Guide

How Sauce Support Engineers Solve Issues

  • 30 March 2021
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Our Support Engineers Want To Help You

Everyone has had an experience with customer support where it was clear that the only thing the staff wanted was for you to go away.  It’s one of the universal, sucky human experiences.

Our Support Engineers aren’t like that.  We want your problem to go away, because it’s resolved.  Broken tools aren’t good tools, and good tools are what we’re all about.  Everything our Support team does is designed to get you and your tests back up and running, ASAP.

 

Our Support Engineers want your problem to go away, because it’s been resolved

 

How Our Support Engineers Respond to Tickets

So, multitasking isn’t a real thing.  No-one can do it and it’s actively harmful for problem solving (Check out Paul Graham’s take).

Because our Engineers want to get as many tickets resolved as quickly as possible, we need to focus on a single issue at a time until they:

  • Have resolved it
  • Need more information
  • Get stuck and need to come back later

Once engineers respond to a ticket, they move to concentrate totally on the next.  They’re unlikely to see a customer reply until they’ve responded to that ticket, even if one comes in immediately

 

Our Support Engineers Need Your Help To Help You

The upshot is, the less information you provide and the more troubleshooting you leave to us, the more questions we have to ask, the longer it takes us to investigate and the longer your issue will take to resolve. 

We want to resolve your problems fast.  Here’s how you can help us!

 

1. Do whatever troubleshooting you can

Now, don’t stress. The community and the Support team are here to help.  If you’re not sure what to do, that’s OK!  We’ve got a very comprehensive guide to Troubleshooting and asking good questions, which you can find here.

 

2. Consider where to ask

Asking the Community can be faster than asking Support; Especially if the problem is about a specific tool!

You may think the best solution to getting your problem answered is opening a Support ticket, and you might be right… But that’s not always the case.

There are so many tools, techniques and test runners that it’s impossible for any one person to know everything about them. Our Support team might know what a tool needs to do, but not how to make the tool do it.  That’s where the Community comes in.

If your problem is mostly about your tools, or generic Sauce Labs questions, the Community might have people who can answer faster and more accurately then Sauce Labs Support.  This is especially the case if they don’t need access to your test logs or history in order to help.

 

Of course, you’re always welcome to open Support tickets. Additionally, If you open a Community question and our Moderator team thinks it’s best answered by Support, we will either bring it to Support’s attention or escalate it directly into a ticket.

(If you want to ask the Community but don’t know where to do so, check out this guide).

 

What Happens Once A New Ticket Is Open

If customers haven’t been able to supply us with troubleshooting information, we’ll do what we can to gather that information ourselves.

This can take the form of asking the customer questions, checking their past tests, using our internal Business Intelligence tools, or trying to replicate the problem ourselves.

 

Next, we’ll look for obvious causes; outages, desired capability issues, version mis-matches and the like.

Next up, we’ll look at the data we have and try to rule out causes, find patterns and find a group of likely culprits.  Often this is just a matter of looking through test and device logs, checking when tests pass or fail, and seeing if there are common elements that only exist in failing tests.

This is often followed by research; Checking tool documentation, searching for error codes and trying to replicate the problem.

 

Once we think we know what’s going wrong, we try to fix it.  This might involve making several suggestions to a customer, spending a few hours writing code or implementing alternative solutions, or sending patches to Open Source projects.

Once it’s ready, we let the customer know, and ask them to ensure it’s fixed.

 

Example Of A Great Ticket

This is a ticket I handled recently, with the details changed to protect customer privacy.  It’s a fantastic ticket:

Hi there;

I’m testing an internal app.  We’re only testing against Windows 10 and OS X 10.15.  Our tests started failing this morning (CST); They’re unable to click a button.

Here’s an example of a failure: https://app.saucelabs.com/tests/12ac673c002640d1be2b1369f5f49ee2#19.

Note that, even though we’ve issued a click command, the button style hasn’t changed (It should change client side before anything else happens).

Here’s the test passing yesterday: https://app.saucelabs.com/tests/cc609f43a21d49fa8cc5f66b21f5f68d#23

See how the button changes colour immediately.  There is a network request happening when that button is clicked, but the colour should always change.

This has happened in every test run today; 11 in total.  It only occurs on Chrome Latest, but it happens across Windows and OS X 10.15.  I even tried Windows 8 and OS X 10.14; Both had the same problem.

We haven’t had any network or version changes, and we tried rolling back to yesterday’s code, but the problem is still occurring.  It doesn’t matter who runs them or from what machine.

I didn’t spot anything in the Browser & Console logs, and I’ve checked that the capabilities are the same (they are).  I’ve even tried restarting Sauce Connect.

Any ideas?

 

As a Support Engineer, I could make some safe assumptions from the info given:

  1. Because they checked against yesterday’s code (which is known to work!), the issue is either an unknown change on their end or a change on our end, and not a SUT or test code issue.

  2. They ruled out issues with the OS by trying several, as well as issues with Selenium Driver by trying other browsers.  It’s probably an issue with Chrome itself, or the ChromeDriver.

  3. By telling us that the behaviour should happen immediately, without a network request, and because they restarted Sauce Connect, we can probably rule out networking problems; This is an issue with Chrome or ChromeDriver.

  4. They checked the logs!  I love when customers check the logs.  The absence of errors in the Console or Browser logs means it’s unlikely to be a JavaScript problem or a browser bug.  We’re likely looking at an issue with ChromeDriver.

I knew the most likely problem by the time I finished reading.  They’re testing against Chrome latest and the problem started overnight.  They’re in CST, so ‘overnight’ for them is ‘overnight’ for our servers.  I checked if the latest version of Chrome had changed overnight and… it had!  Since they’d also ruled out so many other causes, it seemed likely that the new ChromeDriver was to blame. 

I suggested they try Chrome latest-1 and it worked!  A problem solved in a single interaction, getting them back in action within an hour.  If I’d had to ask them for all that info, or slowly grabbed it from our backend, it could have taken all day.

 

The more relevant information a customer provides, the faster ticket turnaround time is.

 

Don’t Stress!

We are here to help you.  If you can’t grab any of the information above, that’s totally OK!  Our team will always do our best to figure out what’s going wrong, and how to fix it.

 


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