Cisco need to rethink their support

I recently had the mispleasure of trying to use the cisco.com website.

I wasn’t even trying to do anything with a Cisco router, or switch, or any Cisco hardware at all. I was trying to upgrade the software on my Linksys SPA942.

But its a Linksys device you say? Well yes, but Cisco bought Linksys in 2003. Obviously, they saw a gap in their product offerings (specifically, the home and small office market), and decided to fill it, by buying a company that was already filling the gap. (As is the Cisco way…)

So here I am, with a Linksys SPA942 with some ancient software thats at least one version behind, and I’m trying to find the latest version. Version 6.1.3a is available on the Linksys website, but 6.1.5a is available on the Cisco.co website. If only I could get to it…

So I dig up my trusty old Cisco.com account, and login with it. Navigate through the Maze that is the Cisco download centre.

I’m greeted by a banner, in red, telling me that I must have an account with avalid address before I’m allowed to download software.

ERROR: Your profile information with us is incomplete.
Please take note, the Street Address, Country and Email ID are
required fields. Kindly update your profile at Cisco.com User Profile.
After successfully updating the profile, close the current browser
session and try to download the software in a new browser session

So I do the next logical thing, I go to edit my account.

Across the top of my account details, is another banner:

Please provide your business address to gain access to download software.

so I attempt to add a Business Address to my details.

This fails, repeatedly. No matter how many different ways I try to put my address in, it doesn’t work. I even made up an area code that should have passed all syntax checks (Since there are no postal codes in Ireland), and it still wont work.

I give up, and come back 2 days later to try (Cisco.com is… buggy, to say the least, so this kind of thing usually gets fixed after a while), still giving me the same errors. So I decide to email Cisco support to ask them why my address is failing. And I include a screenshot just to prove it.

They reply, asking for my username. I thought they’d be able to look that up, based on my email address and name, my bad for expecting some effort on their behalf. I reply, with my username.

They reply, asking for the address information that I want updated, because they can’t see my screenshot. Surely they should have noticed this the first time? I reply with my address.

I get a different support person this time, Trevor,  who says that the address I’ve provided is already in my Home address details. Very observant. Then he asks why I’d want to have it added as my Business address too. I reply saying that I’m only doing what the website told me to do. I’m not comfortable putting my Office address on my account, since what I’m doing has nothing to do with Work. So I tell him I work from home. Seems reasonable?

This is where the pain starts.

Hello Kieran,

The message that is posted on the download site is just a reminder to all users to make sure their information is updated.  Having an address listed will not entitle you to downloads.

In order to be granted access to the online tools and downloads you will need to have an active Service Contract with such access privilege associated with your User ID.

If you have a contract number with such privilege, please go to: http://tools.cisco.com/RPF/profile/additional_csm_contracts.do.
Under the heading "Additional Access", select "Edit This Information" and then select "Obtain Access to Additional Service Contracts".  For complete instructions on adding contacts to your profile and other Cisco user access issues, please see http://www.cisco.com/en/US/support/tsd_help_access.html.

If you do not have a service contract and want to purchase one, you may contact your Cisco service sales representative or the Cisco partner or reseller where you purchased the product. Cisco certified partners can be located at http://tools.cisco.com/WWChannels/LOCATR/openBasicSearch.do

Since you mentioned that your device is a Linksys SPA, you may also contact the Linksys S-TAC group directly for any assistance at: +1-866-606-1866

Best regards,

Trevor W.
Customer Interaction Network
Business Hours: 8am-5pm Sun-Thurs EST

This doesn’t make sense. Anyone would know that Linksys had a completely open policy for firmware downloads. Surely Cisco didn’t just buy them up, and cut every Linksys customer in the world off from updates?

So I reply back, stating that I don’t believe this to be the case, and I include the exact text of the error that I was getting when I tried to download the software, and I repeat my request to just have my Business address updated.

Trevor replies, saying again that I already have a valid address in my Personal address field. I get pissed off, and decide to leave it for another day.

So the next morning, after having calmed down, I send another request (hoping that Trevor’s shift is over and I’ll get another support agent). I asked nicely for someone to just address my original problem, and  just update my business address.

Trevor (Clearly he never sleeps…) replies, still not getting the point.

Hello Kieran,

Since you are needing support on a Linksys device you will need to contact that team directly at: +1-866-606-1866 and they can also assist with any other profile issues you are having as the address provided is already on your profile.

Best Regards,

Trevor W.

Hoping that I got everything right, and that I made my request as clear as possible, addressing any possible comebacks that Trevor “Not my Job” W might have, I reply.

Hi Trevor,

Please can you update my Business Address, as stated in my original
Email for this ticket.
I know its in as my Personal address, but I want it as my Business Address =
too.
I cannot change it myself for some reason.

Regards,
Kieran.

Eventually, Trevor replies, having done what I initially asked.

Hello Kieran,

The address has been updated accordingly.

Best Regards,

Trevor W.
Customer Interaction Network
Business Hours: 8am-5pm Sun-Thurs EST

And to my surprise (*gasp*), I can now download the firmware updates for Linksys devices.

Thanks Trevor,

Now the Linksys downloads work.
Fancy that.

Regards,
Kieran.

Was it really that hard, Trevor?
Did I have to fork over huge amounts of money for a Cisco Service Contract? No. Did I have to contact the Linksys support team, even though its a Cisco.com problem? No.

The Cisco.com site was right, its error messages were relevant. Once they were out of the way, things worked. Amazing.
Its still a little annoying that I wasn’t able to enter my own Business address, and I doubt Trevor bothered to escalate this little problem to the guys who run the site, but at least there is a way to “fix” it.

(Top gear style closing)

So… Moral of the story, everyone, just do what I tell you to do.

One thought on “Cisco need to rethink their support”

  1. Profile area is a trash!!! I have the same problem with “Provide your business address…”, invalid Zip code…

    Best

    Ivan

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