Exacq Improving Technical Support, Responding To Integrator Complaints

By John Honovich, Published on May 21, 2018

Exacq had been a long-term favorite of integrators, but since their 2014 Tyco acquisition, Exacq has fallen in IPVM integrator studies (though still one of the favorite VMSes). Most recently, Exacq suffered significant integrator complaints in IPVM's 2018 worst technical support results.

Now, Exacq and its parent company JCI have quickly responded, saying that they are making significant improvements to technical support, including improved processes and new hires. In this note, we examine the issues integrators had with Exacq and what JCI / Exacq are doing to fix this.

Problems ********

*** ******* ******* ** far, *********** *****, **** the **** **** *****, e.g., "***** - *** HOLD *****!", "***** - Never *********", "***** - long **** ****", "***********. Longer **** ****** ** hold *****, ***** **** 30 *******", ***., ***." Secondarily, ***** **** ****** getting *** ***** ******.

Response - *** / *****

*** / ***** **** IPVM:

** ****** ******* ** putting *** ********* *****, including ******* ***** *** taking **** ** ****. When ** ****** ***** of ***** ********** (*** ****'* survey ****** ********* ****), our ****** **** ******* have **** ******* ** a ******* ** ******** them, ********* *** **** wait *****; ********* **** our ********* *** *** own ********* ******* ***** in ***** ** ******* an *********** ****** ** action ** ******* *** challenges.

***** ********** *******:

  • ********** *** ******* ******* flow ** ******* ******* with *** **** ********* agent ******* *** **** to ** ******* * series ** “******” ** get ***** ***** ********.
  • * *** “***********” ****, their **** ************** ** to ** *********** ********* to *** ********* ******* Team ** ************ *** resolve ******.  ** *** piloted **** **** ** some ** *** ***** technical ******* ********** **** great *******.
  • *********** ** ******** ***** to ***** ***** ******** Technical ******* ******* ****** the ******** ** ******.

** **** ******* ***** steps ** ********* **** of ***** ********** *** will ** ******* ******* out ****** **** *** team, ***** ** ******* will **** ******* ****** highlighted ** ****'* ****** *** bring ***** **** ******* back ** *** ******** the ********* ******.

**** **** ********* **** they *** ****** **** technical ******* ***************, ******:

*** – **** **** started *** **** *** starting **** – ** the *** ** ***.  We **** ********* *** headcount *** ***** *** heads **** ******** ******** their ******* ********. 

Proper ********

**** ** *** ****** response *****, ************* ** this ********, ** *** typical. *** ***** ********* ignore ******** (*.*., *****) or ****** ******* (*.*., Arecont) ****** **** ******* them ********. *******, ** doing **, *** ********* can **** * *********** amount ** ***** **** as **** **********, **** integrators, *** ********** **** problems **** ****** *** will ******* ***** ******** for ********* ************** *** making *******.

Time **** ****

**********, **** ****** ******* ** this (*) ******** **** times *** (*) ******** that *** ***** ******* are ********. ************* *** determining * **** *** important ***** ***** *** there need ** ** ******** improvements *** *********** ** the **** *** ******. We **** ** ******* track ** **** *** encourage Exacq *********** ** ****** their ***********, **** ** bad. 

Comments (19)

It is no exaggeration in suggesting that one of the annoying things in our industry is having difficulties or not readily available  access to Technical support  to respond to presented cases.

I feel the response to the Integrator complaints by JCI/ Exacq is a right step in the right direction and should be coupled with a quick and smart action in order to maintain  momentum.

"This is the proper response which, unfortunately in this industry, is not typical. Too often companies ignore problems (e.g., Lenel) or attack critics (e.g., Arecont) rather than address them directly. "

This prognosis ignores the fact that Exacq never appeared on the "worst tech support list' until after they were acquired by JCI (et al).

Crisis writers and their 'we hear you' platitudes do not dissuade me from my opinion that JCI (et al) fucked up Exacq's historically sound tech support processes and procedures and their dealers have clearly suffered because of this.

Crisis writers and their 'we hear you' platitudes

This statement was from JCI / Exacq management directly, not anyone in PR nor marketing, so I would genuinely put more weight in that.

"This statement was from JCI / Exacq management directly, not anyone in PR nor marketing, so I would genuinely put more weight in that."

really?

so JCI messed up what Exacq has traditionally been pretty good at and I am supposed to believe their spokesmouth that replies to media inquiries?

their spokesmouth that replies to media inquiries

Again, this is not a 'spokesmouth' nor 'media' relations person but management. You are entitled to not believe it. And JCI / Exacq needs to deliver on actual technical support experience. If integrators are still complaining 3 months from now, surely we will cover and criticize this again.

