There will be times in Support when certain cases require us to go beyond our usual processes and bring in extra engineers, resources and specialists to resolve problems. For this post I asked David Hollis, EMEA Software Escalation team manager, to talk through the process of Support Escalation cases and offer some tips on how to prevent yours from escalating. Over to you David:-
What do we mean when we talk about an escalated Support case? An escalation is any case where the standard Support processes do not meet customer needs, has a high business impact or needs to be resolved in a particular timeframe. The EMEA escalation team has seven Duty and Escalation Managers to manage the communication to the customer and ensure timely resolution.
The route to escalation follows a two-step process. Firstly customers will engage a Duty Manager to request progress on their case and, if this does not meet our customers’ needs we will engage an Escalation Manager.
When a situation is assigned to an Escalation Manager we will engage our most senior Engineers, from both our Support and Research and Development (R&D) teams. Technical owners are assigned who are responsible for handling all technical activity on a case, whilst the Escalation Manager is responsible for all coordination and communication activities. We will also ensure there is visibility across senior management within the HP Software organisation.
Communication is incredibly important during an escalation so we maintain contact with customers via conference calls, written reports and, if necessary, face-to-face meetings. All technical actions are assigned to an individual owner who is responsible for completing their task in an agreed timescale. We also provide customers with two written status updates, the first at a managerial level outlying the high level progress pertaining to the business impact and the second at a technical level to ensure each activity is detailed with next steps towards resolution.
As the majority of all escalations require us to work with R&D we have a very strong relationship with them. It is very
important to maintain strong links with R&D to ensure we can give ourselves the best chance of quickly resolving the support cases to de-escalate the situation. At HP our Support and R&D teams are based across the globe so we can offer round the clock support to our customers. Our approach is working. I am proud to say over the past 12 months we have brought down the number of escalated cases from 0.4% to just 0.2%. We look to intercept an potential escalation and this is how the number of escalated cases has been reduced. We encourage the following practices to ensure customers get what they expect, without the need to escalate at all :-
- Communication is Key – Help your Support team by setting clear expectations. We always want to avoid escalating a case so be clear about your deadlines and business impact from the outset. If we know it is affecting critical systems or you have a deadline then we can respond accordingly.
- Information is Key – When you contact Support we will generally ask you a set of standard questions, having the answers to these ready can really save time. If possible have copies of the log files, screenshots of error message, the version of the product you are using, and information on your databases and servers.
- What changed recently? Let us know if you have recently installed an upgrade or a patch, performed a backed-up or had any server changes. Think about when the error message started showing and if it matches any changes in your system.
So if you have any suggestions or any more questions about escalation then why not share them below?