From an Insider...
I worked for many years, until recently for Xerox as a technical support level 2. This means that when you called in and they escalated, you reached me. I did production software and machines. Here's the low down from someone that worked there many years. I've won numerous awards and was treated to paid vacation trips etc. My customers loved me and asked to talk to me directly. I did my utmost for them. Most of my colleagues were smarter than me and were very professional. Xerox has a lot of talent.
Ten years ago that bug would have been fixed within a month. And I mean fixed. They'd go to the source and improve it to get rid of the issue. Today, if your arm hurts, they'll cut it, and that's actually an apt analogy. Xerox used to have brains goddammit. We invented the GUI and a bunch of shit no one remembers. I used to work next to a goddamn Russian Nuclear Scientist. That guy could explain the machine down to the molecular dynamics. I myself often wrote the code for the patch and sent it to engineering to save them time. We were well paid, had great colleagues, safe jobs. These were the days. And then we got a CEO with no balls (literally and figuratively speaking) who gave up on our future and decided to go into Services instead.
Shit happens constantly. Because we're the best, people expect perfection, literally,and get all whiny and bitchy the moment reality creeps in. That's just human nature. That's fine. Its everywhere like that. Now, usually, the customer calls the sales guy to report his distress. Then the sales guys calls the analyst. That guy will usually go onsite. Then he'll call or tell the customer to call us. At that point, the customer lost a day at least in production just because he can't stand to call us. Now, remember, I'm just giving you the average customer.
Now the second level, us, we're the one doing what's called a SPAR (Software Product Action Request) which essentially tells engineering to fix the issue. To do so, we must replicate the problem first. Now that's when the ugly reality started sinking in around five years ago. You see, around five years ago, Xerox decided that they'd go in Services instead of Products. They started then to drastically reduce the R&D (essentially its done by Fuji now mostly) and started to slash support teams and equipments. So the brains in level 3, in engineering and the necessary hardware to replicate started to vanish. This happened globally. 2 years ago the Wide Format team got decimated from 23 support engineers to ONE. That's the level of destruction they inflicted on the quality of Xerox Support. Then, they outsourced software development to India and let's not forget patches started to get written there too. And the whole process got slower and slower.
Now, to get back to our customer, he usually can expect a patch for something that was SPARred around two to three months later for a sev 3. For a sev 4... good luck! A severity 2 requires critical functions to be inoperable. A sev 1, the whole machine is unusable. I pulled in all my career only one sev 1. It got fixed in 24 hours flat. Sev 2 will take around 2 to 6 weeks to fix. Sev 1 they're on it 24/7 and takes a week at most. These are guidelines of course, but they're pretty accurate with my experience.
What you must remember from all this is that Xerox is moving away from hardware. The quality of the support is not there anymore. The experienced folks have mostly been retired early. The machines are no longer there to replicate the issues. Patches are done in India. Tech support can escalate something they can't replicate. And they don't have the machines, most of the time, to replicate.
Xerox manages, since the analysts are usually pretty smart and can find workarounds. Ditto for tech support level 2 and 3. Same for onsite technicians. The parts supply is well managed too. In cases like the one we've just read, the word of a VP will make everyone shit their pants and get everyone to focus on the issue with overtime etc. Shit still gets done when required. Xerox is still a world class company, overall.
Over the coming years, the lack of real innovation due to the lack of serious R&D will erode Xerox. Moreover, the cuts made in support are making themselves felt by customers, and that will cost them too. The current CEO essentially gave up on Xerox's core and decided she'd go for Services instead. Do not make the mistake to believe that this decision will not affect the quality that Xerox ONCE had. I saw how bad it because from the inside, through all its grotesqueries.
Xerox is still the best in the production arena, in terms of overall ROI, reliability, support and quality. Sure. But when you sign a contract, make sure the SLA for SPARs are stated and compensation demanded if they take much longer. Put that on paper, and hold them to it. Also, CALL the hotline yourself. Don't waste time with the analyst. The second and third level will usually give you a workaround and create a SPAR if you ask them. They're good folks, and talented. But they're not GODS. Shit takes time to fix, in whatever industry you are. Shit happens, too. So be nice and take it easy. They'll do their best in any case. That's still the Xerox culture and you can still bank on that.