Vendors are failing customers almost 25 per cent of the time whens. dealing with hardware maintenance and support problems, with onsite response time being a particular area of weakness.
According to Eric Rocco, principal industry analyst and research director for hardware services at Dataquest, 62.1 per cent of users are unhappy with the speed at which suppliers mobilise staff and send out parts to their sites - even though this is a key requirement in most service level agreements.
Rocco said at the research firm's ServiceTrends '99 conference in San Francisco last week: 'Vendors are are failing customers almost one out of four times and it's not a very good situation. Quality is still not where it needs to be.'
Of the 211 organisations questioned in April, 25.6 per cent of users were also dissatisfied with the availability levels of parts, 24.2 per cent felt they were not being given value for money, while 17.1 per cent were unhappy with telephone response times for technical support.
On a scale of one to five, customers saw the need for vendors to have a single point of contact as the single most desirable attribute, with a rating of 4.3.
Price competitiveness was also given a high rating of 4.19, although Rocco pointed out that if vendors competed on price, it tended to result in poor quality packages because they were unable to provide high quality at cheap prices.
While customers were keen to have same-day support, they were not necessarily prepared to pay for the extra costs associated with such a service.
The situation is being made worse by the limited availability of multi-vendor services parts, which makes it difficult for suppliers to offer support on a variety of products to deliver on the promise.
The market for hardware support services is largely stagnant due to vendors trying to compete on price, which translates into poor service quality and a reluctance on the part of customers to renew contracts.
Rocco predicted that in the future, customers would settle for less service support because products would become more reliable. Instead, they would opt for longer warranties with manufacturers, he said.
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