Story Time: Support Hijinx

Getting software support has a terrible reputation.  Sometimes we get awful support from our own software vendors.  It makes us cringe. It doesn’t have to be this way!  Of course our drive to provide outstanding support goes beyond trying to best our own experiences.  Minerva customers rely on AWL to ship product, it’s as simple as that.  Mission-critical means exactly that.  But we try to keep the Minerva blog a bit more conversational and light-hearted.  Here are two feel good support calls we’ve fielded over our tenure.

Our IT readership will appreciate this one.  It boils down to one golden rule: test your backups.  A customer had a data failure on the server running AWLview WMS.  No problem with regular backups.  Except when you just go through the motions and don’t test them.  We received a frantic support call, but database backups are done outside the WMS application.  Luckily it was by chance that we had received a set of production data just a week before to test an enhancement we were providing to the customer!  Not that many people would be ecstatic to lose a week’s worth of production data, but compared to the alternative it was well worth it.

This one always cracks me up.  AWL relies on a handful of external systems to function: server and database integrity, network bandwidth availability, wireless connectivity for RF devices, and material handling equipment to function properly, just to name a few.  But AWL is the only piece of the puzzle the user interacts with, so when there is a problem, it’s an AWL problem, end of story.  We have a customer with a 24/7 support plan that utilizes horizontal carousels.  Lots of them.  We receive a 2am support call.

Caller: AWL isn’t working!

Tech: Tell me about the issue you see!

Caller: The screen has a carousel error!

Tech: Is there something physically wrong with the carousel?  Was the photo-eye tripped?  Is the motor powered?  Is the controller displaying an error?

Caller: A bolt came out of the track and it stopped running!

Bolts come out of track, I understand that.  And our support number is right there on the workstation.  Truth be told we actually prefer when we can pinpoint support issues to AWL, it’s something we can control and correct.  Unfortunately, we do not yet possess a digital wrench for this kind of remote support.  R&D is making significant progress.