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Better access to upper echelon support personnel in FamilySearch support.

When I report specific problems to FamilySearch Support, I feel like the missionary who responds 1) doesn't read through my initial request and 2) knows less about the products and the system than I do. It often takes several replies to get anyone to even read my initial request and I find that my problem is rarely resolved. When I have a specific problem with an individual in Family Tree (or I am working with a Patron who has a specific problem with an individual in Family Tree), I would like to be able to contact someone who I know has the skills and abilities to fix the problem or explain to me why it can't be fixed.

Several years ago, the consultants in the Library were given a the phone number for Tier 3 support. I found that the problems I wanted to report could not be solved by Tier 3 and I would spend 20-30 minutes on the phone while the Tier 3 support person repeated all of my actions.
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    I can totally relate with Beth. I have had the same type of experience with FamilySearch support. It's frustrating to have to explain to them how to use our own FamilySearch products. Many of the staff here at the Library have a superior knowledge of our products. We help patrons almost on a daily basis resolve FamilySearch product issues. Why is it that we have to explain our problems several times to low level support to finally get things escalated to someone who can actually help us? It don't understand why they don't give library staff access to a data administrator or someone who can help fix problems.

    When I am working at the reference counter I don't have hours to spend on the phone trying to get a patron's problem resolved. Yet, we deal with these issues all the time. Some people travel great distances to come to the library to get their problems fixed only to find out that we don't have the ability to help them. Can someone in upper management do something to help us out. We need a contact that we can use in house to get results. Please!
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  • As research consultant you can contact Tier III directly rather than going through product support. The number for Tier III is (801) 240-2330. It will ask you for a case number, but ignore the prompt and it will connect you to tier III.
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    Don, thanks for the quick response. I have contacted Tier III support for help several times in the past. My experience with them has been mostly positive. They're far more knowledgeable than those in product support. However, only about 50% of the time were they able to fix the problem. Many times they had to escalate the problem. It's that next level up of support that I would like to be able to have access to. Perhaps I just need to learn to be more patience and be thankful that we at least have Tier III support. I just love it when patrons walk out of our library having their problems fixed and feeling good about their experience here.
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  • The next level up is product engineering and product management. Once Tier III determines that the problem is a bug then a JIRA is opened and it is prioritized against other work.

    This forum is a good place for items that are being placed on the backlog to be vetted and to see how many individuals feel that it is important to address. The larger the number of votes an item gets here, the clearer it is that the consensus is that the item is important.
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  • 1
    I have also contacted Tier III support on multiple occasions and have had varying experiences with the representatives (some of whom do not have very good customer skills). Most of the time, the support representative I call just ends up logging a ticket.

    Here's my concern. When a Patron comes to the FHL with a problem in nFS or FT, I want to be able to help them resolve their problem while they are here. I am fairly experienced with both nFS and FT and I use my knowledge, skills, and experience to try and resolve their problem. If I can't find a solution, I want to be able to quickly log a ticket with the problem so the problem can be forwarded to the responsible group and then be resolved. But when I call Tier III, I find that the support representative often spends 20-30 minutes trying to resolve the problem themselves, oftentimes repeating the actions I have already taken. This is waste of the Patron's time and leads to some frustration.

    I would love some intermediate solution. Perhaps the consultants in the Library could send emails directly to Tier III, allowing Tier III to log tickets and send them to them on. Or maybe some of consultants with more experience using the FamilySearch Products could be given authorization to log tickets themselves. Either solution would allow us to quickly summarize the problem in written form without spending more of the Patrons time.
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  • Thank you for this. I have emailed Penney and asked her to either join the conversation or have one of her team do so. Either of your recommendations seem doable to me.
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  • This is a good topic for conversation. Thank you for bringing it up. I'm trying to figure out what kinds of problems you are escalating in order to look at good solutions to help. Is this more of a product issue (doesn't work, can't get it to work) or of a data issue ("dad's information is wrong and I can't seem to fix it")? If its the first, I'd love to brainstorm ways for reports to come in with less pain from the library. If its the second, we are already looking at some possibilities to help and I'd be happy to share them with you.
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  • I would say the majority of the problems I have escalated have been data related issues. In the end, a data administrator was able to fix the problem, but I had to spend a lot of time describing the problem to Tier III in order to get it escalated. I would love to be able to bypass this step and go straight to a data administrator and work with them over the phone to get the patron's issues fixed within in a matter of minutes (when possible), rather than days or weeks. Patrons are flabergasted when we tell them that we don't have access to the people who fix the problems. We still do the best we can, but typically we send them away (sometimes extremely frustrated) with unresolved problems not knowing if they ever get resolved. There has to be better way to handle these type of scenarios at the Family History Library.
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  • 2
    Penny,

    I think it would be valuable to be able to directly report problems both with data issues (such as Jason suggested) and with product issues. I work with the products a lot and I am constantly finding little bugs or problems (especially right after an update) and I would really like to report these quickly so the problems can be fixed in a timely manner. I have tried reporting problems through the main Get Satisfaction site and through the Power Users group here in the Library but I feel like I never actually know if my feedback gets back to the right people.

