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Ten Tips for Getting the Most Out of Microsoft PSS Support for SharePoint...

Ten Tips for Getting the Most Out of Microsoft PSS Support for SharePoint...

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If you have called into the PSS Support Center for SharePoint related issues recently, you have probably encountered long hold times and slow responses.  Let's just say that SharePoint is an incredibly popular product and case volumes are at an all time high.  Our support personnel are doing the best that we can to help you get your issue resolved as quickly as possible, but we are struggling to provide the quick resolution and high-quality support that you deserve and have grown to expect from Microsoft.  Everyone is working as diligently as possible to help address your needs.  

There are some things that you, the SharePoint support customer, can do to help us support you better and make our communications more efficient and effective.  As you are working with our SharePoint support teams, please keep the following tips in mind

  1. Give a complete and accurate description of the problem you are encountering. The better the description you provide us at the beginning of the case, the better the chance we have of providing you a resolution on first contact.  Please give us as much information as possible about the problem in your initial communication to us.  Take, for example, this problem description: "Alerts not working after upgrade".  There are many ways this problem description could be better.  A better problem description might be something like this. "After upgrading content from WSS v2 to WSS v3, alerts are not sent.  Initial alert creation email(s) are received, but alerts for document uploads/deletes are not.  This problem affects all documents libraries in all sites. The content was upgraded using the in-place method" 
  2. Provide accurate error messages. If your problem results in an error message in the browser or event log, please provide the complete text of the error whenever possible.  If you can provide a screen shot along with the text, that is even better
  3. Be precise with case Severity.  It is very, very important that case severity is accurate.  If your case involves a production server down situation where many users are impacted and significant functionality is broken, then your case may warrant a severity of "critical".  However, please resist the urge to artificially increase the severity in hopes of getting your issue resolved more quickly.  Improperly elevating severity can cause resource re-allocations that disrupt service to other customers and prevents us from properly servicing the most critical scenarios.   
  4. Run SPSreports.  SPSReports is a tool that you should download from http://www.codeplex.com/spsreport and have handy for every SharePoint server you manage.  You shouldn't necessarily pre-install SPSreports because each release is time-bombed but you should be familiar with it and know where to get it because SPSReports is a very valuable data collection tool that will gather up a ton of artifacts such as event logs, error logs, dll versions, SharePoint topology information and many other things that will assist our troubleshooting efforts.  SPSreports generates CAB files that are usually too large to email so please ask your support professional for a file transfer site to use to upload the SPSReports data. 
  5. Get complete contact information from your support professional. Once you make contact with a support professional (referred to as SP), collect the following contact information: Support Professional name. Direct Phone Number, E-mail address, and manager name.  Please use this information to contact your designated support professional if your case is not progressing properly and don't hesitate to leverage the manager contact if your support professional is not responsive after repeated attempts.
  6. Be cautious about reassignments.  Once a case has been assigned, calling back into the queue will result in your case being assigned to the next available support engineer.   These type of reassignments could significantly delay progress on your case and you may be better off trying to contact your assigned support professional to arrange a callback.  The exception here is after-hours and high severity cases.  If you really need to work after hours or immediately then calling into the queue for the next available resource may be your best option. 
  7. Be willing to work via email.  Easy Assist conferences are a wonderful thing and make troubleshooting issues much easier, however, once an issue has been well scoped and understood, working via email may be most efficient.  With case loads as high as they are and callback schedules as full as they are, it is much easier for your support professional to squeeze in a 15 minute email response between callbacks than it is to schedule another Easy Assist or Phone callback. 
  8. Please keep scheduled callback commitments.  If you have a scheduled callback with your support professional, please do everything possible to be available during the agreed upon time. It may also be helpful to send your SP an email reminder about 30 minutes before the appointment.  This will both serve as a reminder to your SP and give your SP an opportunity to inform you if he/she is delayed, etc.  If you need to reschedule, please let your SP know as early as possible to ensure we can accommodate your new appointment needs.  If we miss a callback, please get back to us as soon as possible to schedule the next callback.  We try really hard not to miss callbacks, but unfortunately, it does happen sometimes.
  9. Be patient but persistent.  We appreciate your patience during these difficult times.  Your issues are important to us and we will get back to you as quickly as we can.  If for some reason, you feel that the issue is not progressing properly, please send an email requesting an update.  This serves as a notification that this issue is still a problem and will help us give you the appropriate prioritization.  If that doesn't get the response that you need, feel to contact the SP's designated manager.  The manager will work with your assigned SP to get the case moving forward, or assign another resource to your case. 
  10. Leverage the community and self-help.  There are many blogs, forums, and self-help areas out on the Internet that may be helpful in researching your issue.  There are many SharePoint experts from the community as well as Microsoft employees lingering in the forum(s) and posting blogs that may be of assistance to you. Also, the MOSS 2007 and WSS Version 3 documentation is being delivered in a "continuous publication" model so keep checking back for new content and keep searching to see what new stuff may be out there.

Thanks for sticking with us through this time of growth and change.  We look forward to reaching the end of this painful period of growth.

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