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  • August 19, 2009

Support Escalation Process....Again!

Chris Warticki
Global Customer Success Management

Escalation Process Explained:

This is by far thee most misunderstood process. Do you have a Support delivery concern? Are your expectations not being met or understood? Use the Escalation Process. The shortest path to least resistance to the resolution of any technical service request is escalation – first and always. Until you’ve spoken to a Manager from Oracle Support, an escalation has not occurred. Does that surprise you? Read on.

Here’s how it works;

Step 1 – Call the Global Support 800#. The phone menu has changed.  You can choose #1 for Existing SR or #2 for New SR. 
If you choose #1, you will be presented with the option to either Escalate or speak to an engineer. If you choose to speak to the engineer, most often you’ll get voicemail. Don’t leave a voicemail if you desire escalation.  Rather, choose the Escalation option.  You’ll be routed to Global Customer Care
If you choose #2, you then have to select #2 again, and #2 again to get to non-technical support. If you choose the option for non-technical issue, Global Customer Care will receive your request to escalate the SR.

Step 2 – Initiate Escalation: Here is my existing Service Request#, I would like to speak with and receive a callback from the Escalation Manager. This used to be called the Duty Manager 5+ years ago.

Step 3 – Your contact information will be verified and the Escalation Manager will be identified and notified for callback. It’s not a hot-transfer. Oracle strives that the Escalation Manager will contact you back in 30 minutes or less.

Here’s what NOT to do:

  • Don’t choose the option for existing Service Request and then choose to speak to your support engineer. You will most likely go to voicemail because they are multitasking.
  • Don’t call the 800# and request a Severity 1 or Severity increase. Severity 1 and Escalations are totally different.
  • Don’t update your Service Request to initiate escalation. This is not recommended. Oracle doesn’t have a batch job running to look for key words in SRs. Call us! Then, update your Service Request for your own documentation purposes.
  • Don’t call your sales team, account team, or anyone else in your Rolodex of Oracle business cards. They can’t solve your technical problem. You might as well try calling your parents. There’s no backdoor to this process.
  • Don’t request your support engineer to jump on some bridge call. Bridge calls are for managers to keep busy. Keep the technical team troubleshooting. The motto for bridge calls is; “When all is done and said, a whole lot more is said than done!”

Here’s how it plays out:

  • A manager will call you back to discuss the technical details and review the Service Request with you.
  • At this time, discuss any concerns you have. (time to respond, time to resolve, technical direction, key milestones at risk, etc.) Nobody is getting in trouble here. Let us know how we can serve you better.
  • Work up an agreed upon action plan
  • As a customer, document the action plan in the Service Request. Write, “I just spoke to so-n-so and we agreed to the following” The manager should be doing the same.
  • Know when the next follow-up will be. Is follow up necessary? Discuss it.

Managers have control of the resources and time of the support engineers. They may reassign it to someone else on the team. They may free up the time of the current engineer to devote more time to your problem. They will review what can and can’t be accommodated. That’s why you shouldn’t call anyone else.

DON’T HANG UP with any manager until you know these 3 things:

1-The Manager’s name

2-A piece of contact information from that manager (office phone, cell phone, or email address) Go direct to the source for updates

3-The details of the action plan.

If your boss asks you about that Service Request and you tell them that you escalated it, remember that they can reply with;

Oh, you escalated it, then who did you speak too? What’s their name?

Better yet, let’s contact them and find out the status of what we need to know.

Or, come into my office and let’s crack open the Service Request and see the details of what you spoke about.

What if the Service Request has a Bug Associated with it?

Good question. Still use the Escalation Manager to get in touch with Development Management. Remove the engineers and developers from the mix and go direct to the managers who control both of these resources. Let Development know how this bug is affecting your business and that Development Manager will give it to you straight if a fix is feasible or not.

What if I’ve done what you’ve prescribed and it didn’t work?

Nobody is perfect. Oracle strives to achieve 100% satisfaction.

Simply call the 800# again, state either the escalation manager you’ve spoken too isn’t able to help you, or the escalation call wasn’t returned, then request to RE-escalate the issue to the next level of management (Sr. Manager, Director and then VP level if necessary)

It should be that simple. Really, it is. As a former manager from Database support, we take a lot of pride in, and hold ourselves accountable to this valuable process.

There are two other articles I’ve written on this subject.

1- Escalation vs. Severity Increases

2 - Hey Oracle Support – Escalate THIS!

