Netsuite provides a single source of truth for your company’s data, a single location to manage your business operations and even the ability to integrate an ecommerce store. The problem is, such a large system is bound to be intricate which means that, sooner or later, you will run into issues.
- Should you use Netsuite’s customer support service?
- Should you use third-party Netsuite support services?
- Should you hire an in-house team?
- What is the most cost-effective option?
In this article, we’ll do our best to help you answer all of these questions.
What are the Netsuite support levels?
Netsuite Basic Support
There is a basic support service that comes with your Netsuite subscription. It features:
- SuiteAnswers. A community where you can ask questions. This is a great way to learn the ins and outs of the Netsuite platform but not very effective if you have an emergency issue and your company is losing revenue because of it.
- SuiteSupport Basic. A customer support service that is available Mon – Fri 8:00 am to 6:00 pm in your local time zone. According to Netsuite’s brochure, this service guarantees the resolution of three categories of issues: Critical, Significant and Less Significant. It does not cover the resolution of Minor issues.
The problem is, Netsuite decides how severe your issue is.
Note that the basic service covers issues with the Netsuite platform only. It doesn’t include support for ecommerce stores (refer to the last table in this brochure).
Netsuite Ecommerce Support
If you have a SiteBuilder or Netsuite SuiteCommerce Advanced site, you can upgrade to Netsuite’s Commerce Success Service which features:
- UX/UI design review
- KPI review
- SEO audit
- SuiteScript audit
- Site performance audit and report
- Success Manager
The Commerce Success Service also comes with several tiers which could make it confusing to choose the right service. You can read the full details here but, in a nutshell, only the highest level offers all of the features listed above. Plus, there is a time limit on all plans.
The problem is, all Netsuite Commerce Success Services tiers offer a limited number of hours. You can get between 13.5 – 75 hours per quarter.
The logical question is then, “What happens when you’re out of hours?”
Although the brochure states that there will be no additional SOWs, it’s clear that, if you require services that are not included in your plan or you’re out of hours, you will have to pay extra. Unfortunately, running out of hours is the rule, not the exception. Even a simple customization can take as many as 10 hours because an entire support team is involved.
Netsuite Technical Management Support
This service is meant to help you with Netsuite implementation and post-launch customizations. It also covers the integration of third-party services. The Technical Management Support Service can be used to address any technical issues. Some examples include:
- Optimize your design for best practices
- Website performance audit
- SuiteScript review
- SuiteFlow review
- Identify customizations that cause performance issues
- Script and workflow maintenance
There are no tiers here and you have two pricing options: 1) project-based; or 2) managed service.
This technical support service could be used in conjunction with the SuiteSupport Basic Service or the Commerce Success Service.
The problem is, the Technical Management Support does not include ecommerce support. So, you might end up paying two additional service fees on top of your Netsuite subscription.
For example, if you need to integrate a third-party service with Netsuite and you need SEO optimization, you’ll have to sign up for both the Commerce Success Services and the Technical Management Support services.
Advanced Customer Support
You’ve probably noticed so far that Netsuite’s support offerings are quite disconnected. There are several options with several tiers and they all feature different things.
How do you know which NetSuite support service you need?
And why do you have to go through the pain of choosing?
Can’t there be a single support service that simply covers all things Netsuite?
According to the information disclosed by Netsuite, this should be their Advanced Customer Support Service (Netsuite ACS). Launched recently, this offering is said to combine all features of all Netsuite support services.
There are different support tiers here, too. Four of them, to be precise. Netsuite’s advertising states that this is a one-stop managed service which transforms support from reactive to proactive.
The problem is, only the ACS Architect level is a true one-stop shop. All other ACS support levels are limited in one way or another.
For example, you only get “Integration Architecture Review and Advisement” and “Solution Architecture Advice and Input” on the highest tier (ACS Architect). In plain English, if you need to integrate third-party services with Netsuite, you will need to subscribe to the highest level of support.
It’s clear that NetSuite aims to sign you up to the most expensive support service and that’s to be expected — it is a significant recurring revenue source for the company. There is nothing bad about it if the price you’re paying matches the quality of the service.
How much does Netsuite support cost?
Sadly, there is no hard-and-fast answer to this question but here are some estimates:
- The NetSuite Advanced Customer Service monthly fee costs 10 – 30 % of your subscription fee.
- The other limited service plans cost less but, when you request projects outside of your SLA, you’d be looking at steep hourly fees.
- Based on evidence from our clients, the NetSuite support hourly rate is in the range of $170 – $200. Keep in mind that your company can receive different pricing based on its size, industry and so on.
The potential issues with Netsuite Support
Unfortunately, the Internet is swarming with bad Netsuite reviews and bad SuiteCommerce reviews. Both NetSuite and SuiteCommerce have an average rating of around 3.5 and it’s mostly because of their support service.
Here are a few examples:
What are the disadvantages?
With that being said, let’s summarize the potential disadvantages of NetSuite’s support services:
- Price. From the online reviews and the information on their website, it becomes clear that you either have to be on the highest support tier or you have to pay separately for each customization, integration or even bugfix. Our clients have shared that NetSuite support services have cost them around $170 – $200 per hour.
- Limited availability. Again, unless you are on highest support tier, there is a specified number of hours that you can use per month. Plus, your issue is competing for the attention of the support team because there are thousands of other tickets waiting to be resolved.
- Limited services. You only get complete performance optimization, technical support, ecommerce support and training on the Advanced Customer Service
- Lack of control. When you’re a lower support tier, typically, the NetSuite representatives will decide how critical your iss ue is. You have to prove that you’re losing revenue or that it’s a defect of Netsuite to get their full attention. Also, if the issue was caused by a third-party partner, it won’t get into the “Critical” bucket.
