Internal: Support Disputes

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Situations can arise in which an external user may dispute a support bill.  In these cases, there are a number of steps that can be taken to address the dispute.  The appropriate steps to be taken are provided below along with some recommended courses of action for handling these situations.  The goal is to resolve these situations without the need to escalate the call or place a support review.  

All efforts should be made to resolve any support billing disputes within the Customer Service Department.  It is worth noting that with these calls, the goal is to recover payment. The result is that these calls may end with the user unhappy. Our mission is to be fair to both the user and Thomson Reuters while maintaining a good business relationship.

There are number of things than can be done that may resolve a support dispute in the early stages.  Follow the steps below:

  1.  Verify:
    • The charge is actually outstanding by checking the A/R Screen within EMS.
    • The product for which support was provided was not within a free support period.  
    • The product for which support was provided was not under a support contract.
    • That it is a product with billable support.

    Note: See Overview of Support Terms Contracts for additional information about support terms and free support periods.

  2. Review:
    • Call logs: who made the call, the product covered and give the cliff notes version of the call. They may remember the call and end the dispute here.  
    • Are there any call notes giving any indication that the call is non-billable? For example, was the call due to a bug or was the assistance provide more along the lines of Customer Service?
    • Was there any commitment by another representative for action on the call that may have been missed, such as an agreement to post date a Support Contract or extend the support period?
    • Explain the criteria for billable and non-billable calls. Many times providing a copy of this document and a summary of the call notes will take care of the situation. Support Billing guidelines can be sent to external users via email through the Marketing Email Library (MEL), the external pdf can be viewed here.
    • Examine the support billing history. Have there been regular requests for billing reviews? Have many Goodwill Credits (CRG’s) been issued previously? This analysis may result in the decision to draw the line at this point, explaining to that exceptions with support bills were extended in the past and now no longer can be. Use your judgement here.

Call notes cannot be given out to external users and are intended for internal use only. A general overview can only be provided to the firm if requested.

Below are commonly used resources and the information that they can provide when handling a support dispute.

Resources within EMS

AR Main Screen in EMS (Firm > Accounts Receivable)

  • Unpaid monthly invoices of any type
  • Open Finance Orders and the payment schedule
  • Overpayments/Credits on the Account
  • Balance that has been written off
  • Total sum of the firms open invoices

Financial Activity Screen (Applications > Finance > Financial Activity)

  • Payment history for a firm for everything paid (support contracts, orders of every type, etc.)
  • Sortable by date, invoice types, payment amounts, check numbers
  • History of credits issued on account since EMS roll out
  • Can search for a specific order or date

Support Billing Detail

  • Under Order History (select the order and click on Support Call History Button)
  • After month end, billable calls from the previous month are moved into EMS Time and date of call, support rep, description, product, billed time and cost are listed.

Support Contract Screen (Firm Demographics > Support Contract Button)

  • Gives the details of a firms support contract: Start date, End date, products covered Lists Credit Card on file for the monthly charges.

Additional Resources

Support Billing Guidelines

  • Explains billable and non-billable criteria for support calls.
  • External document that can be found on MEL and sent to the external user via email. The external pdf can be viewed here.
  • Request the Support Call Report form the Customer Service Call Facilitator. Show me how to retrieve it.
    1. Login to Business Objects. Access must be granted by your manager.
    2. Select Documents.
    3. Select Folders (located in lower left corner).
    4. Expand Public Folders.
    5. Select Dexter Public folders and click on Customer Services (first option).
    6. In the main area of the screen there is a list of reports sorted by Title. Select Support Calls by Firm Contact and click More Actions and then click History.
    7. Select Prompts and then click Edit Values for the time period and firm ID requested. Click Schedule once complete.
    8. Once the report is done running you can select the report and save it as a .pdf file and email it to the Customer Service Representative.

Related Topics/Information

There are going to be cases when issuing a Goodwill credit (CRG) is an appropriate action. The following are some guidelines used to make this decision.

  • Ensure that there is not a habit of requesting and receiving credits. Look into the Financial Activity history (sorted by type is easiest) to verify this.
  • Consider if a CRG will resolve the complaint and build goodwill or undermine the future ability to collect on support charges. The point of a CRG is building the relationship, not to enable bad habits.
  • When the support charge is a nominal amount and this is the first credit requested in a rolling 12 month period; it is reasonable to give a credit for part or all of the call depending on the case. It should be clear that this is a courtesy credit. For most users, the credit shows our intent to work with them.
  • If a user has had two or more CRGs in the past year, it can be mentioned that we've made exceptions previously, and list the credit amounts and dates. These users are showing a trend that needs to be discouraged and should be considered in determining whether to offer a credit.
  • Should a credit be given, it’s vital to be positioned carefully based on the circumstance.  Ensure the user has a correct understanding of why support is billable and understands they will be billed in the future.
  • Sales credits are determined and entered by sales only, and are not necessarily part of the CS Goodwill credit determination.