New QNAP NAS Support Centre Opens in the UK – Why You Should Care
Regardless of whether or is your first, second or 10th time purchasing a new piece of technology, most buyers will go into their purchase with certain assurances required before taking the plunge. The popular factors, such as power, price and trusted reviews will always have an important place in the decision making process of home users. However, once you are purchasing as a business user or even a more enterprise minded home user, other less tangible factors become ever more important. They concern trust and reliably, such as brand reputation, product availability and warranty commitment, and these can make all the difference in where you might buy a long-term storage solution. It is for reasons such as these that many companies invest as much in real estate and marketing assets, as they do in the physical products themselves.
Today I had the opportunity to visit the brand new QNAP UK offices, talk about why they have opened this new location and meet the support teams they have on hand, as well as spend a little bit of time understanding their range of support and technical services. With dedicated customer support locations already established in America, Canada, China, India, Japan, through most of Europe and of course Taiwan, QNAP NAS is a brand that is keen to provide support and services to new and old customers alike worldwide. So let’s find out why they think your next NAS for home or business should be a QNAP.
Why Should I Care About Support? It Should Work the First Time!
Despite the fact that network-attached storage is a technology that is no longer in its infancy, and that mass production technique results in hundreds or thousands of units being built every day, no hardware range can be 100% perfect. Even if a brand had a 99% success rate in software and hardware, that’s still 1 in 100% or 10 in a thousand! From iPhones Macbooks, from Desktop PCs to Smart TVs, some times things go wrong. a good brand is about a good product AND a good support system to the end-user.
Why Makes QNAP NAS Support Different?
Given that NAS is designed around the long-term storage and protection of your data (as well as anywhere and anytime access of course) the importance of customer support in your region cannot be understated. Like any computer system, a NAS is made up of multiple parts and if one part has even a tiny fault, it can undermine the rigidity of your entire storage backbone. QNAP UK claimed to have unparalleled support service, so the first area I wanted to visit whilst at QNAP UK was, of course, their technical and customer support department.
What Does QNAP NAS Support Include?
It’s a very good question. In most cases, a user will never truly get to grips with a provider’s support and post-sales services, unless there is an issue. So I asked Tamblyn Calman at QNAP UK about why QNAP has opened a UK office and what they do to support the average NAS buyer?
Why Are QNAP Support Teams Needed? Is that a Problem I Should Worry About?
“With the majority of businesses revolving around the data in some form or another, the strength and reliability of a NAS can be measured beyond simple hardware and software. Ultimately nothing is infallible and on the subject of technology, all companies have to expect a minimal margin of error. The robust and extensive technical support available at the QNAP UK office is designed with that in mind. It exists, not because there are problems, but in the event that they are needed.”
To What Extent Do QNAP UK Provide Support to the End User?
“The technical support available to both home and business user is accessible in multiple forms and with an ever-evolving general public’s choice of communication, our technical guys provide e-mail support, Live chat support, Phone support via a general non-premium call line from 09:00-22:00, Monday to Friday and even a dedicated team of remote engineers deal with with any issue on hand. As well as a significant body of knowledge within our team with many popular platforms and OS’.”
Is this not Something all NAS Brands Provide?
“Well, yes and no. Any reputable manufacturer will support the end-user, but often efforts might be made to streamline and prioritise individual claims. Premium Support add-ons and subscription services, practices we want to avoid here at QNAP. We are proud of the services we offer and want to highlight that our technical support services are that it is completely free, not hidden behind a service add-on or tiered premium subscription that needs to be purchased separately. If you bought a QNAP NAS, Rackmount or Desktop, you can get all the help you need.”
QNAP NAS and Replacement Units
Another good reason for new and existing UK NAS drive buyers to take interest in the new QNAP office is regarding warranty replacements. As stated, no technology is perfect and this is perfectly exemplified by the fact that rarely will any hardware vendor provide a lifetime warranty. If you are unlucky enough to receive any product that suffers a hardware issue during that warranty period, you would rightly expect a replacement unit promptly and in good order. However with a boom in internet purchases in the last few years, all too often we purchase a product that, in the event of a fault, could potentially take weeks to replace whilst the vendor sources replacement parts or a whole new unit from the point of manufacture. I asked Yo Lun Yen at QNAP UK about how QNAP UK is tackling this?
How Does a New QNAP UK Office Help Existing NAS Owners?
“We have always been particularly happy with our supply chain and our new location allows us to assist distribution and maintain additional stock levels of QNAP NAS in-house. Though we will continue to support our partners and those at the point of sale, we keep an inventory of new units across all ranges that are available for advanced replacement, warranty swaps and to re-create the storage environments of our end users to help with problem-solving. This enables us to provide next day and, in some cases, same-day replacement of units in the field if needed, so we can attempt to reduce downtime to as close to zero as we can”
Isn’t all this QNAP stock just stuff for sale?
“No, we accept that in order to support each product series, we need to ensure that a suitable supply of spare units is readily available. Facilitating demand is only part of the challenge we have when providing a tier 1 solution and the strength of an organization is only as strong as it’s weakest part. In order to anticipate any potential replacements at reseller or end-user level, it is pivotal that we have a surplus of units at key user pints worldwide. We have this in other regions and now the UK will be suitably supported if needed.”
