Member Discussion

Bad Manufacturer Support

I noticed this report for the Best Manufacturer Support is from 2014. I saw there was also the worst report from 2014 as well. I think another report should be done but this time actually do testing in some manner for different types of support whether that be from email, phone, text, etc. I noticed on the worst report from integrators, Digital Watchdog wasn't mentioned. I don't buy much from them because I don't find them innovative and I don't think of them as a manufacturer since they seem to OEM much of their products from companies such as Network Optix.

They do have the DW Spot monitor which is basically a stripped down DVR without a hard drive. It has worked fairly well, except for today when I got a call that the monitor wasn't working. This install was April of 2016. The unit is supposed to come with a 5 year warranty. It boots up, provides a splash screen logo, and then goes dark and the unit can't be pinged. Devices aren't perfect and I get that so I called their customer support number and listened to a long list of options. I clicked for tech support and waited 13 minutes until I finally decided to leave a message. That was at 2:00 p.m. EST and it's now 9:00 p.m. EST without a call back. I don't care for their email support since they use a stupid contact form. They don't even have a support ticket system (at least they didn't) that was even close to what Network Optix has. I don't have time to fill out a contact form for support. I want to email support@exampleaddress.com and receive acknowledgement of a ticket being created. Even Axis at least has a login with ticket support.

So I had to laugh about this because I just got an RC car from Traxxas for my daughters to have fun with. I got the Lipo battery and called their tech support because after reading the manual I wanted clarification on the charging break-in period. The phone only asked if I was calling about electric products or nitro products. The total time on the phone with them answering my questions was only 6 minutes. When I call SnapAV, they have great support with a call back option and all I need to do is leave my number. I tested this the other day and I got a call back within about 10-15 minutes. I recently had to call Atlona and their support has been very responsive and ongoing as I am now speaking with their escalation team and Tier 3 support. They at least want to solve my issue.

I don't need support very often, but when I do I expect a decent response time. Nuvico at one time had decent phone support. They would also screen phone calls to try and limit calls to integrators only. This isn't the first time I have had issues with DW, but they have some of the worst customer service in my opinion. I always get decent support from Network Optix and they try to send me to DW telling me they are better. Every time I find the opposite is true. If it weren't for Spectrum, I have no reason for them to exist.

Has anyone else had similar issues with DW or am I just unlucky? If you don't expect phone support, don't offer it and don't list your phone number. I had good luck with Axis recently. They sent me revised firmware that fixed the issue thus far. That issue was solved within a day.

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If you can't get someone on the phone when your standing in the customer's location its time to find a new manufacturer. If it's cheap stuff you will get what you paid for everytime.

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Fortunately for DW, I like Spectrum and Network Optix provides better support to me than DW, so I can mostly avoid dealing with DW. I don't necessarily  expect to get support when in the customer's location but I do expect a call back promptly when phone support is an option.

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As a manufacturer, I'm curious, would security integrators like to use a web based chat program for tech support questions.  At Eagle Eye we don't currently offer it, but I've considered it.  I just don't know what people would like.  

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I would be interested in web based chat but I would caution you with this; you must get one that lists when the chat is available and when it's not. Many offer this as an option and then don't reply promptly. I expect a pretty quick response via web-based chat. Unfortunately, SnapAV offers this but they don't really make it clear that it's not for tech support and really only for sales. They did quickly refer me to phone support though. I would also make sure if you offer it that you make it clear about the reason for web chat. I wish all manufacturers would clearly list their preferred method of tech support under the contact us link and under any support links.

Any page I might land on should include the best support method for sales and the best support method for tech support. I get really turned off  by large phone menus when I call for support. An operator, while they may cost more, generally is a friendly voice that quickly gets me connected to the right department.

Looking at your page, it would seem you are happy to field a phone call and you have a contact support request. Assuming your phone support is good, I would suggest that you add the expected typical response time if a user fills out the contact form. Does that contact form start a support ticket automatically? I do get confused by the "Request a Call" button. I think I was expecting a pop-up to enter my name and number and would get a call right away. No hours are listed on /company/contact so I'm not sure when I might get a call back. I like the way Amazon does phone support as they do it really well without being on hold for long periods of time.

One off topic question. Is the image on your home page a picture of the actual Tier IV data center you utilize, or is that a fancy impressive looking stock photo. If it's a stock photo, change it to represent the company realistically. If it is the data center you utilize...cool. Decent website though and it's nice to see one that is responsive.

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I feel there is value in a web based chat program.  Axis has been using a chat support program for a while.  If the chat program enables easy screen sharing that would be even better than what Axis has.  Since you represent a cloud based product it almost seems natural to go with a chat program.

If a web based chat support program was really functional and fairly quick on answers I think it would rapidly become the preferred method.  Unfortunately what I have seen lately is that the person on the other end is split between 10 different chats, doesn't understand the product so they are conferring with someone else, or are just an atrociously slow typer.

