A Day in Technical Support

by

What is a day in the life of a Technical Support Engineer like? Do I spend my day asking customers “have you tried turning it off and then turning it on?”. The answer is no, Technical Support is so much more. I want to give you an insight into what my day consists of, so that hopefully in future you can get the optimal support from our QA Systems Support team.

 

In the morning…

 

The day always starts with a coffee and while drinking my coffee, I will check my plan for the day. These are some of the things I think about:

  • Am I meeting the sales team today?
  • Do the developers need me to discuss something with a customer?
  • What customer meetings do I have?
  • Are there many tickets in the Support Ticketing system?
  • Do I have to prepare any training material?
  • Do I have any Technical Notes to write?
  • Are there any sales demonstrations?

 

After my 2nd coffee…

Once I know my schedule for the day, I usually start with the Support Ticket Inbox. First ticket reads “I have a dog in my server”, ermm, looks like Google TranslateTM got bug mixed up with dog? This is a good start to the day, I’m laughing already. I shall email them back and ask for some more information on their “dog” I mean “bug”. I presume that they may be having an issue with the server we ship with Cantata Team Reporting, but in order to fix the “dog” I need some further clarification.

 

Afterwards, I have my first web session with a customer who is struggling with ACCESS_VARIABLE’s for white box testing. I ask her to demonstrate the issue for me, but as she does she realises what her mistake was. This customer is switched on and I never said a word. These calls may be easy but I still always like to end the call with “glad I could help” and it is usually met with laughter.

 

 

After my 3rd coffee…

 

In the next ticket, I see that the customer has sent me a detailed email stating what their issue is and a cut down example of the problem. This is good, I immediately know what I need to do and I can quickly test this in my installation of Cantata. When debugging a problem, I will always require the following information:

  • What version of Cantata is the customer using?
  • What Cantata feature is customer using?
  • What steps are they following to get the error message?
  • Have they sent me a complete verbose log file?

 

If I do not have all this information, I will have to get back to them and ask for further clarification, thus slowing down the support process especially when I’m dealing with support issues from a number of different time zones. Luckily in this case the customer has given me all the information needed to reproduce the problem. Now I must see if there is a workaround and log a TSI (Technical Support Issue) with the development team. If I do not have a work around, I will escalate this issue. However today is going well, I find a work around, log a new TSI and let the customer know my findings.

 

Getting hungry already…

 

It has been a busy morning so far but I’m making my way through the support tickets, however next up, I must prepare the training material for a customer I’m visiting next week in Spain. It is a 3-day C/C++ training and the customer will have to install Cantata on 10 laptops. They will need temporary licenses and the exercise labs will all have to be delivered. I put the data on our FTP site and then craft an email telling them what I will require for training. I also ask them questions such as what time do I need to be there? Who do I ask for when I arrive? How many tapas dishes should I order for lunch? Do you need any more information from me?

 

Time for lunch!

Lunchtime is always a good time to take a break, I mean literally. I usually have a game of pool with my Technical Director Chris, I’m a better player but I let him win sometimes mostly because he is my boss!

 

Time for my 4th coffee…

 

After lunch I have a meeting with the Deployment Team, we discuss outstanding Deployments of Cantata to target hardware, assign new deployments to the team and discuss any issues we may be having. As it’s an internal meeting and when I’m not doing all the talking, I will pick up my 7-string electric guitar and play until it’s my turn to talk.

After the meeting, I have some time as the Support Ticket Inbox is quiet today, so I start to write a Technical Note on how to use Cantata with CMAKE. I quite enjoy writing Technical Notes as its very logical, I can take screen shots and put my knowledge to use to create something useful. I usually see patterns in support tickets, and it is with this knowledge that I try and write relevant Technical Notes.

I receive a phone call on the Support line from a Cantata user, I know him well and after we speak about the weather and each other’s kids, we get down to business. He wants to know about Continuous Integration with Jenkins and if I have any information about that and Cantata Test Architect which is a new product. I have good news for him, I refer him to the Integration with Jenkins Cantata Technical Note and a video on Cantata Test Architect on our support website: www.qa-systems.com.

 

Almost done for the day…

 

The day is nearing the end, but I have a meeting with Dylan (our International Sales Manager) and a new prospective customer, this is my last web session of the day. It’s a sales demo and Dylan will wow the customer with QA Systems’ vast customer base and I will wow the customer with a demo of Cantata ending with “One Click Autotest” and my usual joke about “I wanted to call this ‘Cantata Magic’!”.

 

Time to go home!!

I’ve had a full day and now it’s time to go home and support Netflix by binge watching my favourite movies with my family!

This is an average day as a Technical Support Engineer, we are people who like to please, we want our customers to succeed and we use knowledge and relationships to progress customer issues while keeping our sales team and our development team happy.

 

Quick tips for getting your technical issues resolved faster

Next time you have a question about Cantata, just remember to get the most out of a QA Systems Technical Support Engineer it helps to give us optimal information. Sending code snippets, log files, screen shots and even better providing a cut down example, will all contribute to a complete, correct and fast response. Experience tells me customers who send just a screen shot of “Error 404 not found, what is the solution?” will not get the most out of their support experience, so please be the customer who investigates an issue and details the problem before contacting support.

If you do need to speak to QA Systems Technical Support, please email: support@qa-systems.com.

SAFETY CRITICAL AND EMBEDDED SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

QA Systems experts provide industry insights. Discussing software quality for embedded systems, safety critical software development, testing techniques and automation of development processes.

RELATED RESOURCES