Asking about poor response time resulted in the sales team using personal attacks.

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Asking about poor response time resulted in the sales team using personal attacks.

L1 Bithead

Several times now Palo Alto sales representatives have accused me of the “fact” of my unresponsiveness/unavailability being the reason for a case taking so long (it was never resolved). This concerns me greatly as I have always tried to respond in a timely fashion and be available when needed. This accusation has been used several times over the last few months. I want to address it, to insure we can get past this to continue to work together without any false impressions.

 

I have carefully gone over the notes of the ticket and here is what I am seeing (over 12 days and 4 engineers with response times from Palo Alto up to 3 days at times):

 

alberthoffpauir_0-1702680507172.png

 

  1. Date/Time Opened - 8/11/2023 11:32 AM
  2. 8/11/2023, 01:57 PM - Kusuma MJayaramaiah contacted me asking “Please allow me some time to go through the Subject, Description, and files if present on the case and get back to you with my understanding and an action plan.”
  3. 8/14/2023, 04:17 PM – 3 days later, I sent an email asking for an update on this high priority case.
  4. 8/14/2023, 06:15 PM - Christy Jebamalar (different engineer) responded “We have assigned the case to an engineer who is currently available. Engineer will be reaching out to you shortly for assistance.”
  5. 8/14/2023, 06:23 PM - FahimAhamed Mansoori responded “I have scheduled a call for 9 AM Central time ( i.e. 7:30 PM IST ) for tomorrow.”
  6. Even though he contacted me after hours, I asked for the first business hour of the next business day.
  7. 8/15/2023, 09:28 AM – The engineer requested a file that I uploaded within 30 minutes (during the call).
  8. 8/15/2023, 10:56 AM - FahimAhamed Mansoori responded “I requested you to allow me some time to check this with the internal team”
  9. 8/15/2023, 05:23 PM – I uploaded the requested file. Same business day.
  10. 8/16/2023, 11:07 AM - Premchand S Gowda informed me that they were the new engineer on the case (third one) and requested “Please allow me some time to go through the case notes and I will get back to you soon.” (One day later)
  11. 8/16/2023, 01:29 PM – I responded “We need this resolved today. Please get someone to help, it's been 6 days” (within 3 hours).
  12. 8/16/2023, 02:27 PM – I uploaded another requested file (within 1 hour).
  13. 8/16/2023, 04:33 PM - Akshay Palarapu (4th Engineer) responded with “I am currently reviewing the information in the case and will update again shortly.”
  14. 8/16/2023, 05:40 PM (after hours) - Akshay Palarapu responded asking for more information.
  15. 8/17/2023, 09:31 AM – I provided the requested information (within 31 business minutes).
  16. 8/17/2023, 04:12 PM - Akshay Palarapu requested tech support files.
  17. 8/17/2023, 04:36 PM - Uploaded requested support file (24 business minutes)
  18. 8/17/2023, 07:58 PM (after hours) - Akshay Palarapu asked “Can you provide your availability for tomorrow”
  19. 8/18/2023, 08:10 AM (before business hours) – I responded with “I am available between 9 and 5 US Central time”
  20. 8/21/2023, 12:43 PM (Three days later) - Akshay Palarapu responded with “I will get back to you as soon as I have an update on the findings”
  21. 8/23/2023, 02:20 PM (Two more days later) - Akshay Palarapu responded with “Are you available for a 1 pm Central time Zoom session tomorrow?”

 

I responded that this conflicts with another meeting I had. Being as this was already 2 weeks old and we missed the installation date we had scheduled with professional services (after postponing a week) I asked for the ticket to be closed so we can reassess Prisma.

 

The longest response time I had to them was 3 business hours. Being that Palo Alto took days to respond at times, I felt my response time was stellar in comparison.

3 REPLIES 3

Cyber Elite
Cyber Elite

@albert.hoffpauir,

Your sales rep has a regional sales manager; if a sales rep isn't giving you the information that you need or not being helpful, I would ask for their manager's contact information. Haven't really had anyone from PAN try all that hard to defend TAC honestly, everyone is pretty aware at this point that it needs quite a bit of work. 

While I won't defend TAC and the response that you've gotten from what you have listed, I will say that the support level does play a rather large role in how helpful you'll find TAC. If this is a big priority for you as you've indicated, once you open a ticket call and get an engineer on the phone. They'll try to get rid of you right away once they've collected files so that they can review and put you back into your SLA window, don't let them end the call. If they aren't getting you what you need, ask for the duty manager and just keep escalating things. Sometimes when it comes to support it's okay to be the squeaky wheel and ask for continual escalation. 

While that entire process is playing out, I'd be engaging your account manager and sales engineer if you have one assigned to push it on the backend as well. 

 

As for your actual complaint about the ticket, do you actually have PAN professional services engaged on a deployment? It seems odd that they would be leaving you to deal with TAC for any issues when you already have professional services engaged. Do you have an account manager or sales engineer assigned to you that you're aware of? If you can't rope those in because you don't have them, I assume that you have contact information for professional services and have talked to them for scheduling correct? Maybe just try engaging them and see if they'll give you a hand outside of TAC. 

Bpry,
We did engage the sales team right away to let them know we were having issues, and they seemed very confrontational and accusatory.
In our last meeting, I asked about case response times and they immediately launched into personal attacks and baseless accusations (This is what prompted my breakdown of the case notes above). They stated in a meeting full of professionals that I was unresponsive and unavailable. When asked for evidence to back up their claims, they had none, they couldn't cite a single instance yet still angrily repeated their claims.


This has been happening often when we ask for assistance, they got involved (I have the emails) in a case I opened about not being able to renew certificates on our firewalls. They claimed that I didn't understand that certificates can't be renewed, you have to install new ones and point all the services to the new certificates every year. When I objected and informed them that we have been renewing them for many years on Cisco, Windows and even these same firewalls for many years now, they stood their ground and mocked me for thinking you can renew Entrust certificates.


I have no personal issues with them and have not attacked nor maligned them in a personal way. It shocked me that they think they can advert a conversation about the main link to our Prisma going up and down every 3 minutes (the cause of the first case) by attacking me on a personal basis.


I am many things but unresponsive or unavailable are not on that list.

Bpry

We did have Palo Alto professional services involved but due to a mix up, they claimed we only had the "quick start" services so we ended up going through their 3rd party representative to cover the interconnectivity and routing they stated they don't cover. It was the third party engineers that we had to put on hold for over two weeks, waiting for a response from Palo Alto on the tunnel going up and down to Prisma. We ended up putting the whole project on hold indefinitely due to the instability and their inability to correct it. It is still going up and down (4 months later) as both the sales team and TAC has lost interest in even fixing it enough for us to evaluate again (the reason for the meeting above)

It seems as soon as you pay for the hardware, they lose interest. Yes, we have tier 1 service contracts with them.

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