One of my new clients is having the best-of-luck with their Blackberry Enterprise Server installation. Now, a lot of what I inherited here isn’t quite up to my standards, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprized by the problems the BES server is having. What does surprize me is the poor of support from Blackberry.
About two weeks ago the clients trial license suddenly expired, with no notice, messages, warnings or anything. It just stopped working. I won’t even start to talk about the ridiculousness of not having it say “Trial Edition Expired, insert $5000 to continue!”.
After figuring out that the problem was license related, we immediately went online to purchase a new key. After placing the order, we received an e-mail (an hour later) explaining that it would be 3-5 business days to generate a key and send me a link to download the full version of BES.
3-5 business days to generate a license? Not only was this unacceptible to the client, whose staff are well-addicted to their Blackberries, but it was far below expectations. If I were ordering a CD, sure, I’d accept a few days – but not for an online only order. So I called the sales team to “expedite” my order. After waiting 45 minutes, I hung up. I called back the next day and got routed around a bit before finding someone who claimed that 3-5 days WAS expedited, and that he’d see about having it rushed EVEN MORE. I finally got the key 3 business days later. Over a weekend.
Downtime: 5 days (so far).
Admitted, I’m fairly new to BES. I’m even more new to Lotus Domino, my client’s e-mail system. So I was careful and got the exact steps from the Blackberry website.
There were a couple processes I wanted to go through. First would be to just get the server up and running so the clients would be happy. Next, upgrade the server to the latest version (during off hours) and make some configuration changes to the setup.
So I walk though the documentation and everything seems to be fine – except my users lost the ability to reconcile their BBs and have problem (usually timeouts) in sending messages. At this point (Tuesday afternoon), I call Blackberry Support. And wait on hold for 1.5 hours. And then get the opportunity to leave a voicemail. *BLINK*
I left them a polite voicemail explaining my problem and waited for a callback. A week (note that I’m only on site 2 days a week, and they sent me out of town in the middle) later, still no call back.
I called them again, and wait on hold for 45 minutes before getting someone. ALAS! A live body! We spent an hour walking through troubleshooting steps. He decided I needed to do a clean reinstall of the new version of the server to fix the problem and provided me with step-by-step instructions.
Success! The server was cleanly removed and the new version installed. I started up the manager only to find all my users gone. Well, that would make sense, except that one of the processes they gave me was supposed to backup and restore my users. I recreated my users and started testing.
Like before, my users can send e-mail (sometimes, often timing out), do receive e-mail, but it does not reconcile with the server at all. The reconcile options are even gone from the BB.
So I get back on hold. For 2+ hours. And leave a voicemail. Again. This time at least they called me back. At 6PM the next day. Of course, I wasn’t at the client site, had no access to their server or one of the affected Blackberries. So I asked him to call me back the next day (today) between 8 and 10 AM.
His response was a startling “no”. Apparently their support center is inbound ONLY. A quick word with his supervisor fixed that.
Of course, I didn’t get a call this morning. I called them shortly after 10 AM. I’ve been on the phone now trying to work through this problem for over 5 hours now. Probably 50% of that time has been spent on hold. I did get disconnected once – and they never called me back. I had to go back on hold and wait in lie, yet again.
My sad statistics (so far):
Time on hold: 6+ hours
Tech Support Calls placed: 5
Voice Mails left (you can only do this after 45+ mins on hold): 2
Voice Mails returned: 1
Live People spoken to: 3, including the call back guy.
Chances of them solving this problem: Dropping by the moment
Now, I don’t think I have to explain just how unacceptable this level of support it. I spent $5000US on their product and it’s not running right.