Smartsheet Support - User Management

I apologize in writing this as I am extremely frustrated... this community has been amazing but my experience with Smartsheet support has honestly been the worst support I have encountered in a very long career dealing with many support organizations. So bad I am considering canceling my account and moving on to another product. If others are experiencing the same lack of support I fear there is no future for this company anyway regardless how good the product may be.

I am both venting on support and seeing if anyone in this awesome community has perhaps experienced something similar...

We have a handful of licensed users then many 'free collaborators/editors'. I've discussed the less than ideal onboarding in other messages but be that as it may, I created detailed instructions for users to follow. The process - I create user account in admin portal. User gets invite and follows instructions - they create their Smartsheet account and go through the steps and have an account in our company/domain. The email address they use is our corporate email account [email protected]. This works fine, they can use Smartsheet account to login, they are part of Smartsheet company account, etc. But next, I have them sign in with Microsoft so they don't have to remember and use a separate Smartsheet account. So after they log out of their account with [email protected] they now click on Sign in with Microsoft and it prompts them to login. They login with their corporate login which uses an underscore instead of a period, so [email protected]. They then get the email to confirm the link and all is good... at least for pretty much all my users so far.

The problem is I have this one user whose Smartsheet account with first.last works fine still but if they try to login with Microsoft it acts as if it created a completely separate account with first_last (underscore instead of period) and that is a standalone account, not part of our company account.

Something obviously got boogered up in the account or linkage. I have no clue where linkage info occurs and neither does our O365 admin.

Last night I called support and asked them to delete the underscore account which he did then he went on with some jibberish about many 'period' accounts for that user and the user needed to talk to the admin (me). After 30 min of trying to understand what he was saying he said he would email me instructions which of course I never got.

Tried to relink account and it created the same thing.

So my only thought was to remove all traces of this user - I removed from my user portal and I asked Smartsheet support to remove both the . and _ accounts from their end so I can start over with this user and watch/walk them through and hopefully be successful like all my others.

After 55 min on phone with lots of hold time they basically have no answer. They say they cannot remove a user account - why? And then the support rep refused to connect me to a manager to escalate saying it will be 24 hours to talk to a manager. What??? So they can't do what I asked and they can't escalate the call - so what can they do??? If there truly is some reason they can't delete the account (but guy did last night) then at least put me on with a manager and let them explain that to me and why.

Anyway- so here I am with a user whose account linking via Sign in with Microsoft is not working and I have no other recourse with support. I did contact my account manager to escalate or discuss next steps. But really why is it so difficult for Smartsheet to just remove a user account like they never existed so we can start over - it's not like we can makeup new email addresses to try.

Anyone else ever encounter anything like this?

*This is a business plan account, not enterprise and it is not SSO, which I would love to have as an option to business plan.

Thanks for listening...


  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    It honestly doesn't sound like a SS issue. It sounds to me like the person's email addresses may have been set up differently. Maybe reach out to your IT department to see if a box wasn't checked during setup or something.

  • Steve_Mitchell
    Steve_Mitchell ✭✭✭✭

    Hi @Paul Newcome, thanks for the reply. I don't disagree or assume there is a problem in Smartsheet per se - it's in the linking. I did review the users account with Office and Exchange admin and his account is setup the same as everyone else that works. The whole "Sign in with Microsoft" and linking is a black box that I don't know who has visibility into, our net admin certainly doesn't.

    My frustration is that to change or do anything else I need Smartsheet to remove the user account and they refuse to do it or put me in touch with a manager. There is a thought if we leave the first.last and then add the first_last as an alternate email it may all work, but I cannot add the _ email as it says its associated with another account. So I need support to remove the bogus _ account to even try it and they refuse leaving me with no options to try.

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    The user owning the underscore account should be able to go into their personal settings and cancel it, or they may need to contact Smartsheet Support themselves. If the underscore account isn't tied to your company account, it makes sense that SS won't delete it for you since it isn't tied to your account.

    That would be like me calling in and asking them to delete your account since I am trying to add you to mine.

    Yes. The underscore has the same domain, but it is a separate account from your company's.

  • Steve_Mitchell
    Steve_Mitchell ✭✭✭✭

    Again I don't necessarily disagree but it's alot more gray than that. Neither myself nor the user created or wants the _ account - it's a phantom. I created the . account and user accepted that invite. When Signing in with MS Smartsheet for some reason sent email to _ account and created a phantom _ account in their system. The user doesn't even have a password for the _ account, its not the same as . account that he created. If Smartsheet is going to link to _ account for some unknown reason then I need to try to link that email to his . account but in order to do that it can't exist as a phantom account in Smartsheet.

    Hard to explain, hope that makes sense. And yes, Smartsheet should be able to delete the account even at my request with users permission (in this case its not even a valid or requested account) - I shouldn't have to pull my users to deal with support for something that is not their doing.

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    If the underscore account was not properly tied to the dot account at creation then it would be recognized as a separate email account as opposed to an alias. So when the user tried to sign in and the underscore email was recognized as a different user as opposed to an alias, a separate Smartsheet account was created.