Chris Warticki is Tweeting @cwarticki

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Comments ( 8 )
  • Charles Schultz Friday, August 21, 2009
    Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. Sure, I understand that nobody is perfect, but when my own personal experience is less than satisfactory, I tend to think less of the prescribe suggestions. This should not be needed in the first place anyway; why is it that the customer is "taught" ways to escalate cases through various levels of management? Why is the first support contact not expected to be sufficient for all cases?
  • chris.warticki Friday, August 21, 2009
    I completely agree that nobody is perfect. See, we can agree. :-)
    I won't attempt to provide any excuses, rather only clarity on how to take action.
  • DJ Friday, October 23, 2009
    Re: "What if I’ve done what you’ve prescribed and it didn’t work?"
    What activity(s) should trigger a RE-escalate? Should I treat the "Oracle strives that the Escalation Manager will contact you back in 30 minutes or less."....as the trigger to Re-escalate or in addition, are there other conditions I should recognized within 30 mins to Re-escalate" I want to avoid overlapping escalations as this this may be a poor utilization of resources per the same SR.
  • John Sim Tuesday, November 10, 2009
    This is great..
    I never new I could contact Oracle support I always went through metalink.
  • chris.warticki Tuesday, November 10, 2009
    Yes indeed. Always - ALWAYS use the telephone to initiate the escalation process. If you update the SR through the portal, the engineer will not see that you've requested escalation until they've gotten around to it. They are multi-tasking, ya-know.
    Using the telephone to initiate the escalation process aides us in responding to your sense of urgency
  • guest Thursday, December 10, 2009
    Maybe I don't have the right phone number, but when I call, I get an automated system that asks for my SR#. I put it in, then I get two options - one to leave a message for my technician or two to speak to a different technician. Even if I do nothing and hang up at that point, my technician knows I have called about the SR and then calls me back. So where do I call to get someone live to ask for an Escalation Manager?
  • chris.warticki Friday, December 11, 2009
    Now that the SR callback feature has been brought back after 8 years, I don't recommend using this path for escalation.
    Instead, use the non-technical option at the beginning of the menu and our Global Customer Care team will field your request to speak to an escalation manager.
    -Chris Warticki
  • Richard Friday, December 11, 2009
    Hi Chris,
    Your blog entry helped me escalate an SR today -- thanks! Unfortunately I have a complaint :-)
    I used the exact phrasing you suggested but an Escalation Manager never called me back. Instead I received this in my SR:
    "Since this was a sev 2 sr and was assigned to an engineer that was no longer on shift, it was not getting updated. I've upgraded the severity of the sr to sev 2 p1 or 24X7, so that you can continue working on this over the weekend and for the rest of today."
    I seriously considered filing a Severity 1 when I opened the SR but I thought no I don't want to "cry wolf." A Severity 2 SR should be enough to get noticed but not take away support from folks who have a higher need than I do. Our problem was Enterprise Manager was down due to a bug in and though it didn't bring work to a stop it does pretty much cause the DBA shop to panic -- 50+ DBs and no automatic monitoring of backups, performance, filesystem and datafile space, etc.
    But from now on I don't see any reason to file anything EXCEPT a severity 1 SR. What's the point of SEV 2 through 5 if the "engineer" is simply going to go off duty and not pass on any information? I made an assumption that a Severity 2 was important enough to warrant attention and follow-through -- lesson learned.
    I spent over 5 hours waiting for Support to respond online and over an hour waiting for an Escalation Manager to call me. More than 6 hours of my day was spent assuming I was receiving "severity 2 level support." My assumption was there was such a thing as "severity 2 level support" - just seems like it's lumped into the same support you get with severity 3, 4, or 5.
    I appreciate your blog and this is one of the very rare occasions when I have a serious complaint about the support I receive when I file an SR. My experience leaves wondering if there are documented expectation levels for each severity level -- I know there is with a Severity 1 but what about 2-5? And also, Why would I need to have a Severity 2 "p1"? Doesn't a Severity 2 deserve 24/7 support until otherwise noted???
    It seems like it's either a Severity 1 or it's nothing. Personally, I think you guys are probably making it difficult on yourselves and I'm sure your engineers get really frustrated/upset when someone files a Severity 1 SR over their inability perform a simple, well-documented, task. I don't blame them though. From now on I'll be joining them on over-emphasizing my need for Oracle support by always filing Severity 1 SRs.
    Thanks Chris
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