In all fairness, Exacq had level 2 issues before they were acquired, i just put up with it because they still did a great job at remaining open platform and growing their integration list.

The other, and in my opinion, larger issue, is most new camera and other integrations are Tyco specific lately. Everything else gets pushed back or never gets integrated (which i get, but it’s disappointing given their history). This has become extremely apparent in the last 2 years and makes it difficult to continue utilizing their software.

If you’re not leading with American Dynamics or Axis, you better check each camera model and read in detail the integration report if it’s there. Even if there is one, it’s sometimes crippled. I dont believe its by design (or at least hope it’s not), just lack of resources or enough allocation into resources other than those two manufacturers.

The issue with hold times is directly related to Tier 1 training.  Took an Exacq Tier 1 support rep 23 minutes today to find out if you need an SSA to upgrade to the latest version of Exacq Edge or not.  This is basic stuff that Tier 1 should be able to answer much more quickly.  

More examples like this are easy to come up with.  Simply call Exacq Tier 1 support and ask them pretty much ANY question you like, they will have zero idea and put you on hold.

I would agree with that. Initially when hold times got too long (30+ minutes), they used Tier 1 as an answering service to take down notes/info then you'd get a call back from Tier 2 once you got to the top of their queue. I thought it was just going to be an initial maneuver to handle increased call volume until they got additional staff trained, but it hasn't changed in the past couple years.

In theory, it makes business sense to have one team gather information then another better trained/paid to execute, but that methodology doesn't fit our industry if they continue to call back with actual support after several hours. I'm sure it makes their support analytics look better, but getting a call back from Tier 2 6-8 hours later doesn't work as you can't have techs waiting for a call (and don't miss the call or you're starting over).  

Tier 2 used to be elevated calls for disc array issues and the like; everything else could be handled by Tier 1. Calling now though, I know going into it that Tier 1 is phone "Reception" and I'm going to have to wait till 4-5pm before I can get the problem resolved or my questions answered. 

I think it’s OK if Tier 2 take up to a week to come with a solution or a “should fix” procedure to solve a case.

What I don’t like is that Tier 1 can’t solve more complex questions than documented previously.

I think there should be a “Tier 1+” faster that Tier 2 and with the ability to identify (may solve) complex problems, for example those caused by network ports closed, firewall blockings, OS user rights policies, NAS availability...

For me it's not only the lack of technical support help, which is dismal.  It's the quality control.  ExacQ has been running specials and pushing integrators like myself to use their hardware.  We've found out after a few months of it in the field, that the hardware is loaded with issues.  ExacQ's solution is to keep going back to the site and upgrade this or swap out that.  They have shown zero concern for the cost associated with extra trips and man hours needed to do this.  

#4, can you elaborate on what specific issues with what specific hardware? It would help inform other people who may be impacted by this. Thanks.

We've had lots of hard drive failures, problems with false reporting of failed drives.  Software RAID configuration issues and a few NIC card problems.  Most of our problems have roots in storage though.  We had one customer with over 60 hard drive failures in less than a year with their A-Series boxes.  Their support answer was to give us free drop shipping of new drives to the customer location(s).  The false reporting has also given us numerous problems.  The system was reporting the drives as failed, when they were 100% operational.  Software updates were required to fix the problem, but again, requiring us to go onsite, yet again.  We have been a very loyal ExacQ user, but we are now looking to change to providing hardware from somewhere else. 

Were they the 4U A-Series or the 2U or Desktop versions of the A-Series you had the HDD failures on?

We've had the most failures (I'd say 85% of our problems) with the 2U A-Series.  But also have had failures with the LC and 4U Z-Series boxes.  

Don't sound like your irritated when speaking to tech support, as they get offended and will hang up on you. I was on the phone with them for over an hour and was in a high noise environment and I was raising my voice to get over the noise and the tech got offended and hung up on me. My issue was with a failed connection to the server software for the raid drives, as the raid was our recording storage drive and the software didn't see it so it had nowhere to store video. Now I have no way to get the raid connected back to the server.

I don't think Exacq has done a thing to improve tech support. The mind set they have is annoyed. My team has been telling me this for a while and I experienced myself this week. When you get someone that is annoyed very first thing you know the call is going to bad. So I'm leaving this comment in hopes that they can take action to improving the morale in tech support.

#7, thanks for your first comment. Recent event: JCI Coronavirus Cuts

"The mind set they have is annoyed."

Hey #7,

I spent my early years in tech support (not in the surveillance industry) and I can tell you that this is Cardinal Sin Numero Uno when it comes to callers perceptions of tech support efforts.

When I ran support teams I would hire entirely based on attitude - I couldn't care less how technical they were.

Technology can be taught. Attitude can not be taught.

Exacq is so 1990s (what if feels like). It is our own VMS offering and I never bid with it. Nothing great about it.

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