Why Isn't There Any ST Support on this Forum?


(Ajf) #1

I’ve only had my system for a few weeks, and I’ve had a few issues that had very simple solutions, which an ST tech could have answered here on the forum very easily. Here’s a good example:

http://build.smartthings.com/forums/topic/anyone-getting-accurate-presence/

I was 1 day away from returning the entire system until another member chimed in with the simple solution. Why isn’t there a “Problems? Try This” sticky that lists all the things to try to improve/fix your system (Move Hub to another location, install a SmartSense Motion to act as a Zigbee repeater and remember it must be plugged in to work as such, increase or decrease yiur geo-fence etc…)

Like most people today, before I buy something I do some internet research. When I go to a forum, such as this, and I see lot’s of complaints, I don’t buy the product. So it would behoove SmartThings in general if they had a more involved presence here.


(Neil) #2

I just recently bought the system, too. I had questions before I bought the Starter kit and then a couple issues after I received the system kit. My experience was that using their e-chat (which popped up on their main page but seems to only be there at times) and e-mails with the SmartThings Support people ( support@smartthings.com ) were quick, timely and very helpful.

The online documentation seems influx and from what I can tell (simply my observation) is that these forums do not seem to be areas where ST focuses on the timely answering questions or prefers to provide customer support.


(Ajf) #3

I emailed support, and maybe it’s because of the holiday’s, but I don’t get answers for days. My point is that if they answer questions and offer solutions to problems here:

#1. If 10 members are having the same problem, they all get the solution rather than having to answer all 10 privately (if at all).

#2 It gives a much better view of the company and how devoted they are to their product.

They put forth much more effort delivering hype on their Twitter account than helping current users here.


(Severum88) #4

I have used the in-app chat to get awesome support immediately for various issues. Perhaps you should try that route.

Severum


(Dave) #5

Perhaps you’re right, that there should be greater support presence here, but I find the chat function at support.smartthings.com to be responsive, as well as the support chat within the mobile app.


(Ajf) #6

I haven’t tried support chat, I’ll try it.

But again, when you have a problem as basic as I was having with the presence tags, which I’m sure others have had too, why help solve it in a place where others can see it rather than chatting in private. I was literally going to send the entire kit back the next day, now thanks to another member, it works like a charm.


(Dave) #7

I wonder if there is something we can do to help ourselves, here. There are fewer ST support staff than there are problems to fix, and to expect them to take the time to post a fix each time a problem is resolved before they move on to the next one is maybe too overwhelming to actually do at this point in their trajectory.

I belong to a vintage Honda Motorcycle forum whose members have made a point of documenting as much as possible the tips, tricks, how-tos, and whatnot required when riding 40year old bikes that no one will support. Thanks to the members of that site, I went from knowing nothing to rebuilding my engine and carburetor as well as doing a little light customizing inside of a year. Not the perfect comparison, but the more we can do to help ST out, the better a community we’ll build around this platform.

For example, if every time a user had a problem that support helped solve or figured out how to solve himself, that solution was posted here, it would add up to a lot of helpful information quickly. As users we should do what we can, whether it’s posting our support chat logs so that other can learn from them, or documenting fixes and tricks so that others can reproduce them.

Further, if ST support could build in a way to track which problems were getting the most traffic, they’d know at a glance what they have to work on.

Not sure where to go with these ideas from here, but there they are.


(Jim Beletti) #8

AJF,

I agree with you. ST needs to really step it up on the support front. There’s a lot of info their sites, but you have to dig for it, then bookmark it to remember where it’s all at.

This morning, I sent ST a note asking them to consider ratcheting up the support and the communications in order to keep all of us engaged and motivated to stick with and further develop the platform. I’m sure they’ve heard it before but never hurts to let them know what we want/need.

I founded and continue to develop a forum for the business I’m in. On that forum, I have 5 moderators who are all customers of ours. They are the real experts in this case. Anyway, the forum is a HUGE asset to my employer. In fact, in the Home Automation space, Homeseer, of which I am a 10 year user of and just migrated to ST, has a great forum. That is my hope for ST - that they migrate to vBulletin, place motivated moderators from the user and company sides and seed it with great content and give users a great space to share all things ST.

This all said, I want to give a plug to Ryan Hanna in Support - not sure what all he does at ST, but he’s the guy that has always been on the other end of their Live Chat. Dave mentioned the Chat system and the URL in his post above. I’ll include a picture of the screen that shows the “Support URL” and the “Talk to Us” button boxed in red. If the indicator lamp on the Chat button is Green, that means Live Chat is available. In the image below, the indicator is not green - so no chat now (night time).


(Ajf) #9

Thanks Jim I didn’t know about the on-line computer chat. Dave I like your ideas. A lot can be done by moderators. There should be a couple of stickies;

  1. Trouble Shooting Thread where moderators can post solutions to common problems, like moving the router etc. It’s best if that is a closed thread that only moderators can post to, otherwise it will go off topic and get too long etc. It’s really just a list to refer to before even getting support involved.

  2. Tips & Tricks thread that everyone can post to with ideas to add to your system, recipes etc.

BTW, Ryan is the guy that helped me via email, but like I said it’s sometimes days before he can get back to me. Sounds like they could use more support people. I’m guessing that the main focus of the company right now is making a big push into the marketplace and to get systems sold, which I understand. But that mentality quickly becomes counter productive when the products get returned because the don’t work. That’s especially true for the general consumer who won’t want to put the time and effort that we early adopters do, and will quickly pack everything up and send it back.


