by Justin Yeroshefsky, System Engineer, Cetrom
The story of the elves and the shoemaker is comparable to the role engineers play in keeping a cloud computing solution up and running. The elves performed their work without the knowledge of the actual shoemaker and those visiting the shop, just as engineers do much of our work behind the scenes. Whether it’s ensuring software and cloud applications are running smoothly and without exception, replicating solutions for redundancy or proactively replacing equipment that is not operating at its optimal level, we do whatever it takes to keep the cloud experience as pleasant as possible.
During situations that require the engineer and customer to have direct contact, responsive and dedicated customer service is key. Following an assessment of the issue, engineers determine the customer’s best contact method, as email, phone or even in-person interaction are all viable options. From the engineer’s perspective, it is about effectively assessing the problem in search of a fast and effective cloud computing solution so customers can get back to work.
Engineers should be available around the clock to account for occurrences such as business travel, inclement weather or customers located in different time zones. These engineers must be highly trained, proactive and good listeners to keep organizations’ cloud solutions up and running efficiently.
The following three-prong strategy serves as a guide to the level of service expected of an engineer when an issue arises:
- Diagnose: When notified of a problem, the first step in exemplary customer service is to ask the right questions, which helps both customers and engineers understand what is happening. If the cause remains undetermined from the description the client provides, the next step typically is to access the client’s computer remotely. Remote access allows the engineer to see exactly what a client is seeing on their desktop computer or laptop. This helps them pinpoint the problem and proceed with diagnostic testing and reconciliation.
- Identify Urgency: When an issue is diagnosed, the resulting insight provides an indication of how serious it is. One or two engineers can identify a low-priority issue and resolve it within an hour, while the time and resources needed to resolve urgent ones varies. However, the engineer will strive to resolve the situation as quickly as the situation permits, regardless.
- Identify and Implement a Solution: Finding a speedy solution affects organizations’ productivity and profitability, so the engineer—whether it is an individual or a team—should leverage any available knowledge and resources to identify and implement a solution, allowing customers to return to business as usual.
Providing quality customer service also means consistently learning and experimenting with the latest tools and cloud applications, including securing proper industry certifications and training. Not only does this level of ongoing education affect the customer’s cloud computing experience when facing an issue, but it also ensures the engineers are capable of taking proactive measures such as making sure adequate storage space is available for cloud applications and critical data. This is the point at which the engineers become the elves once again and their efforts, combined with the three-prong troubleshooting strategy outlined above, ensure users experience the best cloud service possible.