I’m a customer support engineer for the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) in Brussels, Belgium. My role is both reactive and proactive—developing documentation, for example. For the last few years I’ve focused on cryptographic VPNs, and now I specialize in bring-your-own-device (BYOD) implementations.
Why do you participate in the Cisco Support Community?
My initial motivation was reducing the number of TAC cases that customers need to open. I visit the Cryptographic VPN, Firewall, and Identity forums a few times a day to see if I can answer any questions. Responding before customers open a case saves a lot of hassle—both for our customers and for Cisco TAC. I can answer many customer questions very quickly because we’ve seen similar queries before. I also hosted an Ask the Expert session on best practices for IPsec VPNs.
More recently, I’ve been publishing documentation in the community. This enables me to give customers a convenient link to detailed instructions to help them resolve their issues. Documents published in the Cisco Support Community also appear in search results when customers use Google to look for answers.
What types of documents have you published?
Most of my documents are configuration and troubleshooting guides. For example, I wrote a series about debugging certain features on the Cisco IOS Software and Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA). It’s become quite a popular document, and is available only in the community, not on cisco.com. Writing this guide saved time for me, too, because I can refer to it instead of generating debugs again.
What would you say to other Cisco employees who are thinking about participating in the community?
For me personally, it’s refreshing to talk to people who are not yet facing problems, because people call TAC only after a problem has occurred. In the forums, in contrast, I can give suggestions to customers early in their projects. Even if customers don’t implement my suggestions, they know that someone at Cisco has taken an interest in the problem.
Any suggestions to make the community even more valuable?
I’d like to see more integration with the mobile world, and the mobile app was a good start. It would also be good to encourage more partner participation. The VIP program is effective, and maybe we could also include partners’ logos besides their names when they post, the same way we include the Cisco logo when employees post. We could further improve the reputation system to encourage community members who contribute good content and timely replies.