How to Get the Very Best Support from Oracle

The excellent people at Oracle Support are usually very helpful and want to resolve our issues as fast as possible; however, sometimes there’s an urgent issue that requires the best that Oracle Support has to offer. Chris Warticki gets asked on a regular basis how to escalate an issue, so he’s taken to writing about it in his blog. If you follow his instructions, you’ll get the support you need.

Request Support Management Attention (SR Attention)

In today's world, everybody wants the answer yesterday. Everything seems to require immediate attention. But, what is requesting support management attention all about? Do you have a Support delivery concern? Are your expectations not being met, nor understood? Request for Support Management Attention will help. The shortest path to least resistance regarding any technical Service Request is Support Management Attention – first and always. Until you’ve spoken to a manager from Oracle Support, how does Oracle Support know where/when the service gap is and how to remedy it?

Side note: (Escalation, formerly known as the Duty Manager Process, has always been defined as speaking with the manager where the Service Request resides. Escalation has never meant immediate resolution. It's not a check-box. Escalation is not the solution; it's a component of the conversation.) Does that surprise you? Read on.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1 - Insert the template below into the Service Request, including all **** lines. This will ensure correct visibility and content.
******************* Management Attention Request *******************
Reason for request, including business impact of the problem that requires management attention
Business or implementation milestone, critical date(s) (milestone date or resolve by date), along with the type of business or implementation milestone
Name of the customer requesting callback; contact information: phone number, pager, email address
******************* Management Attention Request *******************
Step 2 – Call the Global Support 800#. You may choose #1 for Existing SR or #2 for New SR.
Step 3 – Request Support Management Attention. "The magical phrase that pays": Here is my existing Service Request #, I would like to speak with and receive a callback from the Support Manager. This used to be called the Escalation/Duty Manager 9+ years ago.
Step 4 – Your contact information will be verified and the Support Manager will be identified and notified for callback. It’s not a hot-transfer. Oracle Support strives that the Support Manager shall respond with a sense of urgency and contact you back in 30 minutes or less.

Here’s what NOT to do:

  • Don't log a Severity 1 SR and then immediately request to speak to a Support Manager. Give Support a chance to begin work.
  • Don’t choose the option to speak to the support engineer if you’re intending to speak with a manager. Choosing that option will route you to the support engineer or his/her voicemail.
  • Don’t call the 800# and request a Severity 1 or Severity increase. Severity 1 is reserved for production down 99% of the time.
  • Don’t update your Service Request to initiate escalation. This is not recommended. Oracle doesn’t have a batch job running to look for keywords 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 collection of Oracle business cards. They can’t solve your technical problem. You might as well try posting to your Facebook friends. 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 ever done!”
    • If you have such a requirement for a bridge call, the best practice is to document the SR with the bridge call information and then initiate Request for Support Management Attention. Remember, the engineer is multi-tasking, not waiting around to join a bridge call. The Support Manager will respond and most likely even join the bridge call and then resource the issue as appropriate.

Here’s how it plays out: DON’T HANG UP with any manager until you know these three things:

  • Management Contact:
    • Once identified, the Support Manager for the team where the SR resides will call you back to discuss the technical details and review the Service Request with you.
      • Don't hang up until you have the manager's contact information (name, email address, office phone).
  • Action Plan:
    • Work up an agreed-upon action plan (WHO is going to do WHAT, by WHEN).
    • 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.
    • Discuss current status and if the situation deems escalated or not.
    • Discuss appropriate severity.
    • As a customer, document the action plan in the Service Request.
      Document: “I just spoke to so-and-so and we agreed to the following.”
      The support manager should be doing the same.
  • Communication Plan:
    • Know when the next follow-up will be. Is follow up necessary? Discuss it.

There are two things the Support Manager can do that nobody else in Oracle can: Support 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.

If your boss asks you about that Service Request and you tell them that you requested Support Management Attention, remember that they can reply with, “Oh, you requested management attention, then who did you speak to? 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. While discussing your Action Plan, request from the Support Manager to coordinate a call with Development Management. Remove the engineers and developers from the mix and go directly to the managers who control both of these resources. Let Development Management know how this bug is affecting your business. That Development Manager will give it to you straight whether a fix is feasible or not. Please don't do this for enhancement requests. Utilize the UserGroups, the ER Voting System, and associated CABs and SIGs.

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 support manager you’ve spoken to isn’t able to help you or the request for callback wasn’t returned, then request to speak to the next level of management (senior 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.

Chris Warticki is a member of the Global Customer Management team for Oracle Support Services .
On Twitter: @cwarticki

Reprinted with permission from Chris Warticki’s Oracle Support Blog.

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