Why is it so hard to get an OEM engineer on the phone?

SEPTEMBER 30, 2020

Why it’s so hard to get an OEM engineer on the phone – and what you can do about it.

If you have hardware support through an OEM and have ever tried to get an OEM engineer on the phone, you know it can take literally hours to get to someone who can actually help you (cough, cough Cisco). I’m talking about someone who actually works for the manufacturer, has more than a smidgen of technical knowledge, and isn’t reading off a script.

When an issue hits the fan and everyone is looking to you—telling you for the 47th time something’s not working and they need it fixed yesterday, the last thing you need at that moment is to fight the escalation process of the OEM, explaining your issue over and over until you can finally talk to someone who can help you.

I bet this will sound familiar to many of us who have had OEM Hardware support. Your device has an issue, so you call the support number.

1. Your call is answered in a call center—there’s a good chance at this stage you aren’t even talking with an employee of the manufacturer, but rather a call center that has been outsourced to field the first tier of calls.

“What is your serial # /contract #? What’s the summary of your issue? OK someone will follow up with you.”

2. At the next tier you may end up with someone who works at the manufacturer, but their technical knowledge is going to be minimal. They will most likely be reading off a script and walking through steps you’ve more than likely already tried and might even be a bit insulting to your intelligence.

“Have you checked the power button/cable/supply? Are the LED lights green or amber? Ok we’ll get this information to the engineer and they will be in touch.”

3. Finally, at this point you will likely get a level 1 (or level 2) engineer on the phone who may be able to help you. If your problem is more complex, it may need to get passed on up to an SME.

“Ok here’s what we need to do. Let me get our SME involved.”

4. The problem has been identified and when necessary field engineers are sent out.

“Dispatch will follow up to figure out when a field engineer can come out.”

5. You thought it was all done right? Nope. If replacement parts are part of the fix, you’ll have another department to coordinate with and if the parts take more time to get to your location, it won’t be fixed until then regardless of the SLA you have.

“Logistics department will follow up to figure out when those parts can ship”

6. Ok finally! Your issue is fixed, and the case can be closed.

Phew! That’s exhausting! And it could take days to be resolved. So why is the OEM call tree so complicated and such a pain? It’s simple—OEMs don’t care about support. They are motivated by hardware sales and it can be beneficial to them to have people refresh their hardware rather than bother with support. And with so many customers, it’s much more cost effective for them to outsource to call centers.

So, what can you do? Sure, you can look for ways to try to get past that pain-in-the-neck escalation process or you could switch to a third party maintenance contract with M Global Services. Aside from the benefits of TPM in general like cost savings or flexible contracts, we make it easy to get the help you need right away. We’ve been there and know how frustrating it is to go through those call trees and complicated escalation processes, so we set out to eliminate that. Here are some ways we make your life easier:

We take the "late" out of escalate
Instead of spending hours waiting to talk to someone who can actually help, you’ll skip straight to talking to an engineer. We can also create customized processes for our clients. So, for instance, if you need to skip a step (like gathering logs) or add one in (like weekly health check calls) based on your unique situation and resources, no problem. We move at your speed.

One throat to choke
We unify your contracts into a singular contract—that means you don’t have to make 10 different frustrating calls that take forever.

We don’t have level “-2 engineers”
Haha. But seriously—you’ll talk to one of our engineers straight away with actual technical expertise. No scripts or call centers.

We don’t play favorites
You might not realize it, but OEM’s often give better service to bigger clients. But, you don’t have to spend a certain amount of money with us to get the best version of service.

Sick of waiting on hold for hours trying to talk to an OEM engineer? Give us a shout!

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Want better support? Talk to us about third party maintenance.