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Future of Customer Support???

I'd like to address a few of the issues surrounding Software Support and
the move of that function to Burlington.

The move of the function of Software Support to Burlington is purely
economic. As a company, it makes little sense to have the software
support group physically separate from the software development staff.
Putting people in the same location allows them to develop
synergy. It also allows the company a greater, more flexible pool of
talent from which to draw, if special needs arise.  If you
want to allow people to move around within the company, and the company
is relatively small, then you want people doing similar work in the same
location. Software Support and Software Development are not
the same work, but one can easily imagine scenarios in which you want to
use support people as developers, and developers to handle support issues.

>From what I know, Symbolics as a company has not treated the Software
Support people shabbily. They received 6 weeks notice and a severance
package. I've been laid off before and have not been treated with anywhere
near the respect that Symbolics has treated the Software Support staff.
As I found out to my chagrin one of the times I was laid off, severance
pay is not an obligation of any company, it is a choice of the company.

David Motazedi and I are managing the transition of the Software Support
function to Burlington. I will be working with him to define the process
issues as they now stand, and to refine how the software support
function in Burlington will deal with them. The Software Support group
here will be working with me to make some things change:

1. You will get better and faster mail support than phone support. I
will be working to change the cost of each type of service to more
accurately reflect its cost (and preference) to the company. I urge all
of you to use email rather than phone whenever possible.

2. We will be implementing some sort of "priority"/"emergency" phone
service which will be priced higher than standard phone support. I
recognize the need for emergency phone support, but given the issues
with interruptions that Chucko so succinctly outlined, we need to provide
it as needed service, not as a standard service.

None of these and other proposed changes will go into effect
immediately. The only immediate changes you will see is that people in
Burlington will be taking over the email support function. David and I
agreed we could transition the email support function immediately, and
work out the issues for phone support.

I am interested in what you think the successes and weaknesses in the
current software support function are. I would like the opportunity to
address those issues during the transition period.

I expect to have more concrete information about the upcoming changes
during the next couple of weeks, and a full report at SLUG. As we get
issues resolved, you will be notified. The goal of the software support
function (and the group performing that function) is to provide at
least the same quality of service you currently receive.

Johanna Rothman