- Extra charges. Many times, an update breaks your Netsuite implementation. Their support team takes hours to study the issue and then charges you even more hours for fixing something you did not break. Of course, you often have no way of knowing that but, sadly, it happens all too often.
- Poor team coordination. On the lower support tiers, you don’t have a dedicated account manager and a dedicated support team. This means that your issue starts bouncing between departments until it reaches the team responsible for fixing it. You are charged for the time it takes to communicate your issue to the right person.
Problems in management. According to these employee reviews on Glassdoor, it’s difficult for the support teams to work together. The issue that is most often stated is that managers often lack management experience. We can’t say if this is true or not. However, the amount of negative reviews might point to internal issues that affect the quality of Netsuite’s customer support.
What are the alternative NetSuite support options?
Some issues (platform bugs) can only be resolved by NetSuite support . You can’t avoid their service altogether but you can reduce the need to use it. And, in doing so, you can reduce the time and money it takes to fix an issue.
Whenever you’re facing an issue that is not a Netsuite bug, there are two alternatives to Netsuite support:
- Hire A NetSuite Developer In-House. You may choose to train someone who is already in your IT department or source new talent. In the first case, the challenge for your existing staff will be to catch up to the numerous NetSuite and SuiteCommerce releases out there. In the second case, you have to be very careful to pick a candidate with enough experience and budget about $113,000 for their salary (without benefits).
- Hire A NetSuite Consulting And Development Firm (Managed Services). When there isn’t enough work to justify hiring a specialized employee, the solution would be to hire an outside consulting firm. Considering that NetSuite is complex, specialized software, this might be more cost-effective in the long run. For example, at CreationByte, we offer 24/7 customer support for all issues NetSuite and SuiteCommerce. We charge a fraction of what the NetSuite support service does and we can do much more with a $130k budget than an in-house employee could. There are no tiers, unexpected charges or waiting time. You pay hourly and get your fix instantly.
Compare The NetSuite Support Services And Their Alternatives
For simplicity, we will only consider the NetSuite Basic Support Service (the one that you get by default) and the NetSuite Advanced Customer Service. We will leave the specialized Commerce Success Services and Technical Management Services out of this comparison because they can only be useful when you need support in a specific area.
|NetSuite Basic Support||NetSuite Advanced Customer Support||Internal Netsuite Developer||Consulting Firm (the features below apply to CreationByte only)|
|Time to resolve average issues||About 2 months. You need to call or email several times to explain the issue and then several times to get updates.||About 1 week. Even though you are working with a team of 7-8 people, it might take them a while to resolve the issue.||They will probably have other responsibilities which means potential delays. Also, unavailable on weekends.||1-2 days. Send us an email or bring it up in a status meeting and we’ll fix it as soon as possible.|
|Answers to your questions||Yes||Yes||If it’s not a specialist with years of experience, they will not be able to advise.||Yes|
|Request for a customization||No. Additional charges.||No. Additional charges.||It will be fulfilled but might take longer than you’d like due to lack of specialization.||Yes|
|Maintenance of customizations||No. Additional charges.||No. Additional charges.||Yes||Yes|
|Third-party software integrations||No. Additional charges.||No. Additional charges.||It will be fulfilled but might take longer than you’d like due to lack of specialization.||Yes|
|24/7/365 support||No||Yes||No. Unavailable on weekends and holidays.||Yes|
|Dedicated support representative||No||Yes but only on the highest tier.||N/A||Yes|
|Dedicated development team||No||Yes but only on the highest tier.||It depends. If you have hired or trained several employees, then yes.||Yes|
|Performance optimization||No||Yes||Most likely no. You will need a specialist for that.||Yes|
|Netsuite ecommerce support||No||Yes||Most likely no. You will need a specialist for that.||Yes|
|Release testing||No||Yes but only on the highest two tiers||Most likely no. You will need a specialist for that.||Yes|
|Service quality||Mostly in the Philippines. Huge time zone difference.||Mostly in the Philippines. Huge time zone difference.||Same time zone and location but the level of specialization might not be what you need.||Available during US business hours. Dedicated experienced professionals with over 10 years of experience.|
|Case prioritization||They decide how important your issue is and, if they consider it “minor”, it will never be resolved.||They decide how important your issue is.||You control the prioritization.||You control the prioritization.|
|Process||Issue bounces internally many times until it reaches the right team. After that, you need to wait until the team has the capacity to solve it. You need to justify the severity of your issue with revenue loss or something comparable to get them to fix it.||Sometimes your dedicated support manager could take 3-4 days to reply. In some cases, even when on the highest tier, you might have to pay additional charges.||The issue might take a while to resolve because, typically, an internal developer will not be an expert.||One team dedicated to your company. We will solve your issue without asking you to justify its severity. We will analyze, resolve, deploy and test as fast as possible and make sure the solution is reliable and sustainable in the long term.|
|Cost||Separate SOW for each project or $200 per billable hour||Typically 10 – 30 % of your subscription fee + $200 per billable hour of up to 7-9 people||At least $130k per year (without benefits)||Around 5-6 hours on average at $150 per hour = $900|
The bottom line is that, unfortunately, with NetSuite support, there are often unexpected charges. Considering the number of negative reviews on the web and the cost of the Netsuite support service, it might be a better choice to look for an alternative.Whether you decide to hire someone full-time or on a contract basis, chances are that the quality and timeliness of the support service will be better than if you engaged NetSuite’s proprietary service. And, you will clearly know what you’re going to pay.