Milestone 'CARES' About End Users

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jun 16, 2015

Milestone has announced CARE which they tout cryptically as "Service Offerings for Continuous Return on Investment."

If you are familiar with Software Upgrade Plan (SUP), their previous program, this is SUP with more tiers.

In this note, we explain the CARE program, how it compares to the previous Software Upgrade Plan, and potential impact on end users, integrators, and Milestone themselves.

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Comments (12)

Here we go guys, Milestone are removing the integrator.

Whoever thought of this has no interest in the channel what so ever. Why on earth would a customer of ours be interesting in dealing with a support call about lets say a codec issue. I can count on one finger the amount of customers who are remotely interested in this. In the mean time the integrator is fielding calls from a hacked off end user who has been told by the customer Milestone support said its your camera..

So the integrator who has invested in commitment, expensive training courses, marketing etc gets side lined, why did we bother? Its not like the sales channel is protected you can get it anywhere now (probably why they are doing this, because they are swamped).

Support is under par at best, we struggle to get the gravity of for example a situation of a large system being offline due to a known bug in their software.

Your customer buys from the integrator - the solution from the integrator - it's the integrators issue to fix via the software vendor as a partnership.

The Elite should be a given for Gold and Platinum partners as default and in any other normal situation thats how it works. That is what a partner program is? We invest in training, marketing, support etc and sell the software. We buffer the crap from the software vendor in effect. In turn we are provided better buy rates ( trade pricing) and direct support. The software vendors gaining knowledge from the partners to improve and develop the software further.

What will happen is people will buy Milestone Corporate, with a care pack elite and fill up the Milestone support queue with questions like- how do i add a camera?

Very concerning, it is a position an ISV would only go to if you are going direct, after all why would you start asking for end user details and then do this a year later..

The end user filling up the support queue is definitely concerning. Basic hold times for tier 1 support is about 30 minutes with one person ahead of you already. Note that there was a statement in the press release earlier this month that Platinum and Diamond dealers have a separate support queue. I hold out hope that is still the case.

Oh I can tell you exactly what's happening... Milestone will appoint a third party (overseas) call center/support group to field the calls, so when you first contact them your going to get someone who does not have the first clue...

and this has already started. Congrats.

It did not take Cannon as long as I thought.

When you say that one of the benefits the end-user receives is 'basic tech support from the integrator' (for the Care Plus and the Care Minus options), what does that mean?

Are you saying that the integrator is obligated to provide this to anyone they sold the product to for free?

Integrators do this routinely / regularly. It is a basic part of being an integrator.

Quoting from above:

"Additionally, many integrators write benefits such as those found in these plans into their own support agreements. End users purchasing agreements may now question where support comes from, and why they are paying integrators for support Milestone may provide."

I asked "Are you saying that the integrator is obligated to provide [basic tech support] to anyone they sold the product to, for free?" You said

Integrators do this routinely / regularly. It is a basic part of being an integrator

So on the Care Basic Plan, how many years of free basic tech support does the integrator routinely provide? As long as the customer is using it?

"So on the Care Basic Plan, how many years of free basic tech support does the integrator routinely provide?"

False premise. Care Basic is basically access to their website. It's what pretty much every manufacturer does.

The only thing close to being 'tech support' is chat and end users do not get that. Fine print: 'End-customer tech support is available through Milestone partners for Milestone Care Basic and Milestone Care Plus'

As you can see from the comments above, what integrators are concerned about is that Premium and Elite increases the risk that Milestone is a competitor / alternative to what integrators provide.

Talking to a senior Milestone exec today. Care is not there to cut out the integrator and it's 100% not Milestones intention to do this. They actually seemed quite surprised that it would be taken that way and disappointed it's not communicating out correctly. So that's positive.

I believe that but is it really just a communication issue or is this poorly designed?

As was mentioned above, wouldn't this be a better approach to support integrators:

"The Elite should be a given for Gold and Platinum partners as default and in any other normal situation thats how it works. That is what a partner program is?"

I think it poorly designed, I still believe that support is a partner based element performed by a well trained integrator who is backed up. The point I made strongly that the investment an integrator makes in terms of commitment and training should be returned by milestone by onsite support, 24 hour support lines etc. not by a direct milestone to end user. I don't think they saw that as a viewpoint until I explained and spoke about this thread, so from that point I think it's poorly designed. The fact they listened and took onboard my comments was positive. It wasn't dismissed that's for sure.

Good feedback.

It's weird though because Milestone messed up the communication / design of their last big support change - Milestone's Unprecedented Support Charges

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