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Essential Support Customer FAQ

What is Essential Support?

Microsoft Services Essential Support is a family of affordable, prepackaged support offerings designed for midsize businesses that can help give your IT staff more time to concentrate on optimizing your technology solutions. With Essential Support, you have priority, phone-based access to a team of Microsoft® technical account professionals who offer more than just reactive problem resolution. These experts focus on providing you with invaluable, proactive, “how-to” guidance to keep your systems up and running smoothly—all of which helps to increase the efficiency of your IT staff and the productive use of your Microsoft technology.

I understand Essential Support includes Support Assistance and Problem Resolution Services. What is the difference between the two?

Problem resolution services is break-fix support for IT issues you encounter while using a Microsoft product, such as when you have a server down or you are getting an access code violation. Support assistance, on the other hand, is when you’re looking for prescriptive advice and guidance and you don’t have a specific problem. For instance, if your IT staff wanted to work with a support professional to review code or prepare a plan for migrating from one Microsoft product version to the next, they would need support assistance. Support assistance also applies to integration issues with third-party hardware and software products.

What does the team of Technical Account Managers (TAMs) do?

Technical account professionals will assist you in finding an answer to your support question as quickly as possible. Typically, your call will be routed to the first available resource. Any support professional you speak with will have real-time access to your account profile and support history. This enables the TAMs to efficiently respond to your unique support situation and IT requirements. For example, they can escalate your support problem as necessary and track it through to resolution.

Who defines a critical incident?

As part of your orientation to Essential Support, your designated Technical Account Manager (TAM) will contact you and review all of the key information you will need to start taking advantage of your benefits, including how incidents are defined. Your TAM will contact you within a week of contract activation to schedule an orientation at your convenience. This orientation will cover incident handling, as well as other related topics. This conversation does not count toward your support hours.

What is the difference between support incidents and support hours?

Support incidents and support hours are equivalent for purposes of this discussion. Through Software Assurance, support incidents are awarded based on your EA/SA investment. With Essential Support, you can convert these incidents into support hours. For example, each SA incident could be converted into five Essential Support hours. This allows you to maximize the support time you have. Further clarification for this is provided in the table on page 4.

I already have a great technical staff. Why do I need Essential Support?

Even a highly skilled technical staff might be spending a significant amount of time fixing problems that could be solved more efficiently by our support professionals. A vast majority of the problems we encounter we’ve seen before, and they are already logged into our internal support database. So an issue that could take several weeks for your staff to research and resolve may be solved in a matter of hours simply by tapping into our database. We also try to transfer our skills and knowledge back to your team so that they can solve issues more efficiently in the future—by proactively sending technical information that’s relevant to your IT environment, by working with you and helping plan your next IT implementation, and by providing access to our online information services.

What is Microsoft Premier Online (MPO)?

Microsoft Premier Online (MPO) provides you with direct, 24x7 contact with a Microsoft support expert.

This secured online resource provides a comprehensive repository of support and training resources to help you and your IT teams stay up-to-date and knowledgeable about the Microsoft products you use every day.

With MPO, you can:

Gain quick access to the Microsoft Knowledge Base of technical support articles—including exclusive partner-level content that is not available to the general public.

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