closing the loop - contact center

Take a Step Back to Troubleshoot, Move Forward in Strides

By James Christopherson, Senior Voice Engineer

As a small introduction, my name is James Christopherson and I’m one of the Senior Voice Engineers at Inflow Communications. I’ve been with Inflow Communications for almost 3 years and absolutely love what I do. I wear many hats, but a few include installing PBX and Contact Center Systems (large and small), Technical Escalations, and Technical Writing for internal and public facing documentation. I hope to provide a slightly different voice with small easily consumable posts from the Engineering and Installation perspective.

To kick-start, I’d like to talk about how I troubleshoot. Namely, I take a step back to troubleshoot. As part of the Engineering and Helpdesk team, we get questions from all sorts of individuals. Some are Technical, some are not, but we all want everything to run like a well-oiled machine. Have a problem you don’t understand? Is it overwhelming or just don’t know where to start? Then it’s time to take a step back and start from the beginning. Most technical issues can be resolved with simple fixes that are looking right back at us. Take the issue at its most basic level and work your way up. Take these simple scenarios…

Scenario 1

Did you just install a switch but the server can’t see it?  Rather than assume the switch is bad, start from the beginning by going through a simple checklist.

  • Is it powered on?
  • Is the network cable plugged in?
  • Does it have an active network connection?
  • Can you ping it?

Asking yourself the basic questions allows you to work your way up.  If you know it’s powered on, has a network cable but you can’t ping it, this tells you the problem is one of two things.

1)    The software programming potentially has at least one typo in it.

2)    The Network port the phone switch is plugged into may not be programmed correctly.

If neither of those are the case then you can move on to bigger things, like the Network Routing, and Firewalls.

Scenario 2

A user states that they aren’t able to make phone calls to a specific number but gives no other details than that.

The first few of questions you should ask are:

1)    Is the user able to make all other phone calls without issue?  (i.e. local, long distance, international.)

2)    Can the user make other calls to that particular prefix/area code if local/long distance?

3)    Are there any other users affected with the same issues?

Based on the answers, here’s some potential solutions:

1)    The user is part of an incorrect user group or one with minimal rights.

2)    The prefix list for the Trunk Group may need to be updated.

3)    The carrier may be having some issues with specific prefixes/area codes.

Scenario 3

Inbound calls just aren’t getting to where they need to be, whether it is during business hours or after.  If you have the Inflow Analytics Platform you can easily get a generated report of what it currently does! Call flow is definitely one of the most overwhelming aspects of a phone system. Luckily setting the ShoreTel system up to do what you want it to do is almost always very straightforward! What we always recommend to staff is the following:

1)    Identify the number you would dial to get into the system.

2)    Define what you want it to do when you get there –

  • Do you want it to go to an Auto Attendant during Business Hours but a mailbox after-hours?
  • Do you want it to go to your Contact Center during Business Hours, but an Off-Site service after hours?

3)    Chart it out and then work your way from start to finish and see where your design breaks down.

We’re always more than happy to assist with answering questions on how to make certain things work, or on how to fix them. We’ve handled a number of systems and know ShoreTel and other contact center systems inside and out. And we know from experience, there’s a simple solution to most any problem, if you take a step back and look closely.

About Inflow

Founded in 1997, Inflow is one of the nation’s top Unified Communications and Contact Center consultants in today’s market. Pioneers in cloud unified communications and cloud contact center success, Inflow is the first company to provide contact center consulting and training focused solely on helping you elevate your customer experience.

With over 200,000 endpoints supported under Inflow’s innovative success programs around the world, Inflow built its brand and reputation around providing unrivaled customer support. Inflow is in Mitel/ShoreTel’s top 2% in global customer satisfaction, and quickly acquiring a top spot with RingCentral, Genesys PureCloud and NICE inContact.

By partnering with Inflow, you can expect the highest level of strategic consultation, execution, and optimization available in the industry.