There's a common joke that working as a support engineer is a bit like riding a bike. Except the bike on fire, you are on fire and everything around you is also on fire. While support engineers are no strangers to crisis, our job isn't just putting out fires. Our work often starts before anything has the chance to go wrong. We’re the first line of support from the moment you choose to work with Contentful.
My name is Fajri Hanny, and I'm a support engineer in Contentful's Customer Success department. Perhaps that introduction is unnecessary and we've met before via a support ticket or chat support –– if so, it's nice to see you again.
In this post, I’ll introduce you to the role of a support engineer in a support team. I’ll explain how having us behind the scenes at Contentful keeps your projects moving along swiftly.
Issues with your billing? Curious about how our platform works? Do you have specific questions on content modeling? Maybe you have technical issues that you want to raise or a bug that you’re not sure how to eradicate?
As the first line of support to our customers, the support team is happy to assist you with all your issues. While our headquarters is in Berlin, Germany, we also have support team members across the world operating in your time zone. Based in New Zealand? No problem! We can serve you around the clock.
There is no question too big or too small for the support team. With technical issues, we start by identifying the problem you’re facing. We get that changing CMSes or starting out with Contentful can feel daunting –– sometimes customers approach us with a problem or issue to find out it’s just how the platform works. In this case, we love teaching you how to get used to a new or new-to-you feature. And if you’re set in your ways and would love a workaround, we can help with this too. We assist with your specific use case and work with you to achieve your objectives.
Sometimes the problem is a legitimate issue or bug. When that’s the case, we will do our best to tackle it and determine the root cause. When the issue is affecting the platform in large scale, we will escalate to the right group so it can be handled gracefully and on time. No platform is perfect — our platform’s uptime is excellent but sometimes there will be unknown downtime that we, and everyone else, doesn’t want.
When a crisis comes, the support engineers are part of the team that manages the communication between our core engineering team and our users. You can think of us as your friendly liaisons –– we’ll package the information sent to us by engineering in a way that you can understand. We coordinate with them to make sure that the downtime effects are minimized and our services are restored as fast as possible. If you’re affected by an outage or bug, you can reach out to us via our support tickets.
During any crisis, we will update you with status updates sent to us from our engineering team. This way, we can make sure you’re getting the right information as quickly as possible. Once service is restored, we will get back to you to ensure the issues are gone and everything is running smoothly.
Do you have any suggestions to improve Contentful? Or perhaps there’s a feature that you know will give our users an added value?
Some of the best ideas for improving Contentful come from our customers. We love that light bulb moment, and we’re to listen to your feature requests and ideas. Simply put in a support ticket and we will reroute it to the team that is responsible to see if the idea is viable.This is easily available through the drop-down in the top right-hand corner of the web app. If we find we can’t help by providing a new feature, we are always on hand to suggest a workaround.
Next, let’s chat about how to make life easier for both of us when the issue calls.
If you have a question, there’s a good chance we’ve already answered it! Check out our long list of documentation here. We’ve written extensively about everything from content modeling to the details of what our APIs provide to return your queries.
Tip: We also have code snippets for each API query that you can try on our website. It’s very handy for troubleshooting your queries.
In order for us to be able to troubleshoot your issue faster, we will need as many details as you can give us. Why? Because everyone’s setup is unique. The extensible nature of Contentful means that we’re all working with different content models. Your content model is one of a kind, and we will need to get as close as possible in order to be able to triangulate your issue. The more details you can give us, the quicker we can find the root of the problem and fix it. Detailed steps to reproduce your issue will be helpful as well.
It’s also important to note down the timestamp of your issues because they might be related to our maintenance window or deployments from our Engineering team. This makes it easier for us to pinpoint the root cause.
Do you have HAR files or error logs available? Awesome! Send them to us along with your case and we’ll speed up the solution process. Or maybe you’re having trouble with the web app? An easy way to communicate this with us is to provide the support team with the ID of the entry you’re struggling with. That way, they can navigate there quickly and fix the issue. You can find your entry ID by going to the right-hand corner of the Contentful web app and clicking info.
Last but not least, please join our community and our Slack forum. Our community is full of knowledge and workarounds –– some of them you might have already encountered. Plus it’s fun to hang around and share with the community.
Now that you know who we are, what we do and how we can help you, you should have everything you need the next time you submit a ticket to us. We hope you don’t need to, but if it happens, rest assured — you’re in good hands.
And nothing will be on fire. I promise.
Fajri Hanny is a Support Engineer in the Contentful Customer Success team. She loves to solves issues and automate processes making people's lives easier and crisis-free. She's a self-proclaimed Singlish expert and major book worm.