Downgraded Customer Service?

I am a Sonos user for a few years, even it is not officially launched in Hong Kong at that moment, I bought my first SONOS from Amazon US.
In the past, the support service was quite good, I can get a response within 1-2 working days and they are really helpful and my problem can be fixed within a short time.
However, in a recent support case, I doubt that is the support service "exists" anymore.
In early March, Sonos announced that they support KKBox music service (a very large music service in Southeast Asia) but the support is still in beta.
As a KKBox user for a few years, I added KKBox in Sonos but all my saved playlists were inaccessible in SONOS App but I can access all songs from KKBox Library, only I cannot find my own playlist.
So I post my problem in the community, but no feedback from neither Sonos nor other users was received.
So I decided to post my problem to Sonos support (Date: 8 Mar 2017)
(In case staff from Sonos saw this post, the ref no of my case is 170309-000397)
2 days later (10 Mar 2017), I received a reply from support
"About KKbox,Non member users can only listen to a song 30 seconds。And this music service is still in beta stage, followed by this music service server in Taiwan.If you listen online in other countries will not be stable.I'm sorry for the inconvenience."
After reading the reply, my impression is that the support is neither confirming my problem, nor try to investigate/resolve my problem, he just tries to clarify that the problem in on the user (I am not a user?), the music service provider (KKBox is still in beta?) or the internet connection (music streaming need a lot of bandwidth?), not the responsibility of SONOS.
As the head of the IT department in a large organization with more than 2000 staffs, I can't stop asking myself
- Is that the way SONOS to handle user support case? 😠 😠 :@
- Should all basic functions (like playing user playlist) be functional in the Open Beta stage? (Remember It is not in the prototype or alpha stage).
So the same day, I write a reply to support to clarify
I think my question was not answered.
1) I am a fully paid member of KKBox, not a non-member.
2) KKBox was officially launched in Hong Kong for a few years and I used it for more than 5 years in Hong Kong (and other countries), never have a connection problem.
3) The problem has now been Sonos cannot assess my own playlists in KKBox.
Of course, I understand the support of KKBox is still in beta, but I was surprised that this basic function (play own playlist) is not working.
After 10 Mar 2017, I write to them 2 times (15 & 20 Mar) to ask for an update or confirmation of my problem.
10 Days Already.
In the past, I strongly recommend my friend to get a SONOS from US or UK online shop (Cause at that time, no official dealer in Hong Kong)
But now, even Sonos is officially launched in Hong Kong earlier this year, I don't think I will continue to recommend it to my friend if the level of support service was dropped like this case.

17 replies

So you want Sonos to "fix" a feature that KKBox has left out of its Sonos integration. Why haven't you petitioned KKBox to add the feature? I wonder how responsive they will be?
Very interesting logic. 🆒
So, according to your logic, if a buy a Burger from McDonald and you found out that the meat is not fresh. You will not complain to MacDoanld but you will approach the meat provider (maybe in Brazil :P)
If one day you found out that you cannot access your Apple Music or Spotify library through Sonos, you will just approach Apple or Spotify but not Sonos, the provider of the Sonos Apps & integration? Very interesting logic.
I don't know whether there is any deal between KKBox and Sonos.
But for me, Sonos is the provider of the KKBox Integration.
If Sonos found out that the Integration is not "up to standard" and fail to provide some basic function, Sonos can just don't release it to the customer.
If Sonos decided to release it the user, it will in no doubt, has to take the responsibility.
Also my complaint here is the quality of the customer service to handle my case, not the fail KKBox integration.
As a user to request support, I wish the support service to provide assistance.
But I found that in my case, they fail to do so.
Not even a timely response, not 11 days, Zero response 😠.
Anything like "We found some problems in the KKBox integration and we will investigate the problem but we don't know when it will be fixed.", I will be very happy cause I know that they know there is a problem and they will try to fix it.
Sigh. You really have no clue how this works, do you?

Sonos has a published Partners API. The providers choose which features they will allow their Sonos integration to provide. Sonos tests the integration with the provider. If it works to Sonos spec, Sonos publishes. Sonos doesn't dictate which features the provider chooses. You need to go talk to the service provider.

So, according to your logic, if a buy a Burger from McDonald and you found out that the meat is not fresh. You will not complain to MacDoanld but you will approach the meat provider (maybe in Brazil :P)

Yes, because your comparison isn't accurate. Who would you complain to if the McD operated out of a rented space, and there was a problem with the burger? The landlord?
Did Sonos support tell me what you told me in your reply? NO
What Sonos support told me? "Cause you are not a paid KKBox user, it is the connection problem...."
What happens after I clarification? No response after 11 days.
Did KKBOx send me the email about the new integration with Sonos? NO
Did Sonos send me the email about me the new integration with KKBox? YES.
What Sonos told me in the email

"What we need to you do:
- Use the Add Music Services search filter to find KKBOX and then add your account to Sonos.
- Try browsing and searching KKBOX while music is streaming.
- Let us know if you are experiencing any failures during playback and how frequently they occur.
What did I do when I found a problem? Tell them.
What did the support say?
Very interesting.
I think it is a good "example" to train my end-user support team. 🆒

What Sonos told me in the email

"What we need to you do:
- Use the Add Music Services search filter to find KKBOX and then add your account to Sonos.
- Try browsing and searching KKBOX while music is streaming.
- Let us know if you are experiencing any failures during playback and how frequently they occur.

Good point, and one that Sonos should address in their email boiler plate. They need to change the last sentence quoted above, to asking you to contact KKBOX for support. Or the relevant API partner as the case may be.

