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Best and Worst of Manufacturers Technical Support

JoeJoe Junior MemberPosts: 99
This evolved from another thread on the forums, but I've been thinking about this for a long time. Over the years of programming and installing AV equipment, I've had to talk with alot of tech support departments. Some have been very knowledgeable and helpful and others have been downright ignorant of their own products.
So, who in your opinion has good tech support and who doesn't? I know that everytime I call ClearOne with a programming question, I will get the answer I need. And there is one manufacturer that makes VTC equipment that begins with P who actually told me to call back the next day and ask someone else.

BTW, AMX has very good tech support.

Joe
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Comments

  • NMarkRobertsNMarkRoberts Junior Member Posts: 455
    Sony Australia

    I was having trouble with a ?plasma serial link and two different support techs asked me which serial port it was plugged into, and refused to answer when I asked them if they knew what a serial port is.
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Old Timer Posts: 4,584
    Disclaimer: my observations are strictly a matter of my personal experiences, and may not be representative of the company named.

    AMX is usually pretty darned good :). Easily among the best. I rarely have to wait, and if I stump them (happens more than I like, but I think that says more about the caliber of problems I get into than their expertise), they tell me they are stumped and don't try to make something stupid up (like re-install Windows ... :/).

    Lutron is also generally very good.

    Runco has been hot and cold for me. I've had great techs, and I've had some who simply read the pertinent manual page to me. Hey, reading the manual is fine, but I have the manual. I read it myself, and it still doesn't work, don't just read it to me again ...

    Panasonic is generally good once you get through. But I can rarely afford to spend the hours + wait time to reach them. I have on occasion found my answer with Google faster than from Panasonic themselves.

    I had a wierd issue with a Vaux unit when I first started using them which turned out to be an obscure indexing bug in their firmware. The tech there spend hours with me working it out, and e-mailed me firmware upgrades, several times. Even after I found a workaround, they kept after it, and sent me an update weeks later that killed the bug once and for all. And, they credited the time I spent messing around against the purchase. They get full marks in my book, and now the kinks are out, I really like the product too.
  • Thomas HayesThomas Hayes Junior Member Posts: 1,164
    I agree that 99% of the AMX tech support guys are really great and go the distance to get the problem fixed. Then there are those companies that talk to you like your wasting their time and every possible answer is in the manual. I better not name companies because I still need my job.(Haven't won the lotto as yet)
  • mpullinmpullin Obvious Troll Account, Marked for Deletion Posts: 949
    Samsung

    Recently I had to contact Samsung to find out how to control one of their DLP TVs through its RS232 port. Their FAQ pages state, "Connection standards, control codes, and command values are contained in the Procedures for Controlling a DLP TV Using an RS-232C Connection manual. This manual is not currently available." Okay... why isn't it available?

    Their email support is useless: they sent me the same broken link twice.

    I called their Tier 2 department and got through in reasonable time. The guy I spoke to had the manual in question, but he refused to email or send it to me. Instead, he attempted to verbally describe its contents. I tried to write down everything he said in order to get the protocol that way, but it was difficult because he clearly did not understand what he was reading. For instance, he did not know that 0x means hexadecimal ("It's a zero and an x... a lowercase x"), and I could not get an intelligent answer to "What string do I have to send it to turn the power on?"

    Finally, when I brought up how inconveinient this is for integrators who want to use this TV in control systems, he admitted, "Yeah, we get a lot of requests for that."
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 4000+ posts Posts: 4,177
    Elan,

    (in my opinion)
  • TurnipTruckTurnipTruck Junior Member Posts: 1,485
    Best: AMX, Extron, Panasonic (You need to know the right people)

    Worst: BenQ (Avoid like plague)
  • Chip MoodyChip Moody Junior Member Posts: 727
    Hi "suck" factor...

    Sharp.
    Tascam. (Has promised to call back twice now regarding the same issue - I'm still waiting for either call)

    There are a few others - they're just not coming to mind right this second.

    - Chip
  • ProgressiveCodeProgressiveCode Junior Member Posts: 64
    Lg

    I contacted them a few times last year regarding help with RS232 control of their plasmas and LCDs. Every time I talked to a different "tech"... not one person I spoke to understood even generally what RS232 was... and none of them were able to do anything more than read to me from the same manual I was physically holding in my hands when I called them. I figured it all out without their help.
  • Cassidy@Rabone[email protected] Junior Member Posts: 13
    I was having trouble with a ?plasma serial link and two different support techs asked me which serial port it was plugged into, and refused to answer when I asked them if they knew what a serial port is.

    Pretty much anything that we come across that envolves Sony has been a drama
  • NMarkRobertsNMarkRoberts Junior Member Posts: 455
    Pretty much anything that we come across that envolves Sony has been a drama

    However in Auckland if you know the right numbers the support is superb.
  • rolorolo Junior Member Posts: 51
    Samsung is without question the worst technical support that I have ever received.

    AMX Rocks.
  • Chip MoodyChip Moody Junior Member Posts: 727
    Agreed. Samsung T.S. is pretty much useless.