(Craig) #10

I fully agree that the online documentation is lacking (at best). I can vouch for ST and say they usually have several moderators commenting very often on these forums. I know for a fact that at least one of them has been on vacation for the holiday season. I realize that’s inconvenient for us, but working for a start-up company I understand the balance of small team, vacation, and customer needs. The support team at support@smartthings.com is also usually very helpful but has also been lacking over the holiday season.

I’ve had several conversations around the documentation. They have stated that they are making this a priority and are in the process of completely revamping their documentation sites. We’ll just have to wait and see if that resolves everyone’s concerns.

Long story short, if I was new the system and the process I would be extremely frustrated (as many on this thread seem to be). With that said I’ve seen how good it typically is and can vouch that it’s worth sticking around. I’d also note what you marked as a weakness (i.e. “until another member chimed in”) is a real strength of ST. The robustness of the user community and the willingness to help and innovate has been a huge asset in my opinion.


(Rubin Dhillon) #11

I agree in theory to this thread. If I have questions or issues I would first go to these forums. The couple of questions I could not find answers to were promptly answered by the ST people in the support chat. Both of those questions should have been outlined in the documentation.

Overall I am happy having switched to ST from my old PC-based setup. I am still waiting for them to fix the Android app before I can fully migrate to ST and ditch my PC server.


(Ajf) #12

In all fairness, Ryan has been great when he does answer my questions, but I’m sure the holiday’s have a lot to do with why it’s taken so long to get a reply lately.


(Jim Beletti) #13

I have to agree with all that’s been said. ST is new, they are building their product, eco-system, feature-sets and trying to scale all their systems. And yep, just out of a holiday period and now they are in CES mode. Busy-busy.

I’ve begun to write up my own tips/learnings in a document. When ST goes to a more feature-rich forum, I look forward to contributing what I’ve learned. Until then, I’ll continue to make the most of this space and help all I can, tap those who know more than me when I need help and keep hitting up Ryan and others in support as needed.

For now though, I’ve gotten most all the Things attached to ST that I have current plans for and I’m about to hit the road for 2 months. So it will be nice just to sit from remote and be able to check-in on the house while I’m away and control things if/as-needed.

I have a full ST system installed in my RV that I’ll be traveling with - so the tinkering will continue! :slight_smile:


(Gene Kendrick) #14

I to am also disappointed by the support offered by ST. When I first got my ST I sent email to support after no reply I used the online chat and it worked well. I contacted them about WEMO that is advertised on the website as working on ST. Was told it was only on beta. Told them I wanted to send back as all I had was WEMO. They then put me on the beta which only works the switches and not the light switches. I have had problems with beta and do not have access to the beta website, I have set to emails to support last week with no reply. The reason I use email is I am usually not in a hurry and don’t want to tie them up, but I would like and email returned within 24 hours.


(Cory S) #15

This forum was never meant to be a support forum. It is a “Build” forum. It is for end users, makers, and developers to brain storm together. From time to time ST representatives have jumped in on a conversation they find independently interesting, but rarely in an official capacity.

I have never had any issues getting a response from Support. The Android app still doesn’t have the “chat” feature, so I usually email them if I need anything, and get a response in a few hours at most. Usually however, any issues I am writing about are due to system wide issues and there is nothing they can do about it, or it’s a bug they need to elevate and research, and I have never felt ignored in those situations. Once, they setup a live meeting and spent 2 hours teleneting into my hub going through logs and trying to find out what was causing the issue.

The couple of devices I had fail, I was sent hassle free replacements quickly. heck, they even sent me a ton of batteries when I mentioned they were going through them quicker than they had thought they would in the kickstarter material.

In the end, they have bent over backwards every time I had an issue. True, they weren’t always able to completely fix the issue right away, but they sure did the best they could and put it on the high priority list.


(Dbmet) #16

I used the chat feature when I first got my system. Since it was used they had to change some things to make it work for me… Ryan was very courteous and had me up and going in a few minutes. I also have a vera lite and I don’t think there tech support is very good. The forums for it are great.


(JimMay3) #17

Don’t help if Live Chat is now Disabled… No way to talk to a person live, they want to play email tag team with a different rep each time, thus nothing is getting accomplished. Two days, still no positive action on ST’s end to correct an initial setup/logon issue.

I too thought a community site would support common issues and quick fixes, if this is for developers only, then put it on the developer website, not the basic ST site…

Looks like my ST experience is over before I ever got one device setup… No timely company or community support for a simple initial setup/logon/account issue. At least allow a user to delete an account, cause that’s all I think I need to do is delete it and start over…

BACK TO WINK by the end the the day. Never had an major issue with it, setup 7 devices in 10 minutes with no directions, only tried ST cause the Wink didn’t report “instant status” good on wall switched and light modules, but just read an article that this will be solved in an upcoming firmware update…


(JimMay3) #18

Just tried live chat again, here’s the automated response…

SmartThings Support: Due to a high volume of inbound support requests, live chat is currently unavailable. Our support team is still online though. Please email support@smartthings.com with any issues you may be having and our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

WOW, lets email each other back and forth (SOME HOW THAT’S FASTER)???


(Geko) #19

I had a hub activation issue once and it was resolved pretty quickly after I sent email to support. They are very responsive.


(JimMay3) #20

Nope, they are not… Email tag-team is not responsive, two days and counting…

Most community sites offer basic reoccurring problems, this doesn’t; only for experienced users that gear operates…

Setup issues right out of the box and no way to get any timely support. Live Chat currently Disabled, No Live Phone Support, only option is 1-2 day tag team email responses from multiple different reps that has led to not even being able to try the gear…