Priority technical support for developers

Posted on 2009-12-15 21:51 UTC by Josh Triplett. Status: Under consideration

For the average software issue, developers report bugs, file ideas in brainstorm, and otherwise interact with the community to find and implement a solution.  However, occasionally a developer will run into a hardware issue or otherwise unfixable-by-the-community problem that truly requires Nokia to repair or replace the device.  In this scenario, getting a working device in a timely fashion becomes critical for the developer's continued participation, development, package maintenance, and other activities that benefit the community as a whole, Nokia included.

I would like to propose the addition of a priority technical support mechanism, specifically for developers.  This could take the form of an alternative support phone number or similar mechanism.  The primary characteristics of such a mechanism:

  • Drastically reduced hold times.
  • Little or no phone tree.
  • The presumption that the caller most likely has a real problem and thus needs fewer of the first-line filtering mechanisms designed to avoid confusing "I don't know what I'm doing" with "My phone is broken".  In general, just as developers know how to report bugs effectively, they know how to use technical support effectively, and only when actually needed.
  • Support staff with appropriate ability to push complex issues through to completion, without having to say "let me contact a supervisor and get back to you".

Having had a previous issue escalated to Nokia's existing priority support mechanism at one point, I know that they can get issues resolved in minutes or hours that would take the standard support weeks to sort out; the difference felt astonishing.

I don't think this would prove particularly burdensome for Nokia.  I'd propose that the mechanism used to qualify for priority support would narrow the list to relatively few developers overall, making for a very minimal support burden compared to the standard support.

(It might also prove nice to offer developers other support benefits, such as extended warranty periods, cross-shipped replacements, or faster shipping, but I want to keep this brainstorm idea focused.  Thus, if this particular idea seems reasonable and gets implemented, later brainstorm ideas could propose such additions.)

Solutions for this brainstorm


Solution #1: Priority support for developers with high karma

Posted on 2009-12-15 21:52 UTC by Josh Triplett.

Use the karma system.  Choose a minimum karma threshold to produce a sufficiently small group of developers that Nokia can effectively support them.  A quick check suggests that if Nokia provided priority support to only those developers who have karma > 200 (the same threshold used to qualify for the developer device discount), this would narrow the list to ~210 people.

Provide those people with information about contacting priority support.  Include appropriate warnings not to share or post that information.  (If it proves necessary, priority support could use some kind of verification mechanism, but hopefully that wouldn't prove necessary; people should know that if they abused this service it would get worse or go away.)

Latest activities to brainstorm Priority technical support for developers