The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

Riverbed Technical Support

Posted by riverbedtest on October 20, 2008

More than 4500 enterprises depending on timely and knowledgeable technical assistance from Riverbed’s support engineers.  Riverbed customers are scattered throughout the globe, conducting IT operations at all hours throughout the 24 x 7 week.  To meet their support needs Riverbed’s technical support team is similarly deployed at 8 locations around the world (San Francisco, Sunnyvale, New York, London, Amsterdam, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo).  These support locations are staffed by more than 60 Riverbed support engineers with advanced degrees and certifications, including a majority of whom that either have or will shortly receive CCIE certifications.

To verify that Riverbed customers are receiving the quality of technical assistance that they need, Riverbed regularly conducts annual customer satisfaction surveys.  About one in five of those surveyed responded, and here is how they rated Riverbed’s customer support on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the favorable:

Customer_survey_3The figures from the most recent March 2008 survey show that overall customer satisfaction on average with Riverbed’s technical support was rated at 4.5 out of possible 5.  Furthermore, the survey respondents seemed to indicate that the Riverbed support teams responsiveness was particularly good.  The average score for all surveyed categories increased from 4.34 in March 2007 to 4.54 in March of 2008.

Now, an average overall score of 4.5 out of 5 might seem like a good score, but without a benchmark for comparison it’s just a number.  The real question is, how does Riverbed compare to the industry standard?  And of course, that would be Cisco TAC. 

Riverbed’s support team faces similar challenges as those faced by the Cisco support organization.  Both Riverbed and Cisco have customers that are distributed around the world.  Riverbed and Cisco products are deployed in the same data centers and branch office locations.  Riverbed and Cisco support engineers both face the same cultural and linguistic challenges from having a multi-national customer base.  And finally, the most significant fact is that just about all of Riverbed’s customers are also Cisco customers.  So in the survey we asked respondents how Riverbed’s support compared to Cisco’s, and the following diagram shows how they responded.Customer_survey_2_3

Out of 227 respondents in the March 2008 survey, 107 said Riverbed’s support was about the same as Cisco’s.  Another 42 said Cisco’s support was better, while 78 said that Riverbed’s support was better.

A clear majority of Riverbed’s customers believe Riverbed’s technical support capabilities are the same or better than Cisco TAC.  Why is that?  Well, I’d like to think it’s because Riverbed’s engineers are smarter than Cisco’s engineers, but I have no proof of that.  Rather, one reason could be that the Riverbed support team has the luxury of only focusing on one product solution. 

I have to give kuddos to the overwhelmed Cisco support engineer, who has 100’s of different and unrelated products that they are responsible for supporting.  Study and cram as they may, they can’t possibly be knowledgeable in every single product.  When someone asks the Cisco support engineer why their WAAS devices are slowing or dropping CIFS connections, the engineer’s deep background in networking topics such as OSPF and spanning tree is probably not going to be useful for figuring out why the CIFS oplocks are not being granted by the file server.   

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One Response to “Riverbed Technical Support”

  1. yzerman said

    As a customer I want to say your tech support is very good and I am very happy with it so far.

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