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  • ShoreTel TAC 101

    **Disclaimer** All the information here is based on experience and being involved in ShoreTel TAC process. It does not depict actual ShoreTel Policy nor does this reveal any Internal process or procedure ShoreTel has in place. All information is only here to give you a better understanding and appreciation for the ShoreTel TAC engineer. PLease consult first with your Partner or ShoreTel TAC Directly for any question in regards to latest builds and fixes

    Coming soon,
    What do you know about ShoreTel TAC?

    How do you handle escalated SR's to Tier2?

    What is the outcome of New Bugs and the ETA of Fixing?

    What can I do to assist TAC in their Job?

    What CSAT really does and why it is important to accurately fill in?

    I will address each of these items one at a time, Hopefully this will give you a better incite as to the operations of TAC and what exactly they can and cannot tell you
    Last edited by Jlorenz; 07-21-2008, 12:46 PM.

  • #2
    **Disclaimer** All the information here is based on experience and being involved in ShoreTel TAC process. It does not depict actual ShoreTel Policy nor does this reveal any Internal process or procedure ShoreTel has in place. All information is only here to give you a better understanding and appreciation for the ShoreTel TAC engineer. PLease consult first with your Partner or ShoreTel TAC Directly for any question in regards to latest builds and fixes

    First Topic

    What do you really know about ShoreTel TAC?

    Better what you should know about ShoreTel TAC?


    First the folks in TAC strive to make your system work as designed, this means they have to understand from "What You Tell Them" is the truth. When you call in they should know the first items on the list from you

    Name
    Company name
    Software Build of your ShoreTel
    OS version and SP level of the Server


    These are the first things that should be declared or offered. The problem being brought to the Engineer should be concise and should never consist of the Engineer trying to pull information about the issue or problems. Many times it may seem like its 20 questions, this does and rightfully cause a sense of not listening and frustration on both sides.

    Try to understand the TAC engineer works on as many as 20 systems a day, with multiple issues and as many applications. It is difficult at times to try and simply stop everything and refocus immediately. That is why it is always best to clarify the issue with as much information as possible and to reiterate the issue if needed. There is no harm in repeating the issue for clarification do not be offended if the questions are redundant (especially if multiple techs have talked to you)

    If you have multiple issues, it is best to start with the highest priority item, because of the time constraints with each call, ALWAYS let the TAC engineer know you have multiple issues up front. He or she may advise to work the top two or three and ask if you can open web cases for the non urgent items. I normally would do this and ask that they mention to assign to me directly. Note on Multiple issues Because of the call volume and time constraints, an engineer will be flagged if his or her calls exceed a specific time limit, multiple issues is not the problem, it is time. To make it easier on yourself as well as the engineer, deciding what priority your issue is and opening web cases for non priority (aka Questions) is best for all.

    If your wanting an update for an existing SR or bug Always ASk for A SR Number "ALWAYS" before the call ends, you should already have the SR number. As an enterprise or partner customer, you will have as much information as the TAC engineer. Waiting in line for an update, you can get on line with your account is advised. Always Update the SR you have especially if escalated, this puts your DNA and undeniable that you have been asking for updates. Remember an engineer cannot directly transfer you to a tier2 engineer, you will only get Voicemail.

    Never have Your customer on line in conference at the start of the call, first of all ShoreTel has a strict policy for this, it is for your safety as well as your customers. Always ask to bring your customer on, this will alleviate a lot of potential harm. Remember the ShoreTel TAC engineer cannot schedule any conference call with 3rd party providers or discuss any issue with 3rd party providers. Unless it is specifically arraigned with Tier2 or managment. Understand Tier1 is not the Technical Process for any conference with 3rd party vendors, that is Tier2. Of course there are occasions this will be the steps to take, very seldom.

    Tier1's job is to identify, Isolate and correct within a specific time frame any issue that may be reported, if that engineer cannot, he or she has the ability to seek a Sr level for support or clarification. It is then they will gather all logs, assign an SR and escalate accordingly.

    Tier1 TAC is a robust, very capable and well trained technically. They are as I have said the best group of people I have ever worked with. When your filling out the CSAT, remember that whatever you place on that score card reflects that engineer. The engineer who currently owns that SR is the one who will get your 10's or 0's. Lets say you worked with 2 engineers and finally the 3rd took ownership of the SR. That engineer fixed the issue, corrected the problem when the other two could not. In your report you may reflect your dissatisfaction form the original two, yet your score will ding the one who helped you thus lowering that engineers overall. BE VERY CAREFUL ON YOU CSAT a big portion of the engineers personal performances are rated through them. IMO it is not a fair way to evaluate your engineer, it does not differentiate between ShoreTel Process and your Engineers productivity with you.

