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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Interacting with Microsoft Dynamics support

Posted by Armanino Dynamics Team

I had a newer colleague open up a case with MBS support yesterday for the first time and I watched as he interacted with the support engineer. I remember my first few years of of opening up cases for everything while I learned the product. After a while I realized that the engineers responses were often just tech docs I could find for myself on PartnerSource. Submitting a case and interacting with support is an art. It’s sometimes hard to communicate issues in a way that helps the support person focus in on the scope of the issue but makes the case open enough that the engineer won’t say “that’s not part of the scope, I’ll have to open another ticket for you.” Here are a few suggestions when opening a case with the Microsoft Dynamics team:

  • Search Partnersource and Bing/Google first before opening a case
  • Look at the articles suggested regarding the modules you select when opening a case. They have guided me a few times before actually opening a case
  • You can try posting the issue on the dynamics communities but you often get what you pay for. If it is an issue that needs immediate attention it often seems to be more efficient to just open a case with MBS
  • Choose the module and function as close as you can to the issue. At lot of newbie support folk are certified by module (at least I’ve heard “I’m not trained on that module” several times)
  • Send screenshots of errors attached to the case. For some reason it’s easier to troubleshoot when a screen shot is sent. I like screenshots as it often tells me things the user doesn’t even know they are communicating like what version, function, company name, login name, type of error, etc.
  • After you open a case and the response comes back from the technician that includes tech docs you’ve already tried, request a phone call. Don’t keep going back and forth by email. It wastes time and is a painful experience
  • After giving the support engineer sufficient time to troubleshoot the issue ask to “Escalate the issue”. That usually gets you beyond the newbie support person.
  • Don’t let the engineer off the phone until the issue is resolved. If you get MBS on the phone it often feels like they are incentivized by closing the out as fast as possible. That often leads to a back and forth that takes longer then just resolving the issue in one call
  • When I open a case with MBS I always say in my case that I don’t want them to leave a message. I usually state something like “please have the phone answerer IM me to get me off whatever I’m doing”. Our phone people know to try and track me down if the call is from Microsoft.
  • It is important to have access to the clients system before MBS calls or at least have immediate access. There is nothing worse than having MBS on the phone and no way to access the clients system
  • If your guaranteed response time is missed make sure the call is not charged. It should be free.
  • If the call relates to a bug in the system it should be free.
  • I usually figure for me it’s worth opening a case if I’ve spent around an hour troubleshooting an issue. It’s just not worth the time beating my head against an issue for five hours only to find out it’s a bug.
  • If a new ticket is opened because it relates to another MBS software (i.e. SQL) make sure the ticket isn’t charged again
  • If there is an issue with response time email and the support manager will assign the case. For a few months a while back every case I opened seemed to need a copy to dynsolve as when we did a follow up on a case it would go back to the same engineer who was probably out on a two week ice fishing expedition to Northern Minnesota and didn’t respond until they came back
  • Don’t always take the engineers word as gospel. I argue with the support people all the time. I may not always be right but I know when someone’s just trying to get me off the phone

We are really very lucky in the Dynamics community to have such a great support team assembled together in the frozen tundra and permafrost of North Dakota. Just imagine if the support team was located someplace warm like California where there was something more to do in January other than go to work and take support calls.

Anyone else have any suggestions when working with Microsoft support?

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