Support Dot Esri Dot Com

Esri Technical Support is unlike any other Technical Support on the planet. But if you’ve ever opened a Support case before, you already know that. We provide world class support to our customers to help make them as successful as possible with our technology. But if you’ve ever come to one of our conferences or technical workshops, you already know that.

However, what you don’t know may mildly surprise you. I would like to take this opportunity to shed some light on how Support works, and help make you both more successful and more effective with your troubleshooting.

Excited Esri Support

I wrote a totally rad blog post back in the day about what it feels like to work as a Support Analyst. It’s a pretty sweet job, and after two years, I still maintain the sentiment that Support is full of super awesome and intelligent people who kick serious butt and take great pleasure in helping our customers. Therefore, it might (or might not) come as a surprise that in Support we can’t (all) be GIS prodigies with experience on every product or subject matter. Sometimes we need to do a screen-sharing session so we can both look at the same product/documentation together. Sometimes we have to test offline and get back to you later. Sometimes we need a senior colleague to assist, or need to transfer the case to another analyst who is better suited for the specific technology/question. I know that this is a racy topic, but my goal here is to concurrently increase our transparency and your success.

To paraphrase our ultimate goal: we want to help you. I would put the emphasis on “want” in that statement to make sure that our intentions are clear: we want to help you. We also love you. Actually, love is a strong word, so let’s just say that we really really like you. So, you know that we like you, you know that we want to help you, now the next step is to help us help you. But the question is, how?

Support Analysts at Work

First, we’re all human beings. We think and we feel and we try really hard. We’re also professionals, so we will do our best to help you, and at the same time, achieve our own personal/professional goals. That’s a pretty vague statement, right? So let’s look at an example. Someone calls in with a question about the JavaScript API. I answer the question to the best of my abilities, but not everything worked out the way we wanted it to, and the customer gives me a bad survey. This hurts my feelings, but I talk to my manager and my manager talks to the customer, and we all learn something. This is another good nugget of information: every single survey is read and considered. If you have kind words to say, say them – we love to hear them. If you are upset and feel that something went wrong and have strong words to say, say them – we need to hear them too. Remember, as technologically savvy as we are, we are still human beings and thus imperfect and also warm and cuddly and willing to learn.

Second, when you call/email/chat to create a new Support case, we do our best to route you to the correct analyst. Our analysts specialize in particular areas of our technology, so not everybody knows everything. You may need to be rerouted to accomplish this goal, but just remember that we want to help you. We are proud to say that we are constantly working on refining and streamlining this process. Even though it’s not perfect, it’s always getting better. Kind of like a piece of software, case management is always being upgraded based on user feedback and experience. Also, when logging new cases, please include as much relevant information as possible, including specific product names and versions. Copy and paste is both of our friends. Test applications and screenshots are good buddies too. We also accept cookies.

Support Celebrates GIS Day

Third, you know how they say at the end of some commercials: “Prices and participation may vary”? Well, it’s the same with Technical Support. The prices of our services, such as a Support contract, Premium Support contract, or a Professional Services contract, do indeed vary. Our Customer Service representatives or Account Managers would be happy to review these options with you. With regards to participation, your participation is vital. We need to be able to have an honest conversation, and we need you to hold up your end just as we need to hold up ours.  If you leave to go on vacation, or can’t work on something, just let us know so that we can temporarily close the case and then reopen the case when you are ready to participate. Remember that we really, really like you, but without you, there is no case.

Fourth, we maintain a standard of one topic or question per case. Why do we do this? For many well-intentioned reasons. For one thing, it’s good for our internal resources. We are able to track and research on past cases, and it’s quite helpful to have one question and one answer in each case in order to quickly find the information that we need to help future customers. Another reason is that we need to help all of our customers in a timely manner. If there is another question or issue that arises during the current case, we need you to create a new case that goes back in the queue so that the next available analyst can handle it. This way we always work on a “first come first served” basis, and we don’t (read: can’t) play favorites. Lastly, we do this because there must be a light at the end of the tunnel. These cases could drag on for longer than necessary if we don’t have a firm resolution timeline in mind.

Support Analysts at a Hackathon

Sixth (I skipped number five to save space), some of us use a lot of exclamation points in our emails and chat interactions. You may find this bizarre or annoying, but believe me, we are not being annoying! We are also not shouting or saying things emphatically. We just do it because it seems nice that way!!

Seventh, we love closing Support cases. It’s a bit hard to explain, but when we’re given a problem, and we can figure it out and send someone on their way towards success, it feels so freaking good - you have no idea. And even when a case gets closed, we can still re-open it if something bubbles up down the road, or if you have a question about a topic that was covered during the case. Nothing is forever, not even closure.

I write these words to help. Real life is about people trying to live their lives to the best of their abilities, so why should professional life be any different? We’re here to help, plain and simple. Maybe they do things differently on Mars, but here on Earth, this is what world class technical support looks like. And you’re a part of it.

Support Analysts at a Another Hackathon


Noah S. – SDK Support Analyst

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