The most novel way I could see support going in the future is to directly embed chat/remote support into the VMS or other software.  Something similar to Amazon Mayday would be interesting.

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Assuming you can get the integrator to bother to communicate with the vendor I think a (reasonable) web based chat solution can be quite helpful.  This does of course assume the integrator bothers to ask for help and they know enough (e.g. one would hope you don't have to teach them which end of the terminator resistor is the positive end...)

Phones work too, both ways.  Integrators with insufficient clue to pick up the phone and call the support line are failing just as bad as they would for not clicking on the chat button in the web page.

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As a DW Manufacturer's Rep (not a direct employee), I would first like to issue an apology for the hold time, and more for the lack of a call back. Second, the hold time was abnormally long, and our support team, is (usually) very prompt, but they are human.  May I ask what territory (state) you are in, and have you reached out to your local rep for support?  I can't speak for all of our (DW's) rep firms, but most are pretty technical.  

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I have been busy and haven't been able to respond. I am currently on the phone again waiting for DW to answer. It said I was number 3 in line. We are at 18 minutes currently. There is also no need for the menu heavy phone system. It's way too over complicated. I would much prefer to email support@digital-watchdog.com and be put into a ticket system. I'm in Ohio. I haven't reached out to a local rep as I should be able to call the company and get support. Should I be always contacting a local rep. If so, DW should remove their phone number at the top of their website. I basically need tech support to confirm unit is bad and to then get RMA. I also like to make sure this is a unique product issue and not widespread. 

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UI1,

please reach out to Jake w/ SMC.  He's given his blessing to post his info and is awaiting your call/correspondence.

 

Jake Welch
Business Development Manager-OH, Western PA
Cell: 937-527-8059
jake@cctv-access.com

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Thanks for this info. I did finally get through and started the RMA process. I will keep the information above in mind for next time I have an issue so I can hopefully get it resolved in a more prompt manner.

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Just curious, so whom do you consider to be innovative manufacturers?  

Yes, DW does OEM the DW Spectrum from NX...does that make ONSSI any less innovative as they have OEM'd from Milestone, in the past, and now Seetec (spelling?)?  DW has the only 48MP@15fps camera on the market, a lot of HD Analog products with unique features, and a multi-format HD over Coax encoder (supports AHD, TVI, CVI, and CVBS).  Innovation has many definitions.

Not throwing stones, just curious as to what is "innovative", in the industry's eyes.

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I consider integration to be innovative. Spectrum would be the best product you offer. Integrate all of your products to work with Spectrum. Have one app that works with all products. Make that app be mobile friendly in terms of good UI design. The Spectrum app is decent design. DW Mobile...not so much. To my knowledge the 48MP wasn't designed by DW and isn't currently owned by DW. I believe the company is Secubest. If Axis, for instance, designed the 48MP camera or Avigilon, it would most likely look much nicer and the mount would look much nicer as well. I don't care who physically manufactures the product. It's really who provides the R&D and design of the product. Apple products aren't manufactured by Apple employees in the US, but their design and attention to detail in terms of finished product and software shows.

I'm not saying DW is all bad, but if they unified their entire product line to be more uniform, that would be innovative. Let's face it, the AHD cameras aren't really what sets a company apart. It really comes down to how good the software is. Hikvision and Dahua have a long way to go on the software front to really compete on the level of Spectrum and other VMS software packages. I would like to see all the hardware products running or being built to run on almost an embedded version of Spectrum.

I would really like to see Spectrum integrate with automatic license plate system. I don't believe that it currently does that.

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We love Spectrum, after using Tape Recorders, DVRs and NVRs for 25 years we finally found our way to VMS's and I met with everyone and tried everything. Spectrum was the only VMS that met our needs. That's not to say others weren't good they just didn't fit our client base.

Our rep firm is pretty good and we're happy with them. The tech support at HQ is ok, other than DMP I have never had great luck with tech support. If DW can't answer my question NX has quickly. For now this relationship works well for me and I'm happy with it. I'd like to see more development around the spectrum line.

I really like DWs panos I realize they no longer own the company who manufactures them but that's OK with me. 

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Hi John, what features/characteristics make Spectrum the VMS that uniquely meets the needs of your client base?

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I'm a big integrator of DW Spectrum and here are my reasons I continue to deploy it to all my customers:

 

Best and easiest search for video

Quick export to native .nov format for easy playback

Failover server capability

Great database indexing and rebuilding capability

 

I have my list of CONs, but prefer to keep this reply "happy"

 

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Perhaps a new discussion could be started listing the pros and cons of Spectrum. I am interested in the cons you have. I have a few of my own, but it's a relatively short list compared to the pros.

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