Monday morning, coffee in hand, you’re at your desk a few minutes early to check the status of your network devices before the day’s IT requests start pouring in. You pull up your maps and scan for anything out of the ordinary. You immediately see that a device is down—in fact, it’s been down since yesterday evening. Why didn’t you get an alert?
You call up your network mapping software support team. With their help, you realize you forgot to assign the notifier to a device. The rep walks you through the process to set up the alert correctly so it won’t happen again. Now you can dive into the metrics to see what caused the device to go down.
Later in the day, you’re researching some new company hardware that you’re thinking about buying. The only thing you’re not sure of is to what extent you can monitor the device’s activity. You send a quick email to support. They get back to you shortly with the information you need, and you’re ready to make the purchase.
Having great software provider support can mean the difference between a long, frustrating day—or a successful day.
Why great support saves the day
When you need help, having reliable software support can take your heart rate down a notch. The ability to resolve software issues quickly with expert help can be a lifesaver to a busy IT professional.
An awesome network mapping software solution with sub-par support really isn’t so awesome in the long term if you can’t get answers when you run into issues. Slow or unhelpful support may mean risking potential downtime for your network monitoring software, which can impact your overall network management operations if issues aren’t resolved in a timely fashion.
Whether you’re looking for a new network mapping software solution or simply trying to get more out of the software support you currently have, ask these seven questions to determine if your network mapping software support will come through in your hour of need.
7 questions to ask about network mapping software support
1. Do you offer unlimited email support during regular business hours?
As you learn how to map and monitor devices with your network mapping software, you’ll undoubtedly have questions. Being able to shoot these over to a support team and receive a timely response can get you up and running even more quickly on the product. Many IT professionals prefer getting support help over email versus a phone call because it’s less time-consuming.
Unlimited email support may not sound necessary, but what happens if you blow through your limit of three emails per month in the first day of using the software? Having the ability to contact support whenever needed can give a network administrator much needed ease of mind.
While you’re asking about email support, find out if the software provider offers any other methods of electronic support communication. Live chat is another useful tool for quick questions that don’t take much explaining.
2. When I call, will I speak to a live support representative?
Sometimes you need live assistance to walk through a feature’s functionality or troubleshoot an issue with you, and that’s where live phone support is critical. Talking to a live support rep may be the easiest way to communicate your situation, and can result in a less stressful, smoother resolution of the issue. Good software providers will always guarantee assistance; if the first person can’t help you, they will escalate your situation up to a senior support representative who can.
Some software providers also offer remote assistance via WebEx or other online conferencing/screen sharing tools, which can also be incredibly helpful support resources.
3. What’s your turnaround time to respond to support tickets?
Make sure that you have a good understanding of how quickly support tickets are addressed. Does the software provider aim for same-day closure of tickets? Do they address tickets on a first-come first-serve basis, or do they prioritize tickets by severity of issue?
Clarifying how quickly support tickets will be answered will help you set expectations—and also better gauge what method of communication is best for different needs (e.g. emergency help, non-emergency help, training, etc.).
4. Do I have the option to upgrade to increased levels of support?
Once you’ve made the initial software investment, it can be tempting to stick with the minimum (a.k.a. cheapest) support level, but having additional support tiers to choose from can give you additional peace of mind and an increased sense of security. More or even unlimited support options ensure you’ll always have the help you need available.
It’s like when you have the chance to purchase a warranty—sure, you might not need it, but it makes you feel better just to have it.
5. Are new software versions released regularly?
One of the most important components of network mapping software support is having access to new releases, upgrades, and patches. No one wants to be stuck running an ancient version, only to call in for support help and hear, “I’m sorry, we no longer support that version. I can’t help you.”
Access to upgrades means when features are improved or added, you’ll be using the best possible version at all times and ensuring you’re running a version that is actively supported.
6. Is there an active user community?
That a user community exists is a signal that your software provider genuinely cares about customer feedback and wants to continually improve the product. User communities generate new product ideas, requests, and ultimately allow customers to drive the product direction by being a part of the development process.
Plus, it gives you a central place to share knowledge and resources with other users who may be able to provide ideas and tips that can be helpful in your own software use. If the community is active and users respond regularly to posts, you can expect to get more value from it as another kind of support venue.
7. Can I access self-services resources to help me learn the software?
Many times, a question you have has been thoroughly answered in a blog article, webinar, whitepaper, or guide because others have asked it, too. Having access to free resource content is another huge benefit that many software providers give their users so you can be self-sufficient and educate yourself on your own time.
Use this free interactive PDF to interview your potential software support vendors and keep track of their answers.