Tell us about your job?
I’m a communications Engineer at IComm, specialising in Mitel phone and unified communications solutions.
My role is varied and my day might involve checking in with our network operations centre for any faults, resolving faults and technical issues, reports on the health of sites, minor programming works, projects, site visits and being on-call after hours.
What are the most common technical issues you deal with in your role?
The majority of my time is taken up providing basic troubleshooting support to users. And yes, believe it or not, we have come across end users who have not had their phone plugged in to power.
To narrow in on where the issue lies and how it might be resolved I need to ask a few basic questions such as:
• In basic terms what you are experiencing?
• Is the issue affecting just you, a small group of people or the whole organisation?
Some end users call us directly, but mostly I provide support to our customer’s IT departments.
What’s an example of a technical problem you’ve recently assisted with?
I recently supported one of our customers who is in the cloud as they were having issues with call quality and security, including calls with no sound. In the cloud calls go through many servers to get to a phone. We looked into whether there was a mismatch of different medias trying to work at once and made sure all systems were working together properly to deliver good call quality.
What are some of the challenges you face?
I often find that I firstly need to calm people down, as by the time they get in contact with me they are usually quite frustrated with their technical issue. In this instance I find it best to pick up the phone and call the user rather than just email them as they feel you are making a bigger effort. It can also sometimes be quicker to narrow in on the issue and sort it out over the phone.
What is the process for resolving technical issues?
Firstly we have to prioritise a technical issue – is it more widespread or is it affecting one user? The more widespread an issue is, the higher it is on our priority list.
For each job we look at the logs and try and drill down to the issue, often by replicating so we can simulate what is happening for the end user. If it’s not possible to replicate the problem we will then try the easiest and quickest fix first. If that doesn’t work then we move on to the next easiest scenario. Sometimes it will be a carrier issue and we will need to work with them on behalf of the customer.
What are some of the funny stories you have?
I once had an end user in management who would only use the new phone system their company was rolling out if it could be white, rather than the standard issue black, because that wouldn’t match the décor of the office. The phone was sent off, disassembled, sprayed white and returned for use.
I also had an end user call because they had no sound on their calls. I worked out that someone had turned their server off and calls had not been being routed properly for a week. I asked the end user if they could turn the server back on as their IT Department wasn’t available. They asked what it was and where it was. I walked them through it slowly, describing where everything was and the button they had to press. They were very nervous and it took some time to talking them into switching it back on.