Was there not a system in place before QNAP UK was opened?
“QNAP has had key personnel in the UK for a number of years, supporting distribution, resellers and end-users as and when needed. However, with the UK being a continued growing area for business, as well as the data that is being created so rapidly, QNAP has invested heavily in this region and this kind of investment needs a solid infrastructure in place. This is why QNAP UK is here, to support our existing user base, as well as expand and offer our services to a new generation of NAS users. We have seen tremendous growth in our Rackmount for Business services, as well as continued dominance in our Thunderbolt-enabled NAS series. So much so in fact, that a dedicated QNAP presence in the UK was was required.”
QNAP NAS and Warranty Support
The warranty that any NAS Drive arrives with is identical to that of the manufacturer’s limited warranty in any hardware in the home or business environments. A warranty should represent two things, the brand’s confidence in the hardware life cycle of it’s product and the end user’s peace of mind going forward in the longevity of a purchase. QNAP has providing warranty support on all of their products, as standard, but what does that include? How long does it last? Is there any priority given to business users? And what if your hardware should fail outside of this period? We spoke with Tom Jepps at QNAP UK about their warranty procedure and why they think it is something to talk about.
Support is always good, but what about QNAP NAS and traditional warranty?
“The occasional need to arrange a replacement or repair of a NAS unit with our customers is something that is just a small part of the tech business. In the industry, it’s known as Return Merchandise Authorization or RMA for short. This is the process whereby an end-user will communicate with us that an issue has been found and from there, our support team will liaise with them to resolve any difficulties over the phone, live chat, email or when appropriate, access their system remotely. In the event that a resolution cannot be made, we will issue an RMA and get that unit back to us, or an advanced replacement can be shipped. This can be a really big area of contention for many clients before they invest in the right solution, so in order to simplify this process and give them as much information as possible, we have now launched our MyRMA service. To access these in warranty services, they just need their QNAP ID (which is set up along with your unit on day 1) and then our teams can take it from there, contacting you in the ways best suited to you.”
Is QNAP NAS Warranty Handled Differently for Home and Business Users?
“The warranty support and options that we provide do not change based on the end-user, no. What differs in terms of warranty coverage is what is provided with the NAS server they choose. The majority of our desktop series include a 2-year warranty, whereas our rackmount series arrives with 3 years of warranty coverage. We do this because of the rackmount construction and the components that are inside needs to be particularly robust and able to withstand significantly more consistent access and lower idle time than their desktop alternatives. The additional year of coverage in the warranty is not something we offer because of a user being a business, but as a mark of our confidence in the stability of the product in that much more rigorous storage environment. Alongside these assurances, for those that want the peace of mind that a warranty guarantee provides, we also offer optional warranty extensions on ALL products up to 5 years, which can be obtained by home and business users alike. We know a number of our competitors only provide this on certain units or in a generic ‘while range’ priced form, but we have tailored extensions that scale any optional warranty extensions to each NAS series, meaning that a user can pay all costs within the perspective of the unit’s base price. We just think that is fair.”
What about after Warranty? Do you just abandon QNAP Buyers after the warranty expires?
“No of course not. The warranty period of any QNAP NAS should not be considered a countdown clock to when we will no longer take your call. In fact, we have numerous examples both here in the UK and worldwide supporting our customers directly and through stores like SPAN.COM long after the warranty. Our QTS and QES platforms are designed to be organically growing and improving every day and that means that we need to think long beyond things like warranty sometimes. A particularly useful service we have is the out of warranty repair service (see below) that allows us to be able to help users that have encountered any difficulty outside of warranty. Of course, our services are completely free within the warranty period and we have included these expiration repair services in order to support users even further. Costs are tailored across multiple tiers and are kept as affordable as possible, without undermining the quality of service. Finally, we also re-certify the device for an additional 180 days warranty cover after the unit is back with the end-user. We want users to know that we take post-sales support very seriously indeed.”
QNAP myRMA also offers paid repair service
From QNAP – If the product warranty has expired, QNAP myRMA also offers paid repair services. QNAP customer service will verify the product condition and give a repair quotation based on three damage levels. (Please see the table below for each damage level definition.) The QNAP repair quotation includes the following costs: replacement of components, labour, and one-way shipping. After users agree to the total costs listed in the repair quotation and complete online payment, they can send the defective product to a QNAP designated service center for repair. QNAP offers all repaired out-of-warranty products a free 180-day warranty period, starting from the repaired product delivery date.
Firmware reinstallation; small components repairs or replacements
Major component repairs or replacements
A major component with other small components repairs or replacements
All in all, I have to say that I am happy to see the QNAP UK office. NAS is an industry that is growing rapidly and the need for a good support structure is ever-present. YouTuber and Bloggers like me can talk about Network Attached Storage all-day, but they can only get you to the point of purchase and setup. After that, you need to be able to trust the brand, rely on the manufacturer and hope they are true to their word. I am pleased with what I saw at QNAP’s new UK location and it further confirms my support of this brand going forward.
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