This Monday morning three users, working for one of my clients, were unable to run Autocad on their PCs.
Friday evening all was well, and the computers were switched off during the weekend; this morning however, upon boot up, Autocad requested a serial number from the user.
We tried entering the requested serial number but the dialog simply ended up prompting us for the serial number again thus rejecting our previous input. When we finally gave up on these attempts, the following error message appeared : “The License manager is not functioning or is improperly installed” and then Autocad exited.
We tried to obtain help on Autodesk’s support site, without success: the online chat option status was ‘unavailable’, the call an agent option status was ‘unavailable’; the only visible available option was to send an email and hope that we would get an answer back before the end of the pre announced delay of 48hrs.
How alone I felt at that moment; how disappointed and let down I felt at having no one to call, no one to reach. You pay over four thousand four hundred euros a year for three licences and can’t even get support at 10am on a Monday morning – even though the contract stipulates that phone support is included.
I therefore sent an email requesting assistance and, having stumbled upon this option on another support page, scheduled a call, which I promptly registered for at the earliest available time slot (13h30 French time). This call would be handled in English since the earliest available time in French was on the following day.
In the meantime, support or not, the users needed to use their workstations so I uninstalled Autocad and installed a trial version in its place. I can’t imagine what users that don’t have any type of immediate technical support would have done on their own, twiddled their thumbs waiting for the Autodesk support call to come through ?
As luck would have it I wasn’t able to take the call at 13h30 because I was assisting another customer, by phone, at the same time. I did try to call back but the support service was apparently closed. Two more attempts to reach me were made at 14h30 and then at 17h30, again without success. It was only at 17h30 that my own attempts to call back were rewarded with an answer.
I described my client’s predicament to the person who took the call and asked to speak to a technician. I was told that the person handling my case was busy, but that he required a Teamviewer ID and password access to one of my client’s computers. I refused explaining that any unattended access to one of my client’s computers would have to be carried out in my presence, in other words “call me and I’ll set it up for you”.
I then received an email from the technician handling our ticket who stated once again that he was too busy to call me and asked me to provide him with a time and day later in the week at which I could be reached. He even tried to make me feel guilty by stating that he had had to hang up his previous call in order to contact me. Are there really so few technicians within the Autodesk support department that no one could handle our ticket on the same day of my call ?
I tried, via the Autodesk website, to schedule other call backs but apparently these were all ignored; I even called the support service in the US several times in order to open a new ticket. Unfortunately, the technician handling our case ‘owned’ our ticket and we apparently weren’t allowed to be served by anyone else.
I began asking for an address or phone number to which I could lodge a formal complaint but obtained none. I was told that a supervisor would call back, sometime this week. Gosh, this week !
You know how sometimes you get the feeling that you’re a valued customer ? Well, no surprises here, I just wasn’t feeling it.
The frustration that had accumulated throughout the day at not being able to reach anyone concerning this activation issue had reached its peak.
I decided to send my complaint anyway, yet also included an apology for having allowed this frustration to transpire during my conversations with the Autodesk support staff. This wasn’t the way things were supposed to happen and I shouldn’t have allowed my desperation to get the better of me.
Nonetheless I still didn’t understand why our request seemed so insignificant to Autodesk’s support staff and that it was quasi impossible to obtain any assistance whatsoever. Were we to be punished because we weren’t available to take the calls at the initially scheduled times ? The fact that we couldn’t get someone else to handle our ticket just made matters even worse.
Furthermore, going back to the initial situation, I’m still not convinced that my client’s computers are to blame for this breakdown. I find it very hard to believe that three computers, that were installed at the same time last year, broke down, with regards to Autocad access, on the same date and at the same time, two days before licence renewal is a case of simple coincidence; did I mention that the renewal option is set to automatic ?
I could be wrong of course but I suspect that this is solely a licencing/activation issue which to my mind can only be resolved once given the proper attention by internal Autodesk sales administration rather than by this constant focus on my client’s computers’ state of operation.
Having said that, I suppose that if the tables were turned I would prefer to point my finger at my customer’s computers rather than at my own support staff’s lack of availability, competence, or even resources; did the expression “cut-backs” spring to mind ?
Let’s face it, what’s the worse that could happen ? That a customer will complain ? Highly doubtful, who has the time to lodge formal complaints anymore ? Anyway, as long as they don’t know where or to whom to address them, we’ll be safe.
I can only conclude that the Autodesk support service is terrible and that their customer’s needs don’t seem to be, from my point of view of course, at the forefront of their priorities.
The situation was finally fixed the next morning at 7am thanks to a patient and available technician based in Singapore. Thanks Rifan.
It could be that this issue stems from the fact that Autocad had been initially installed using a common user account, the client’s Autodesk Manager account.