Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tech support Kudos 2010

"The Installer shall from time to time give to boaters information of the state of marine electronics technical support, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient".

Ladies and gentlemen, and fellow boaters, I want to aver that the state of boating technical support is strong. Okay, enough of this falderal, it's that time of year to provide my assessment of marine electronics technical support. I have changed the format a bit this year, and what I will do is acknowledge the better technical support efforts I have encountered this year.

As smart as I think I might be, it is comforting to know that there are much smarter technical professionals out there to help. I think that at most times, it must be a very gratifying job helping boaters solve their problems. Although, on occasion, I'm sure that they would like to reach through the phone, and slowly choke the caller that is either rude, or is just trying to suck the living soul out of them. I just hope I'm not one of them, most of the time anyway.

I am going to start with Raymarine and give them kudos for being the "Best of the best". Short phone waits, if any. Excellent and very knowledgeable personnel who are always helpful. They provide superior support, and information in a friendly, and professional way. Thanks Mark, Trevor, Linda, and the rest of their team for teaching me something on every call.

Garmin gets the "Most improved technical support" kudos. The wait times have shrunk dramatically over the previous year, and I now often get in immediately, without a wait. I also like the fact that you collect my phone number when I call, because on more than one occasion, my cranky cell phone provider, drops my call, and I have gotten an immediate call back from the tech. The tech support staff also sounds less scripted this year, and there were fewer incidents of being put on hold because they needed to ask the help desk something. Good job Garmin, and very much improved.

There are two "Above, and beyond the call of duty" kudos this year. The first goes to Josh Weltman at Nobletec Navigation who spent many hours over several weeks, helping me sort out Nobletec software issues after some shamans "Fixed" the PC computer system on a boat. He was patient, knew what he was talking about, and if he didn't immediately know the answer, he found out, and called me back. Thanks Josh, you were a lifesaver.

The second kudos in this category goes to Allison at Garmin who persisted mightily in helping me solve a somewhat odd sounder module related problem. Allison has assisted me several times, and alway does an excellent job, Thank you Allison.

Other notable kudos go to:

Airmar/Gemeco for always being helpful and pleasant to deal with, and assisting me in figuring out which of a zillion wiring diagrams I should be looking at. And thanks Irene for the help with the WeatherCaster port business (the same shamans from above at work here).

Teleflex has continued to provide great support, and good advice. Nobody knows marine hydraulics better than Marc Adams, and Teleflex.

Navico has done an excellent job, especially when you consider the bewildering number of brands they deal with. I spoke recently with a tech I have dealt with for years on Northstar problems, who seamlessly helped me with a Simrad autopilot issue. Good job Bill, and Navico.

For everybody else, I'm not ignoring you, there are just too many, but all have done a good job. I can only think of a couple of occasions this year when I was little dissatisfied with the support, and I'm writing the incidents off as one, or the other of us, was just having a grumpy day.

So I want to remind everybody that this is a complicated world, and the technical support groups all try their very best to help you solve a myriad of disparate, and complex problems on a daily basis. So don't forget to say thank you. I'm sure they don't mind hearing it. If you see a hand coming out of your phone, drop it and run, and don't ever call back. Your being a jerk!

The "shamans" mentioned above were involved in an earlier story titled PC Purgatory Increased complexity equals reduced reliability.

The photo was from Wikimedia Commons, and came from the Cross-Slip website.