Customer sues Salesforce.com over support service

An upgrade to Premier Support came with a higher price tag but not the expected benefits, one customer claims

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"These 'options' are galling to Bray and completely unacceptable," adds the demand letter, which was also filed in court.

On balance, Salesforce.com's actions "have damaged Bray's reputation with its customers, and wasted Bray's time," its complaint states.

Bray has paid about $290,000 for Premier Support with Administration, according to a court filing. Its lawsuit demands the return of its fees along with interest, attorneys' fees and costs.

As of Monday, it did not appear that Salesforce.com had filed a formal response to Bray's complaint. Salesforce.com does not comment on pending litigation, a spokeswoman said.

Given that only half of the story is public so far, it's hard to conclude what really went on between Bray and Salesforce.com, said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research.

However, "response time and resolution time have never been the same," he said. "Most vendors count on the automated email as the response."

Language dialects, on the other hand, "are something to look out for in support," Wang said. "We often see this as an issue and counsel teams to validate this ahead of time. What would be interesting is to see the logs of the calls and see what happened and if resolution was provided or not."

Still, the matters referenced in Bray's lawsuit "are simple issues that could be resolved with visibility and attention from the executive team," he said. "This is why it's important to have an executive sponsor [at the vendor] if your organization is large enough or you've purchased a lot of licenses."

If a customer is too small to warrant an executive sponsor, it at least should determine who its direct account representative reports to, so it can escalate an issue to that individual if needed, according to Wang.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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