    What I would love to see is some kind of system where we can directly report problems to the appropriate Product Manager so that he or she knows that the problem exists. I would also love to be able have a place where I can see a list of known issues so that I can report back to the Patrons that FamilySearch is aware of specific problems and they are working on them. I would love to see increased communication between the research consultants and the product engineers.
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  • I agree that this would help immensely for us to be able to get direct access to those that can actually fix problems - or at least get word to the engineers. We have enough experience and know enough that we won't be wasting their time.

    I would also like to see a list of known issues being worked on.

    There are high expectations of our patrons when they come to the library to assist them. And when we can't get real help for them on our own FamilySearch products it's less than reassuring to them to keep using the products. They instead get fed up and do not come back to the product like FamilyTree. I think us having this access and the ability to really solve a problem could ensure that they keep using FamilyTree and not give up.
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  • Danielle - its taken us awhile but we finally have a top 5 report that we are tracking issues reported by patrons. We now have 8 weeks of data that we can share. Would you like us to share it with you? What is the best way to share it?
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  • Penney,

    I would also love to know what the known issues are as well as get a sense of where those issues are on the priority list. Is this something that can be shared with all of the research consultants?

    As for delivery, is the data something that is being updated regularly? Is it in a format that can be emailed? What does the data look like? How is the best way for you to share it? (I feel like I'll take it in whatever format you have available.)
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  • I agree with Beth. any possible way you can give it to us, would be great! A place where we can access it from the reference desk would be optimal. A document on the N Drive? Or is there a place we can post it onlne? Thanks so much Penney!
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  • 1
    I also have had major problems with support sometimes. Many times they have solved my problems in a prompt fashion, but I will give the bad example(s) here:

    1. Found a genealogical unsound instruction in an indexing project
    - people on the Facebook page made a similar comment
    - I emailed support about 3 times on the same case to explain myself, but each time they responded without helping. They didn't believe I knew enough to validate taking it to the right people.
    - I made the comment in Get Satisfaction and it did eventually reach the right person and get resolved.

    2. Experiences where I ask for a specific fix or answer and am simply told to read a certain instruction or knowledge base.
    I understand that they deal with many people who don't read instructions and that is perhaps an appropriate first reply, but I am not one of those people. Rather than a link saying "this link might answer your question," I'd like the link and a specific quote from it explaining why they think it answers my question at least--not just the link.

    If you want copies of some of these conversations let me know.
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  • Thank you for this information Michael! We will look into it and see what we can do to improve our communication moving forward. In the meantime, do you have any outstanding indexing (or other FamilySearch) issues I can help with?
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  • To this group: I told you of a report that we are tracking the top 5 FamilyTree issues called into support a week or so ago. Listed below are our top 5 for this week (from the missionary point of view):