    How are they supposed to verify that you have the other user's permission without getting the user directly involved? So you are saying that if I call up Smartsheet right now and tell them that I have your permission to delete your account, they should go ahead and delete it?

  • Genevieve P.
    Genevieve P. Employee Admin

    Hi @Steve_Mitchell

    Paul is correct, Support will be unable to help update an account unless the request comes from that specific account for security reasons.

    There are a few reasons why an email may be seen as a new, separate account, one of which is if a sheet was shared to this user with the underscore email before they had set this up as a secondary email for their plan. Sharing a sheet creates an account for that user, inviting them to create a login and review that sheet.

    What I would normally suggest in this situation is to ensure that you've added both email address / accounts to your Plan (as Free Members). Then if you were on an Enterprise plan you could use User Merge to combine the two together.

    However, since you're on a Business plan, after you've added both accounts (and both have been verified), you will want to update the Primary Email of the account using the . dot as a different email (a third email). Then you can remove that dot email from the account and add it as a secondary email to the underscore email account. This ensures the underscore email is the Primary one and the user can always use that one to sign in.

    Here's more information and steps for how to complete these actions:

    As a side note: based on your description above I would have expected two accounts for all of your members: one per unique email. Since . and _ are different characters, they're seen as unique addresses. Is it possible that all your other members are using the Microsoft login with emails that have the dot, and only this one user has two unique emails?

    Moving forward, I would suggest only adding the one email address that's associated with their Microsoft login information (in this case, the underscore version) to your plan which should ensure there are no duplicate accounts created in the future.



  • Steve_Mitchell
    Steve_Mitchell ✭✭✭✭

    @Paul Newcome @Genevieve P.

    The system is not accepting my comment so I am going to try to put it here as an attachment...

  • Steve_Mitchell
    Steve_Mitchell ✭✭✭✭

    @Paul Newcome @Genevieve P. First let me just say I truly do appreciate you trying to help and responding. I also don't believe there is a problem per se with the Smartsheet product, the issue lies in the "Sign in with Microsoft" area. But while Smartsheet doesn't own this part, if they offer it as an option the hope is they would have some clue as to what happens when you click it. Is it handed off direct to MS? or What? As fyi I have had our sys admin open a ticket with MS to try to explain that part. My frustration is with support on 2 fronts - unwillingness to do what is necessary (I will explain security position next) and offer no solution and path forward and then outright refusal to escalate to either a senior support rep or a manager as asked (that is honestly my biggest frustration - no support org should ever refuse to escalate an issue whether the customer is right or wrong).

    Paul, I spent many years in IT and worked with security teams - I get the issues surrounding security but respectfully comparing someone from a different company asking to delete a users account from another company is very different than what I'm doing. That is an obvious issue like me trying to reset your banking password.

    These are all within our domain, our small company. These users don't even have licenses, they a free collaborators. They woudn't even know what Smartsheet is if it weren't for our choice to use it and invite them to our account. On top of that, they did not even create the second account, Smartsheet did and the user doesn't even have knowledge of it or EVEN HAVE A PASSWORD TO LOGIN TO IT. So, no, I don't think it is unreasonable for me to ask for those accounts to be removed. They are not licensed, have no data and use our company email domain. If a company owns the email domain they should have a right to dictate how that account is used - what if a rogue user started using our company domain email for nefarious purposes? Also, the Office admin doesn't need anyone's permission to control or delete and users account in our domain.

    Anyway - this can be debated forever and is not productive but it is part of my next issue - user experience.

    The user experience is already poor in setting up a free collaborator. I'm sure you have experience with users first impressions and how that affects acceptance and adoption of new products. If I have to make brand new users jump through all kinds of hoops, call support, etc. just to be able to use a product I WANT THEM TO USE then I may as well quit and find another product. The user needs to have a good experience if you want them to buy in and use the product - I've seen this time and time again and is a surefire way to kill morale and productivity. So yes, I as the license holder and admin of the company domain and accounts should be able to do things on the users behalf so they don't waste time in issues that will just turn them off from the product.

    Ok, that's my soapbox on the background - now I'm going to make a separate post on the actual issue and see how we can possibly resolve.

  • Steve_Mitchell
    Steve_Mitchell ✭✭✭✭

    @Paul Newcome @Genevieve P.

    I just wanted to circle back and post the resolution here in case anyone else is affected...

    As it turns out, this was a bug on the Smartsheet side. They applied a security patch which broke the functionality of the "Sign in with Microsoft" button. The proper function, as I expected and experienced before it broke was that it uses the users primary SMTP address which in our case is first.last. When the bug was introduced it used the users UPN which is first_last (in our case). So this affected a handful of users created while the bug was active.

    I didn't know any of this until I finally got my case escalated to Tier2 and they have been very helpful and accommodating including getting the affected users fixed and removing the unintended accounts as I originally asked.

    This was a long process which included me having to open a case with Microsoft who explained what typically happens behind the button and suspected an issue on the Smartsheet side. Microsoft was very attentive while my case sat untouched for days in Smartsheet Tier 1 but once it was escalated I was very happy with Smartsheet Tier 2 support.

    Hopefully this is a one time issue which is now resolved.