    Your experience with TAC should always be a positive one, please consider all that is above. They know, we know how frustrating things can be and how tense a situation. Understanding a little bit about what goes on behind the curtains at TAC, I hope would give you a better appreciation as to what and why somethings happen.

    Next I will write about How do you handle escalated SR's to Tier2?
    Last edited by Jlorenz; 07-21-2008, 01:12 PM.

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    • #3
      **Disclaimer** All the information here is based on experience and being involved in ShoreTel TAC process. It does not depict actual ShoreTel Policy nor does this reveal any Internal process or procedure ShoreTel has in place. All information is only here to give you a better understanding and appreciation for the ShoreTel TAC engineer. PLease consult first with your Partner or ShoreTel TAC Directly for any question in regards to latest builds and fixes

      Second Topic

      How do you handle escalated SR's (Service Requests) to Tier2?


      When a SR is opened and escalated, for bugs, enhancement requests or further diagnostics for Tier2 and or Engineering, one thing to understand it is no longer under the control of the original Engineer. Below will describe and help you with maintaining and getting proper feed back for your customers from ShoreTel TAC.
      The TAC engineer has no more information on your Service Request then you do, that is found on line in your webcases. Sitting in Q and waiting for an update can be eliminated by simply checking your webcases on line. Sometimes you will need to call thats fine, majority of the time where time is money, you can add comments and find out if your Tier2 Escalation is being looked at.

      Escalated Bugs
      If a bug is discovered a new (INTERNAL ONLY) SR is opened and associated with your original SR. Normally if this is done correctly, you will get notified when the Bug is fixed and passed QA and in the next Build. You always can update the Original SR on Line and ask for an update status HIGHLY RECOMMENDED this keeps your DNA on that case and evidences your requesting form the Engineer who owns that bug an update. Depending on how critical the Issue is, It would be wise to contact your ShoreTel Sales Engineer with the SR number and Bug Number if you have it. They then can track this internally and try and get the very critical P1 bugs fixed before it explodes.

      Again, it is best that you update your Cases on the Web as often as possible. I cannot iterate this with any more importance, this has a major impact for you the customer, (You will see further on)

      Escalated Enhancement Requests
      The best thing for you to do is get the SR #'s opened on these enhancement requests. Enhancement requests really go to Sales Marketing, unless they are effectively a system effecting Functional item, it will be a very slow process to get them in. Enhancements are measured from Marketing requirements. My suggestion is to show just cause, cost, customer need and so on to your ShoreTel Sales Engineer and Sales Marketing team to push these through.

      Functional Bugs, New Bugs, Critical Bugs
      Once escalated again, your TAC engineer has really no further information on it then oyu can find in the Webcase online. For time, it is best to check your cases as often as possible. ALWAYS place a date and Time stamp of Inquiry to your case for an update. This is very important in the long run. It shows your active, your wanting info and waiting. You can then go to your manager, who then can go to ShoreTel TAC Manager and show proof of contact. It is impossible for a TAC engineer to transfer you direct to the engineer in Tier2 who owns the bug, unless authorized, your going to be sent to vmail. Do not get upset with this, it is policy and not the fault of the engineer, they know it is frustrating.

      Open Bugs with Tier1 Non Escalated
      Always seek updates on line, try and stay with the same engineer, if your going on site, and want to work directly with that engineer (Original Owner) note that in the case and set a time with them, they can at times if advanced notice arrange this with you. Ask if the owner (Tier1 engineer) of the SR is available when following up (Again, if no then you will get Vmail)
      Chances are your going to get multiple engineers for your call, do not get frustrated with the engineer if the questions they may ask are redundant and repeating. Before calling ShoreTel Management, Before escalating to Sales or Sales Engineering, give your engineer a chance to work the issue. TAC is a high stress high volume area, if your not satisfied with the results by all means, ask for another engineer (Sr Level) or ask for Tier 1 Super. He is the most Tech Savvy person on the floor (Since I left ) and he will help you. Most Importantly if you have an open SR that your requesting to stay open and working wit the Engineer, The Policy is if you have no update, no activity for Three Attempts by the Engineer to contact you for info and or updates, the case will be closed. It is unfair to the engineer to coninue to keep a case open , when oyu have no activity on it or wish it to stay open for tracking. We can track it closed, all we need is an SR number. Do not get upset if your case is closed after 3 attempts to contact you for updates, with no response

      CSAT and why
      I cannot tell you how important it is that you be very, very diligent in filling these out. I cannot get into the inner workings of, but I can tell you is they are a major thorn n the side to the engineer. One bad mark even though your engineer accomplished, corrected and was 100% successful, one bad mark can cause harm. So I again say, please be very conscious that these engineers work very hard for you and how you reply to these CSAT can and will cause that engineer more then I can tell you.
      Last edited by Jlorenz; 07-21-2008, 01:12 PM.

