A close-up of a young woman with her arm outstretched behind her at hot air balloons. She works at New Relic.
Lucy Lu. Image: New Relic

‘Regardless of how my day unfolds, it always involves a lot of collaboration’

11 Apr 2019

Lucy Lu is a technical support engineer at New Relic. Here, she talks about what her role is like and the skills she uses most.

When it comes to working as a technical support engineer, your own problem-solving skills come to the forefront. You need to be able to solve customer problems quickly and efficiently. However, one of the most critical skills you may not think about is teamwork, including the ability to collaborate.

Lucy Lu is a technical support engineer at New Relic. She told us what her role entails and emphasised the importance of working as a team when it comes to solving bigger problems.

What is your role within New Relic?

I’m a technical support engineer at New Relic. It’s my responsibility to work with our customers to answer their technical queries and help them resolve any issues they may face while using our product platform.

If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in the job?

At New Relic, we provide 24/7 support to our customers, so there are technical support engineers working around the clock to help our customers find and fix problems. I start each day by checking my email and getting caught up on the updates from support tickets that were addressed while I wasn’t on call. The team provide updates about what happened during their shifts; usually these are from other New Relic technical support engineers located in our offices around the world. I find that this is a really good way to start my day because I can see if there’s anything that I need to be aware of and potentially follow up on during my day.

Typically after that, I dive into our ticketing system and start working on my open tickets or take on some new ones. I specialise in Java and the New Relic mobile product, so the tickets that I work on are with regard to questions customers have about the products that relate to my specialities. The rest of the technical support team specialise in different things, so together we are able to support our customers’ questions for the full New Relic platform.

Regardless of how my day unfolds, it always involves a lot of collaboration. My team and I work together to solve some tough problems and collaborate to find solutions for our customers. Sometimes this means just working as a technical support group or working with other teams, like our product and engineering teams, to find a resolution to the problem at hand. I feel lucky to work in a place where collaboration is so important. I can always learn something new from my team and am constantly growing in my knowledge and experience.

What types of projects do you work on?

As a support engineer, learning and understanding our product is very important, especially when there are new product or feature releases. Our team is responsible for helping customers, so we need to know exactly how New Relic works in order to answer any questions they may have. We work to keep both our internal and public documentation updated year-round.

Currently, I’m working on some community posts that address frequently asked questions as well as tips and tricks in my speciality. By writing these and sharing them publicly, I’m helping our customers find their solutions faster.

I’m also working on improving my own testing apps. I’m looking to hone my development skills and easily reproduce some issues customers may face. By creating an environment where I can replicate these problems and experience them for myself, I can find a resolution quicker.

What skills do you use on a daily basis?

Problem-solving skills are central to everything I do – they are so important. I approach each support ticket as if it’s a puzzle. By using the information that the customer provides, it’s my job to find a solution for them. Of course, sometimes I have to ask for more information to get clarity on what’s causing it and better understand what the customer is experiencing, but it’s all in order to help solve the issue. Sometimes it can be tricky but it’s pretty rewarding when you find the answer.

As you can imagine, communication and technical skills are also very important. Technical support engineers need be able to understand what the customer is asking and how the issue relates to our products. We then need to be able to explain our solution to them and the reasoning behind why something may have happened.

What is the hardest part of your working day?

I usually feel compelled to get customers a response right away, but that can be tricky if a problem isn’t straightforward. When a customer is experiencing a critical issue, it can impact their whole business, so my job can be really important. Some days it’s hard not to feel a bit of pressure, but I get a lot of support from my team, my manager and from our customer success team, and working together makes it way easier and really enjoyable.

Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the working day?

As far as productivity tools go, I use Keyboard Maestro a lot. It makes using keyboard shortcuts super-easy. I can set up some verbiage that I frequently use in certain situations and automate it so that I can write faster when working to solve customers’ problems.

As for workflow and best practices for being productive, I think it’s really important to work with your teammates and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I find that if I’m stuck on a question, the best thing I can do is check with the team. Together we’re able to get a better understanding of the problem and work to find a solution.

For example, recently one of our customers was experiencing an issue. I spent some time working on finding a solution but wasn’t having much success on my own. I brought the issue to our shift support team who worked with me on homing in on what the root cause could be. We got closer, but still didn’t find the solution. We then connected with our agent life-cycle team and were able to describe our findings. As a group, we found a solution straight away and resolved the problem for our customer.

Had I continued to work on this on my own, it would have taken me far too long or I might not have been able to find the solution at all. Not only did we help our customer, but we all uncovered a new solution to a problem we hadn’t worked on before. It was really rewarding and a great learning opportunity.

When you first started this job, what were you most surprised to learn was important in the role?

I was surprised that there are so many important things to learn! New Relic has many products and they often relate to one other in some way. It took me some time to deeply understand the products and be able to help customers. But now I feel pretty confident and it’s really rewarding to be working with such a technical product.

How has this role changed as this sector has grown and evolved?

As our company grows, our teams grow. So, our support team has grown since I’ve joined, which is really exciting! We tend to have a few people specialising in different products or features so we’re really efficient in how we best help our customers. I’d say collaboration between my team and with the rest of the company has really gotten stronger as we’ve continued to scale.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

There are so many things I like about this job. I love collaborating with my colleagues and helping customers to resolve their problems. We work with some of the world’s leading companies and it feels good to know that my work has a hand in helping them succeed.

What I enjoy most is that I get to work with really smart people who are supportive and genuinely nice. We get to come in to work every day and make an impact in a positive environment.

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