User Guide

How BigTime Handles Customer Issues

  

We’ve got processes in place and teams of experts available to answer your BigTime-related questions, address your software concerns, and provide additional fee-based training and consulting services.

Each need is different and some are more complex than others, which causes timeline deliverables to vary. In this article we explain our process for resolving any challenges you have with BigTime, so you know when and how your issue is being handled.

Our Customer Support Team is Your Concierge

Your first contact will likely be a member of our customer support team—think of this team as your BigTime concierge service. They handle about 95% of our customers’ challenges.

Customer support will help you by:

  • Answering product questions.
  • Pointing you to the right how-to article(s) on our website.
  • Helping you sign up for online training, such as our weekly webinars.
  • Providing solutions to common issues that come up, from resetting a password to working through an issue with your sync agent.

Sometimes a customer support agent can’t help you with an issue because the issue requires access to restricted data or a higher level of technical expertise. Fortunately, support agents have access to specialists at BigTime that handle these issues.

Categorizing your Escalated Issue

When an issue is beyond the support team’s capabilities, your agent will create a ticket detailing the issue you’re experiencing. Then, our support team leads will review the details and classify your issue into one of the following categories:

  • Known fixes.
  • Bugs and critical bugs.
  • Research stories.
  • Feature requests.
  • Consultation services.

The response time (and the deliverable) for each of these categories is different. Once your issue is categorized, you’ll get an email to let you know (a) what category your issue fits into and (b) what the next steps are. Your agent will stick with the issue until it’s closed, and they can keep you informed along the way.

Once your ticket is categorized, it’s passed along to the appropriate BigTime expert: a consultant, programmer, or data specialist.

Here’s a quick outline of how our team approaches each of the issue types above.

Known Fixes

If the problem you are having has a known, tested solution, then our level two support techs have the expertise and security access required to resolve it.

A ticket with a known fix is usually handled in one of three ways:

  • The issue is resolved behind-the-scenes, and you’ll get an email from them to let you know they’ve fixed your problem.
  • The tech provides step-by-step instructions for you to resolve the problem on your own.
  • A support agent conducts a remote conference to walk through the solution together.

Tickets which have a known solution are usually resolved within 24 business hours. If applying the fix requires your participation, then we’ll try to schedule time with you and timelines will be driven by your availability.

Bugs and Critical Bugs

Our Quality Assurance (QA) team identifies and helps eliminate the vast majority of bugs before we release a product update. But sometimes bugs occur after customers use a feature in “the real world.” If you are using a BigTime feature doesn’t work as intended, your support team may identify your ticket as a bug.

If your ticket is related to a bug, then your agent will send your ticket to our development team. Your agent is responsible for writing step-by-step instructions to reproduce the problem (we need to be able to reproduce your problem in order to create a bug report), and our development team prioritizes customer-facing bugs above any other work they do.

How Do Bugs Get Fixed?

We may offer you a way to work around the problem, as a temporary fix, while our development team solves the issue.

Not all bugs are created equal—some of them require lots of testing and coding, whereas others can be fixed and tested quickly. All of our work (both fixes and new features) need to go through a complete QA cycle before they are released; a release cycle occurs every 3-5 weeks.

What’s the Difference between a Bug and a Critical Bug?

Occasionally our development team will classify your issue as a critical bug. Critical bugs interfere with your day-to-day use of BigTime or have the potential to affect a large number of BigTime users (with no temporary “work around” available). These type of bugs are our development team’s highest priority.

Critical bugs are released within a specialized “custom” workflow. This allows us to address these bugs quickly (often within days).

When our team identifies a critical bug, the entire development team works on the issue until it's resolved. While the time it takes to resolve a critical bug varies, critical bugs must be resolved before any other development work is completed.

Standard bugs are typically dealt with as expedited work, and are usually scheduled within a cycle or two of their report times.

Whether your bugfix is “critical” or “standard,” your agent will let you know when the fix is scheduled, and they’ll shoot a note once the fix has been release to production. They will let you know that the fix is in place, and they’ll close the ticket for you. You can also learn about resolved bugs through our company blog.

BigTime does not have a service target for bug fixes, but our average resolution time for critical bugs is 36 hours, and our average resolution time for standard bugs is 4 weeks.