- Let us know if you are experiencing any failures during :

You are right to be indignant about this. These posters are ignoring that sonos integration is a partnership and they have a roll to play. Sonos emoloyees have repeatedly posted this. This is why they solicit feedback in the email ffs.

I am surprised you didnt get additional response from suppport. I would open a new ticket. i dont know of any services lacking such basic features on Sonos so might be a technical error they can fix. If not Sonos needs to hear from their cystomers about sub par integrations.
Userlevel 7
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Thanks for the feedback ronaldng. We'll make sure this ticket gets in the right hands for review and so that someone can help out.

Beta services are always a tricky situation, even public betas. Not all features are available, and sometimes features aren't possible to be added due to missing coding on one side or the other. I'm not too familiar with the case of KKBox, but generally speaking development for features happens on both sides. Sometimes it needs to be handled by the service, othertimes, there's something that we need to get added to our API. It depends on the feature in question.

As to services not working in other countries, some services are geo-blocked and servers reject connections that aren't from the right country. It's also possible that the service simply fails from time to time because of extra latency when trying to connect through extra hops that shouldn't be there.

A technician will be replying back to that ticket soon with some more details. Please let me know if I can help with anything too.
Glad to hear from Sonos finally.
As an IT professional with more than 20 years in the industry, I fully understand the challenge of software development.
Especially on the User Acceptance Test (UAT) process (Beta Stage).
For me, the purpose of the beta release is to test all the basic or key functions of the software or system by a larger group of people other than the development team.
But what if a key basic function is missing, should it be released for beta testing? (without any notification to tester)?
Should we wait until all key/basic function is functional first?
Will you put the car to road test even if you know that the steering wheel is not functional?
With no doubt, playlist is a key function of any music streaming service and I think, not only in KK Box, for others like Apple Music and Spotify, 99.9% of users will use playlist to play music.
I don't know what was happened between KK Box and Sonos in the development of the integration, but as the "publisher" of the integration, should Sonos test the integration before the beta release, especially the key functions like "playlist"?
On geo-block, from my experience in last 5 years with KKBox, I used it during my travel to nearly 20 countries all over the world, like Europe, North & South America and all over the Asia, never had a connection problem, even using only 2G service in some undeveloped country, (I still can access my playlists but only can play downloaded songs)
Anyway, as stated in the topic of the post, my main complaint is NOT the poor implementation of the KK Box integration, it the unprofessional support service I received.
It is a big contract from my previous experience with Sonos support.
Good learning for Sonos here if it is heard. Going forward there will be a lot more partner led developments as things like API partners, Echo, Home integration and the like expand in scope. Sonos will have to be either geared up for a lot more on time support or find a way to clearly delineate its scope of support to what it can offer on time and to the required quality. While the former is the preferred approach, there is the risk of biting of more than what can be chewed by leaving things open ended.
I am a fans of Sonos like you from China, but KKBOX is the music service I have been enjoying for since its beta launched, I don't know why this happened but you have my sympathy, I am a paid user with KKBOX's premium account,and so far I don't think I have experienced the audio dropouts, I don't know how to have a troubleshooting, but you might provide some local Env info to investigate,and regarding playlist so far KKBOX seems like only support “Collected Playlists” but not “My playlist” that would be shamed,But I believe that Sonos will be having it available soon as this is needed.
After nearly 3 months, today I received an email from Sonos said my support case was closed.
Their last reply on the case was in March.
"we will follow up with our Service provider and try to fix the issue."
But now they silently close my case, without any information on how they follow up the case. :@
And the problem is still there. :@:@:@
How can Sonos close the case without any fix or explanation? :@:@:@
If that's the way Sonos handle its customers, fine!
No more complaint!
Cause Sonos already lost my trust.
Userlevel 5
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Hey ronaldng, thanks for updating the thread. Your incident shouldn’t have been closed without any form of explanation as to why. Even if there may not be an update, it’s not acceptable to us. I’ve reached out on our end to the right team and they’ll be looking into this. They’ll be in touch.
I think the problem might be on Sonos China cause, unlike my previous case that was handled by staffs in Sonos US, those 2 staffs that handle my case were from Sonos China.
Arrange staff from the same time zone to handle the problem may be a good idea to provide a quick response. (or to cut staff cost)
But without proper training to the customer service staff and let them handle the case in a very unprofessional way,
e.g. "make up a reason and try to fool the customer and hope they will believe it and settle the case",
"close the case without any fix and explanation just to meet the performance target"
it will easily become a "disaster" for both Sonos and the customers.
My case is a typical example.
Hope my case will be handled properly.
They just reopened my case and Sonos Chia explained the reason why they close my case.
"didn't get any feedback in email so just closed this ticket temporarily"
But in their reply in March (the last reply before they close it)
"we will follow up with our Service provider and try to fix the issue"
If they said they will follow my problem, of course, I will just sit and wait for their response.
What kind of feedback did they expect from me?
A weekly reminder to them saying that "Hey guys, the problem is still there after XXX days."?
Nothing was fixed and the customer does not remind you--> better to close the case asap and hope the customer forget the case.
Is that their logic?
I suggested Sonos US take over all support cases, including mine from Sonos China.
Userlevel 5
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I'll follow up on our end to make sure we get the incident under review.

Music services are best worked on in the region that supports them, especially because it’s a bit tricky testing non-global ones outside of their supported region. As KKBOX is in beta it is bound to be a bit buggy, but that’s still no excuse. We’ll see if there’s any pressure we can apply on our end with the service and team.
Userlevel 1
Badge +4
I'm also from Hong Kong and I do really agree to what Ronald said... The support from SONOS China is far below satisfaction when comparing to that from SONOS US.