    1. Correcting information, Incorrect Relationships, and Data Problems: 1,322 cases, 20.0% of nFS/FT cases, 11.7% of all cases (3 weeks on this report at number 1; previously at #2 for 1 week)
    The bulk of these issues deal with some piece of data being incorrect or missing. Some of the cases are handled by teaching the patron how to correct the problem. The bulk are sent to data quality to be corrected, because for the patron cannot correct the problem themselves. I reviewed 100 cases and here the top issues under that heading
    a) 35% - Incorrect relationships (OFT-46870, OFT-55276) – This is really dependent on the users to fix the problems in the system.
    b) 14% - Dead to living (and individual is showing as decease when they are actually living and this has to be corrected in the system) (DATA-587, DATA-887, OFT-11783, DATA-833) – This is a result of data not being brought over correctly into Family Tree. Engineering has done some work on this problem and the number of cases is starting to drop.
    c) 9% - Wrong gender (TEM-3085, DATA-1293, OFT-55124)– This is really dependent on the users to fix the problems in the system.
    d) 8% - Separate incorrectly combined records (DATA-2013, OFT-54334) – this falls under Issue #3
    As I have thought about what engineering can do with these problems, the only thing I can suggest is to do mass repairs on the data where there are known problems and they can be fixed. As far as handling by Tier III and Tier II we have to continue teaching the patron when they can solve the issues so they can solve future problems on their own and working with Data Quality to get the other problems fixed.
    2. Registration/Login, Registration/Login, Registration, and Login: 1,300 cases, 19.7% of nFS/FT cases, 11.5% of all cases (3 weeks on this report at number 2; previously 1 week at #1)
    I broke this data out 3 months ago so it may be a little dated. I have someone breaking it out again and should have better data in a week or so. I thought this would be helpful for now.
    a) 25% - Forgot username/password – The main thing that can be done to fix it is to simplify the self-recovery options. ICS has devised a new way of recovering information which should help with this issue. Support can do a better job of teaching the patrons the self –help recovery process. LDS Account Admin style access also helps missionaries better handle these issues.
    b) 14% - Unable to sign in (IDENT-2158, IDENT-2129, IDENT-2128) – This has been in the past a result of the patron trying to sign into FT without first signing into nFS. It can also be server problems or problems with the account. Occasionally, it is the result of the wrong username or password. Again, simplifying the site will most likely help with this problem. We need to work to make sure the improvements made on the ICS side of registration and login are translated and readily available on the FamilySearch side.
    c) 14% - Email not working – This is usually a problem of the patron unable to activate their account or unable to receive the self help emails. Engineering’s efforts is LDS Account 5.2 should help as there will be more methods of recovering information and for LDS accounts with a membership number and email activation will no longer be needed.
    The bulk of the problems in a) and c) are handled in the GSC so there are not jira tickets applicable to them.
    I am really interested to see how the implementation of LDS Account 5.2 changes our traffic volumes. Hopefully, with that implementation we will see a reduction in volume. We will keep monitoring this so we can see how requests from our patrons change.
    3. Merge/Unmerge/Recreate, Combine (Match or Merge), and Separate: 406 cases, 6.2% of nFS/FT cases, 3.6% of all cases (10 weeks on this report at number 3)
    I examined 50 cases under these headings they really come down to a core problem with some outlying issues.
    a) 68% of the cases I examined revolve around the problem if being unable to merge or separate records. (OFT-55852, OFT-55829, OFT-55654, OFT-55700) – One of the big problems is the system has not given a proper undo function in Family Tree when the records were merge in new FamilySearch. There are still problems with large records and combining records with membership records. Part of the issue is a lot of individuals are need to be taught how to combine and separate, especially because we Family Tree is a new system for them. Engineering could help with this problem by providing better tools to work with IOUS records. Fixing the problem with nFS separated records showing a method of separating the records in Family Tree.
    b) 6 % - Unable to find duplicates (OFT-54974, OFT-55051)– the ability to find duplicate records has been improving, but there are still things that can be done to improve this problem.
    c) 6% - Looping pedigrees (DATA-569, OFT-28347) – It would be helpful to have better tools for handling these problems. A method to do bulk separates would be helpful. This problem has gotten much better also and most of our efforts need to be focused on the problems with merging and unmerging.
    4. Policy/Procedure and Policy/Procedure: 379 cases, 5.7% of nFS/FT cases, 3.4% of all cases (10 weeks on this report at number 4)
    a) 18% - Policy Questions
    b) 14% - Release ordinances
    c) 10% - Correct Information
    d) 8% - Print a Family Group Sheet
    e) 6% - Privacy Issues
    We do not have any specific suggestions for this group at this time.
    5. Using Family Tree: 282 cases, 4.3% of nFS/FT cases, 2.5% of all cases (10 weeks on this report at number 5)
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  • Penney Devey,

    As I read your two comments I have a unsettled question:
    As per this line in the report:
    "c) 9% - Wrong gender (TEM-3085, DATA-1293, OFT-55124)– This is really dependent on the users to fix the problems in the system."

    After requesting a gender change for an ancestor recently, I became aware about ordinance complications and that there is some disagreement on how it is handled showing in GetSatisfaction vs. the manual etc.

    Support told me to read the user manual section about the topic. I replied asking for more details and they said:
    "If you will go to the Note at the top of page 50 of the Users guide; “If you need to correct a person's gender”, “create a new person with the correct gender and add him or her to the family.”"

    There are people who don't like being told the only way to fix this is make a person with the correct gender and unlink the one with the wrong gender.

    I heard that in the future we will have an option to delete people, which should help get the wrong gender people off the database. I guess this is really the best fix we can get considering the issue. I just wondered what you thought.
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  • Thanks for the list Penney. That is great to know what is being reported and what kind of measures are being taken to fix them or what maybe be done in the future.
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