    Also just had a small nightmare of a support issue with Philips. I guess if you're not buying a boatload of new HD Tivos from them, no one cares to get you to the right support person. I was handed from one support number to the next - I have about 8 or so "support" phone numbers on my notepad now, and none of the people at those numbers were able to help. I actually went >outside< of the tech/customer support chain to get someone on the phone that knew what I was asking about.

    Was at an AMX-sponsored show yesterday - the quality of AMX's support came up many times during the day. A great example that other companies should try to live up to.

    - Chip
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Old Timer Posts: 4,584
    I have to add Clear Blue to my "worst" list. I had a RF Matrix audio switch that was dropping out, so I sent it back to them. It comes back, presumably repaired, but control is gone. At all possible baud rates,, the output is garbage. I go to the front panel, turn a zone on - seems OK - turn it off, the panel responds, but I still hear audio. I scrol through the outputs, to see what they all say, the front panel locks up, the whole house turns on full blast. OK, real quick dash to the back of the amp, unplug the amps, reset the switch. GO back to the front panel, manually turn off every zone independantly ... scroll through them, all but the first two showing on.

    So, it's clearly time for the call to tech support. A voice mail unit answers, forwards me to ... the operators mail box. No options to get a tech, nothing. Just leave a message with the operator. Maybe some day they will get back to me. An hour and a half later, I'm back in my office, and my shipping department is complaining they charged $50 for shipping the unit to us, when it only cost us $15 to send it to them. He's been trying to reach them for two days for an explanation, but, guess what? - operator's voice mail box.

    /rant off ... half a day shot and a very unhappy customer
  • Thomas HayesThomas Hayes Junior Member Posts: 1,164
    I could tell you stories about being a Philips authorized repair depot way back in 80's and early 90's. They had a great product but no parts or service info available.
  • patbpatb Junior Member Posts: 140
    Any manufacturer that charges $$ for tech support is the worst in my book. To make matters worse there are some manufacturers that make you take classes (for a fee) and join their "club" for a fee that you have to renew each year in case paying once wasn't enough. Without paying this fee they won't give you tech support even though you are out in the real world trying to make their product work and make the customer happy. Can anyone think of a manufacturer that might try to do this?
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 4000+ posts Posts: 4,177
    I'm going to add Panasonic to this list. They will only speak to our trained panasonic phone people. I've sat in a conference call with them and one of our phone techs and they wouldn't evan answer a question posed by me.

    Now that we own a RF Spec Analyzer, I can document how WiFi unfriendly their PBX phone systems are.
  • mpullinmpullin Obvious Troll Account, Marked for Deletion Posts: 949
    ericmedley wrote: »
    I'm going to add Panasonic to this list. They will only speak to our trained panasonic phone people. I've sat in a conference call with them and one of our phone techs and they wouldn't evan answer a question posed by me.
    Did they answer the same question repeated by your phone tech?
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 4000+ posts Posts: 4,177
    mpullin wrote: »
    Did they answer the same question repeated by your phone tech?
    Actually, yes they did. I have this anecdotal story about a friend of mine and myself meeting Barry Manalow and the same thing happening. It was just like that. Our tech, in repsonse to the strange behavior, repeated what the guy on the phone said to me.

    The call knda went down hill from there.
  • KennyKenny Junior Member Posts: 209
    I have to put down as one of the worst. I have called them twice and both times they were of ZERO help.
    I spent more time trying to get them to understand that I wan't at Ft. Knox. The case number that they gave me was telling that these monitors were sold to Ft. Knox. They wanted to send a service center guy onsite to troubleshoot for me.
  • JeffJeff Junior Member Posts: 374
    These are both based on only a few experiences, so I could've just won the tech support lottery.

    MediaPOINTE (Advanced Media Design) seems to be pretty decent. I called two weeks ago with my unit nonfunctional, took about 10 minutes, they decided by themselves to send me an advance replacement and sent it out that day. Once it came in, I had some trouble with the protocol and couldn't figure out how to do something. I called and asked my question, and the guy's first response was "I'm not sure, let me find out for you." Left for like 5 minutes, came back with the answer.

    He clearly understood that I had the manual in front of me and didn't need him reading it to me, so he found someone who could correctly answer my question, and then when he came back with the answer, he brought the guy who could answer it WITH HIM and they were on speakerphone, so any further questions I had could be answered by the specialist.


    Also, I called Analog Way about 3 weeks ago. They don't have a TS number on their website, so I just called their main office and said I was calling for Tech Support. The receptionist said "Hold On, I'll get Patrick." Once I had Patrick on the line, he took less than 5 minutes to solve both of my problems, which were admittedly fairly simple, but he clearly knew exactly how the menu structure of the unit worked and how RS232 communication works, and was able to describe how my hex character and control value were being placed in the wrong order.

    I appreciate knowledgeable techs :)

    J
  • Chip MoodyChip Moody Junior Member Posts: 727
    Visions of "Galaxy Quest" spring into my mind here...
    mpullin wrote: »
    Did they answer the same question repeated by your phone tech?
  • VLCNCRZRVLCNCRZR Senior member Posts: 216
    IMHO,

    I would have to add ClearOne to the list of good tech support.

