ Be up-front about the support policy. Actually, Acronis does a pretty good job there regarding the nature of the communication (email only, 48-hour response). You could, however, be a bit more assertive in explaining why PPI support is necessary, and suggesting it to individuals with obviously critical problems. In my particular case this time around, the problem was not critical, so I could wait for answers. However, I came across quite a few panicked posts in the forum from individuals practically begging for help. I’m sure these people would have been willing to pay $30 to talk to someone live who could hand-hold them through their issue.

    3/ Actually read and respond intelligently to the support questions you receive, even if that means telling me that the issue is more complex that usual and will take more time to address. In my experience this time around, I submitted a case via the web and got the none-too-reassuring auto-reply. Forty-eight hours later (almost to the minute), I received a personal reply that was completely irrelevant to my issue. The impression I’m left with is that the respondent at Acronis was simply “clearing the queue” to meet the 48-hour deadline. Of course, then I have to respond, telling that person that they completely missed the point, etc. I’d rather get an email that told me that my issue was heard, understood, and escalated to someone who could fully address it, but that it would take a bit longer for a proper response due to the complexity of the situation. At least then I don’t feel like I’m getting the “brush off”. An offer to upgrade to PPI support at this point would be appropriate. Also, an ETA for the next contact would be essential in this communication. And when that next communication does occur, it had better be right on-point.

    4/ Upgrade the Knowledge Base. Again, there a lot of people out there that can help themselves if given the right information. This is closely related to (1) above regarding transparency. Whereas (1) dealt specifically with being open about unresolved issues, upgrading the Knowledge Base deals with resolved issues. If someone is experiencing an issue that has an official Acronis solution to it, don’t make them dig through the Forums to find it. And if someone in the forums resolves an issue, validate the solution and publish it in the Knowledge Base where it’s more accessible. I did a quick search on the word "backup" in the knowledgebase. Only 36 hits. "Image" -- only 52. And a lot of those were "pre-sales" documents. Put some real meat in there, and you might even get a drop-off in call volume.

    5/ Communicate, communicate, communicate. There is nothing worse that sitting, waiting for an answer, and receiving nothing. I’m not sure how to achieve this when resources are limited and volume is high, but perhaps emails tracking the case as it moves through the system would help. I know that in IT organizations with which I have worked, they often have Service Level Agreements with their internal customers to provide status back at predetermined intervals. So perhaps something like that could increase the perception that something was happening even when an issue is still in-process. For instance, the first automated reply might contain the depth of the queue when the request was received and an ETA for first contact. Then, 24 hours later, you could follow-up with a second email stating the current position in the queue and revising the ETA. If the case has to be referred to Level 2 support, an acknowledgement of that escalation, along with the technicians notes, would be tremendously helpful in assuring your customers that their issues were understood and are being addressed. Continue the status reports throughout the process and I think you might alleviate a lot of stress on the customer side without undue increases in workload on the support side.

    -----

    Acronis, you have a tremendous market opportunity here. I am a recent (and tentative) convert from Symantec Ghost, and I suspect I’m not the only one. Their product has gotten absolutely unusable, and their support might just be worse than yours. Your product appears to have momentum, but when dealing with a sensitive area like the protection of people’s often irreplaceable digital assets, top-flight support is essential – even more so than product features and functions.

    There are other players out there in the market, but I have equal concerns about them. EMC has just purchased Dantz, for instance, and I’m not sure how consumer-focused they’d be, coming from their established customer base of Fortune 500 enterprise accounts. I chose Acronis not because of the product, but because the company seemed to be consumer-focused -- like Symantec used to be. But I’ll tell you this… if there’s no support behind Acronis’ products, I’ll switch in a heartbeat to a product that DOES have support. I don't need flashy bells and whistles or the latest competitive feature at a moment's notice. At the end of the day, I just need something that WORKS in most cases and a company that STANDS BEHIND THE PRODUCT in the rare instance when it does not.

    I hope these suggestions are helpful, and I look forward to watching as you improve the ways in which you care for your customers.

    Regards,

    -- Curt.
     
  2. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Joined:
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    Posts:
    25,885
    Hello Curt,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Please accept our apologies for the delay with the response.

    First of all, please let us thank you for taking time to contact us. Your collaboration on any matter that can help us to provide you and all other customers with a good and reliable products or improve support is very much appreciated.

    Please also note that none of the issues reported here on Official Acronis Support Forum or reported to Acronis Support Team via e-mail or via phone are bypassed. Acronis Support Team along with the Quality Assurance and Development Team are working on every reported issue and we will certainly try to do our best in order to provide you with the good and reliable software in the future.

    Now let me comment each of your statements.

    Please note that if the multiple users encounter with similar symptoms the reasons for these symptoms might be different. In this case we need some additional information to investigate this issue thoroughly and to provide you with a possible workaround. And in this case in is better to contact Acronis Support Team via e-mail to provide necessary reports, logs, etc.

    As you have noticed the Knowledge Base at this moment does not contain full information about Acronis Products and issues that users may experienced. The reason is that the Knowledge Base was released at the Acronis Web Site several weeks ago. We do plan to add more information into it constantly in order to provide users with the information about Acronis Products, known issues, workarounds, etc.

    We hope to reduce the number of issues reported by our sincere efforts to resolve them in a timely manner. Please also note that should you experiece any issues with Acronis Software you are welcome to contact Acronis Support Team via e-mail or post any of them on this forum. We will certainly try to help you in resolving any issues as soon as possible.

    You are totally right here. In most cases the Acronis Per-Incedent is used in order to resolve a problem that requires a prompt solution or a question to be answered immediately.

    We are really sorry for the inconvenience you have experienced and for the delayed response. Please also note that we always try to decrease the response time. As you mentioned we guarantee 48 hours respose, however some times it may be a bit longer.

    As I stated above the Knowledge Base is updated constantly and we will surely try to make it easy for users to search for the solutions in there.

    Thank you for the suggestion, we will take in into consideration.

    EDIT: a typo was corrected

    Thank you again for your cooperation.
    --
    Aleksandr Isakov
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2006
  3. cequi

    cequi Registered Member

    Joined:
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    Thanks, Aleksandr, for your reply.

    It was professional and well-reasoned. That restores a bit of confidence in your efforts to support the product, and more importantly, your customers.

    Now, "the proof is in the pudding," as they say!

    I'm eager to see the improvements Acronis is able to make in this in this capacity over the next several months.

    Best regards,

    -- Curt.
     
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