This is the single most frustrating aspect of working with Salesforce. I work for a Salesforce partner, and we only have basic support. We cannot justify spending $30,000 annually on premier support, when it is something we think should be provided for free (especially for partners).
During the course of my work with the Salesforce platform, I have discovered 10+ bugs, both big and small. And every single time dealing with support has been an arduous and painful experience.
Know Whats Required
When logging a case it is absolutely imperative that you grant login access and give the rep the org Id where you have found the bug. If it is a sandbox or developer org I also give written permission upfront that they are authorized to make changes to the org for testing purposes.
Know the Hierarchy
- Tier One: The first line of support. Very basic knowledge of the platform. I have strong suspicions this is outsourced.
- Backline Support: This is who you want looking at your bug. These guys are great, they know the platform and have lots of common sense, if your bug report is well written they will be very helpful in either finding a workaround or escalating further.
- R&D: You will never have direct contact with this tier, these are the actual Salesforce developers who will (eventually) fix your problem
My general rule of thumb is; make sure your pet goldfish can understand the problem. Try to make the repro as short and as clear as possible, a 4-5 line unit test or code sample is about the limit of a Tier One rep's understanding. This has a really great side effect which is that it sometimes helps you uncover that the issue is not a bug, but your code (I'm guilty of this more than once :) )
Another effective strategy is request a goto meeting with the Tier One rep, I have found they understand the problem very quickly if you walk them through it.
It is Tier One's job to shield Backline support from menial support issues, as such they will make excuses, close your cases and generally try to fob you off. If your case is closed but you know it's a bug open another case referencing the original case number, kick up a stink and explain that you know it's a bug, and that basic support is mandated to support bugs.
Escalate, Escalate, Escalate
You know it's a bug, you know that Tier One can not ever help you. So push the rep straight away to escalate this to Backline support. They will refuse and give excuses but keep pushing. The one non negotiable requirement they have is that the Tier One rep is able to reproduce the issue.
Get a Resolution
All but once, I have been told: This is a known issue, with no eta for a fix. So make sure you get the issue into the known issue tracker. This will not be volunteered, you will need to request it specifically. I use the reason that it's easier for me to track.
Before logging a case remind yourself you will get frustrated and you will be ignored. Basic logic and reasoning will fall on deaf ears. With patience and perseverance you will get through to someone who can help you.
If all else fails you can drown sorrows at Dreamforce with others who have also experienced your pain.