Research Stories

Sometimes you can demonstrate a problem to your support agent, but they can’t reproduce it in our test systems. In those cases, the problem may be specific to your environment or may be related to your firm’s data.

As long as the agent can confirm that you can demonstrate or reproduce a problem, then they’re allowed to classify the case as a “research story.” Research stories are often escalated to our senior team leaders. They usually involve many hours of prep work and a private one-on-one team session with you.

The goal of a research story is to uncover the underlying cause of an issue and break it down into reproducible steps. If the problem is isolated to your firm’s environment or data, our team will point out specific fixes that you must implement. If the problem is corruption, then they might get our consulting team to help you sort through it. Finally, if the research allows our team to classify your issue as a bug or critical bug, then the senior team members will schedule the work for you.

While research stories often get you in contact with senior members of our various teams, they also require some active help from you or from your team. We may need:

  • Your IT support person on the line during the phone call.
  • Admin access to external systems, like Quickbooks.

We will definitely need your time and expertise to help resolve them. Your support agent will coordinate all of the team calls, and they’ll keep you up to date with status and questions that the team may have as they dig deeper into your problem.

Since research stories - by their nature - are unknown origin, we cannot guarantee a timeline for resolution. Most research stories are resolved within a few days (depending on your team’s availability), but some require more time. Our team’s commitment is to keep you up to date as we zero in on the source of your problem.

Feature Requests

Sometimes the issue you are asking BigTime to resolve is a feature that you would like to see implemented in the system.

We call these types of issues “feature requests.” You may be expecting the system to work differently, or you may be frustrated with how long a specific process takes.

We can’t add every feature you request to the system, but we love receiving your suggestions. Most of our favorite features come from customer requests. When we do add a feature, it takes us time—from several weeks to several months—to research, build, and implement these requests.

If your problem is related to a feature request, then your agent will let you know—but we won’t keep feature request tickets open. Instead, we’ll circle back if we decide not to implement your feature or when that feature is implemented.

And remember to keep up with our blog to learn about our latest BigTime features.

Fee-Based Consulting, Training and Specialized Consulting Services

Outside of feature requests, bugs, and software questions, we also get messages from customers requesting additional, one-on-one help. BigTime has an entire group dedicated to fulfilling these types of consulting requests (called Success Services).

Say you’re feeling uneasy about a BigTime feature, want to facilitate a company-wide training, or need our help importing data or creating customized screens/reports. While each of those requests go beyond our standard support terms, your agent won’t leave you without options. Instead, they may suggest that you contact Success Services, so you can get fee-based consulting.

If that option is right for you, then your agent can make the introduction—and our success team will help you understand the cost/scope of your specific requirement.

Here are a few examples of the fee-based services we provide:

  • Custom training. Sometimes firms want additional training after their initial on-boarding sessions end. Or a system administrator leaves and a new one needs trained on the software. These are good scenarios to consider custom training: when we focus on aspects of BigTime that are most relevant to you, like invoicing.
  • Data importing/adjustment. Say you’ve got tons of Excel files filled with information that you’d like to import into BigTime, but just don’t have the time. We can take that task off your plate and do it for you.
  • Conversion training. Perhaps your firm has been with BigTime for years and is moving to our newest version of BigTime. Help ease this transition with our consulting services, during which we’ll teach you the ins and outs of our latest interface.
  • Custom reports training. Creating reports is an important BigTime feature that can provide critical business information at your fingertips. We can create reports for you or guide you through creating custom reports yourself.
  • Expedited Feature Requests. Some customers may have a feature request that they want to see move up the priority list. That feature may be on the roadmap but it might be important enough for your team, that you are willing to pay a fee to have that feature request scoped and coded, or to be in the beta group for a complex feature set. Our success services team can help facilitate that as well.

The amount of time customer’s use our Success Services ranges as much as the services we provide. You can use them for a two-day office training on invoicing. Or use our services to import data, which can take several weeks. We’ll customize a schedule that fits your needs.

Are you interested in learning more about Success Services? Send an email to our Success team at success@bigtime.net.

Above all, we’re here to help. We hear your needs, value your input, and work hard to make BigTime the best time and billing software it can be.

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