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      • #4
        **Disclaimer** All the information here is based on experience and being involved in ShoreTel TAC process. It does not depict actual ShoreTel Policy nor does this reveal any Internal process or procedure ShoreTel has in place. All information is only here to give you a better understanding and appreciation for the ShoreTel TAC engineer.

        Topic 3

        What is the outcome of New Bugs and the ETA of Fixing?


        ShoreTel maintains three GA releases available for download. With each new release (Example 8.1) when it is GA, this will leave 8.1, 8.0 and 7.5 that will be the General Fix Builds. Normally one Maintenance build a month is the average for the above mentioned. ETA or Estimated Time of Arrival is unknown, many times you the customer knows before the TAC knows.

        Depending on the priority of the Bug and of course the number of customers it is effecting will have direct effect on how fast the maintenance build is out. It is not abnormal to see bugs fixed in Newer releases aka 8.0 and not in 7.0, this is due to the QA cycle and priority in this testing.

        Release notes

        The listing of Bugs in the Release notes are not based on priority, aka P1, P2 etc etc. These listings, Especially in KNOWN may or may not have an effect on your particular situation. They are listed because of a few factors 1: Under Investigation, 2: Effects one or more customers, 3: System Effecting and so on. It is best to consult with ShoreTel TAC if you have any concerns prior to upgrade, The Release Notes are your Live Line READ THEM. It is impossible to predict any issues you may have with regards to upgrades. This goes for any type of upgrade. Best practice is to always consult TAC, Make Backups and have a Recovery Plan.

        Bugs and fixes
        If your reporting a possible bug, before calling into TAC, try and identify the issue, chances are it is fixed in a newer release of Software. It is best practice to replicate the issue first before calling into TAC. If you have done this, then go to TAC website, Down load the Latest Release and compare the info with what may be already a known fixed bug. Your TAC Engineer can then verify and validate if an upgrade is mandated by validating your findings. You can save yourself a whole lot of time and aggravation by investigating the issue First before Calling TAC.

        Upgrades / Maintenance Builds
        There is no such beats as a hot fix, unless it is coming direct form Tier2 ordained by Engineering, your bug fixes always come as a maintenance build. I recall a Partner refusing to upgrade a client (Who was on Beta) to the GA build that fixed the issue. They wanted and demanded a Hot Fix. It came down to being forced to escalate a call to Tier2, who then advised to Upgrade. This waisted time, this waisted resources and it made both companies look bad in front of the customer. Engineering will not fix beta software once the software is GA, if your on a Beta or a Few builds old CR, your first responsibility is to upgrade you system to the latest GA, unless instructed by TAC otherwise. DO not get angry at TAC, for having to upgrade, bottom line is it is your customer.

        New Bugs

        If your reporting a new bug, have identified this as not working or ?, it is imperative you get and offer as much information to the engineer as possible. Lets say the bug is intermittent and not reproducible every call. It is not in a good idea to keep the TAC engineer on line as you try and reproduce the issue. What is a good idea is to Call TAC and find out the steps, turn on Debug and in general get whatever information you will need to track, trace and capture the issue. many times the bug is reproducible at every call, many more times it is already reported and the Engineer need to capture data and will know exactly what to get. Depending on the severity "again" chances are it will not be in the next build.

        What to do to track and escalate
        If you have an open bug, the best way to get exposure is to follow the guidelines set in Topic 2. Always, Always Always Stay on top of the SR, ask for updates, contact your Sales Engineer ask them for updates as well. do not let it go to the way side, simply stay on top of matters, another words take control of it.

        I want to stress very highly, everything I have placed here is to help you and your customer to have a better understanding of what to expect. This is not reflective of ShoreTel Policy or process, it is congruent to any organization. TAC knows your frustration, TAC is your Partner, they rely on you and your expertise to assist them in correcting or giving you the best possible solution. It starts with you
        Last edited by Jlorenz; 07-21-2008, 01:12 PM.

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