    They always spend time with you on the phone to listen to
    call quality or microphone setups.

    They will even give you suggestions for any tweaks to
    make in the processor.

    Worst - Polycom, LG, and Lectrosonics (in no certain order).
  • iainshawiainshaw Junior Member Posts: 133
    Netstreams

    The Tech support people there are (usually) really good...

    ...problem is that you know that for sure because you have to phone them so often
  • gregrgregr Junior Member Posts: 54
    Sanyo

    I dread calling Sanyo tech support, not because they are hard to reach, or not knowledgeable, but because the apparently lone individual working in the department has such a damned superior attitude. Even before you describe the problem, he has decided that you are an idiot, and that the problem must be caused by something that you did wrong.

    I called once about a job where 3 identical Sanyo projectors were randomly turning themselves on. I was told there was no way they could do that (in those words).

    I re-wrote my code, replaced the rs-232 cable with RS-422 and optically-isolated converters with no success.

    Finally my supervisor suggested installing Surge-X surge suppressors and UPS units local to each projector, which we did, and they have not acted up since.
  • adimexadimex Junior Member Posts: 21
    Kramer Electronics was by far the worst I got, I had bad times with Tandberg (They barely know their own Video Switch), Polycom's RMA is great but their tech support is self-conceded. I got stuck with a LG Plasma display once, I didn't know LG made plasma panels, HP didn't know either so that went nowhere.

    BiAmp has awesome support, Extron is very decent except when it comes to MLC drivers and such, Panasonic, Epson, all were good to me...

    Never had to contact AMX for anything :-p.
  • a_riot42a_riot42 AMX Wizard Posts: 1,619
    Maybe I have been lucky but I can't think of the last TS call I made that ended badly. I thought Polycom support was great and AMX is always great. I tend to call only the smaller companies like Extron, McIntosh, Lutron, Kaleidescape, and have had excellent luck with almost all of them. I won't ever call Sony, Sanyo, Pioneer or any of those large public corporations since it always reminds me of calling HP or Dellhi support. I did have one bad experience with a tech at Lutron where he actually phoned my boss behind my back and told him that I told the tech that Lutron sucked! Of course I didn't say that, but it sure got me in hot water for the day and I can't understand why a tech would bother to do that to an AMX programmer who is calling at the behest of the lighting guy who didn't know how to set an IP address. He must have been having a case of the Mondays.
    Paul
  • playskool1playskool1 Junior Member Posts: 64
    Joe wrote: »
    This evolved from another thread on the forums, but I've been thinking about this for a long time. Over the years of programming and installing AV equipment, I've had to talk with alot of tech support departments. Some have been very knowledgeable and helpful and others have been downright ignorant of their own products.
    So, who in your opinion has good tech support and who doesn't? I know that everytime I call ClearOne with a programming question, I will get the answer I need. And there is one manufacturer that makes VTC equipment that begins with P who actually told me to call back the next day and ask someone else.

    BTW, AMX has very good tech support.

    Joe

    Pandberg? :lolhit:

    the best tech support out there that i have experienced are AMX, Extron, Biamp.
  • HARMAN_rgellingHARMAN_rgelling AMX Engineering Posts: 96
    AMX Tech Support

    Nice to hear the forum giving kudos to the AMX support team. They are a great group of people and genuinely care about the problems you face and do their best to resolve the issues.
  • AuserAuser Junior Member Posts: 506
    rgelling wrote: »
    Nice to hear the forum giving kudos to the AMX support team.

    The same goes for the Australian team. They are FAR more knowledgable about their product than the other mob's TS crew.
  • rfletcherrfletcher Junior Member Posts: 217
    DHawthorne wrote: »
    Disclaimer: my observations are strictly a matter of my personal experiences, and may not be representative of the company named.

    I'll borrow your disclaimer :D
    Joe wrote: »
    This evolved from another thread on the forums, but I've been thinking about this for a long time. Over the years of programming and installing AV equipment, I've had to talk with alot of tech support departments. Some have been very knowledgeable and helpful and others have been downright ignorant of their own products.
    So, who in your opinion has good tech support and who doesn't? I know that everytime I call ClearOne with a programming question, I will get the answer I need. And there is one manufacturer that makes VTC equipment that begins with P who actually told me to call back the next day and ask someone else.

    BTW, AMX has very good tech support.

    Joe

    I don't even call Polycom for support on their products anymore. I just call our distributor; Polycom just takes way too long to even talk to you.

    My Good TS List:
    AMX - My gold standard to compare all other tech support to :D. They've never failed to solve a problem I've thrown at them, almost always pick up the phone promptly, and are always so pleasant to talk to.
    ClearOne - Always solve the problems I've thrown at them, and are willing to spend a great deal of time on the phone with you helping you tweak systems when you're having difficulty getting them right.
    ScanSource (Polycom Distributor)
    Panasonic's plasma display support people

    My Bad TS List:
    NSI/Leviton, Polycom, LifeSize
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