Welcome back! If this is your first episode of the Support Breakfast podcast, you can find us on Soundcloud, iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play Music (new!), or whatever podcatcher you use (just search for “Support Breakfast”).
This week, we were inspired by Nomad Sarah’s post about sharing your goals, so we decided to chat about our personal dreams and aspirations and how we got to where we are today.
But first, what’s for breakfast:
- Lisa – Granola with Banana Yoghurt (what?) and Coffee.
- Kiwi Sarah – Huel pancakes with vegan nutella and banana.
- Conor – Peanut butter and Jelly/Jam on toast.
- Dave – Just coffee as he had a sneaky midnight feast via Uber Eats.
- Nomad Sarah (Absent) – Possibly eating sweet, sweet ‘powder’.
Did you know that smell we add to all horrible banana “flavoured” or scented things is the ester called Isomyl acetate.
After we’d all made some jokes about Dave watching “How to get away with murder”, we jumped into the mailbag for the week.
We give a shout out to Tianna who emailed to ask about our breakfast meet-ups and wants to learn from the “experts”. Wait! Do you mean us? Eeeep! We all agreed that we’re totally winging it and so should you – as long as you’re one step ahead of the customer, you’re doing a-okay!
Dave discussed the importance of finding people with different experiences and sharing yours with them so that you can all learn from each other. Our weekly breakfasts have been a really helpful learning experience for all of us, so we’d encourage you to gather others around you – whether that be physically, or digitally for our more remote friends.
Can’t make it to London? There might be a Support Breakfast happening near you.
Hello to the wonderful folks at Support Breakfast Boston! Don’t they look like an amazing group of people?!
Boston Breakfasts happen once a month and you can find the details in the Support Driven community slack. We also want to visit this cafe so we need to find our own excuses to head to Boston!
We lost Conor, just as he made a great reference to the Boston Tea Party. Seamless huh. Zoinks!
While we waited for his return, we chatted about some experiences we’ve given and received this week:
Due to the size and distributed nature of Buffer’s team, Dave explained that they don’t really offer phone support. However, sometimes a customer or situation will require a different approach.
Often these conversations can start as rude or be demanding via email and end up being the most wonderful, pleasant conversation on the phone. Reminding us all that we all have our own preferences for communicating and what’s easy for us – or our respective companies – might not be the best for the individual customer.
Dave poses an interesting challenge – is there a way to provide that level of support, at scale?
Kiwi Sarah suggests making a note of a customer’s preferred contact method so that you know the best way to deliver service to that customer. Especially for customers that have learning difficulties or disabilities.
Lisa recognises that tone is difficult to inflect in email conversations and often our own mood can colour how we perceive or interpret that customer. A reminder that we should be careful not judge a book by its cover, or a customer by their stressed out emails.
Lisa shared a great experience that she had with Lindsay at Eon, who helped ease her mind and remove any additional hassle around moving into her new place.
Lisa accidentally gave Conor a new nickname, before handing over to our topic for the week.
Along with Nomad Sarah’s Medium post, we were inspired by a question from Mathew Patterson (also correctly spelt with one ‘t’): “What careers did you dream/plan/expect to have in your younger days?“.
Lisa wanted to be an author, or write for video games. She thought she would also quite fancy owning her own bookshop, but after managing a Waterstones she realised that managing a bookshop didn’t challenge her as much as she thought.
Conor and his brother dreamed of owning some kind of generic business as children, but they only thing they ever discussed was having a van and the design of their logo. Also, more importantly, who’s name would go first?
Kiwi Sarah wanted to be an actress, director or animator extraordinaire and be a part of something big, but never had one thing that she wanted to be or do. She introduced us to Barbara Sher and the concept of Deep Divers (Specialists) and Scanners (Jacks of all trades).
Lisa mentioned Slack’s podcast “Work in progress” and their first episode about “going with the flow”. Conor reminded us to check our privilege when it comes to determining out goals and expectations.
We then discussed the different paths that led us to our current jobs:
- You don’t have to know what you’re doing or where you’re heading to have a successful career.
- Dave has a chainsaw license.
- If you’re not sure what you want to do, joining an early stage startup where you get to wear different hats is a great way to find out what your strengths/weaknesses and interests are.
- None of us ever thought we would have a career in Customer Support or Customer Success.
- Customer service is evolving as a career and its reputation is getting better and better!
- Job advertisements are searching for the ideal candidate, so you should apply even if you’re not 100% qualified.
- Fun fact: Men will apply for jobs when they meet at least 60% of the criteria, whereas women feel the need to meet 100% of the criteria before applying. Here’s a great article from HBR on this. And here’s the one we mentioned about language in job applications making a difference to the gender of the candidates who apply.
- Keep your cv/resume and cover letter super specific to the job you’re applying for.
We then chatted about some things we’ve learned the hard way or some things that we’re still working on ourselves.
“Things you realise you don’t want to do, or don’t want to pursue, are equally valid lessons.” – Dave
Kiwi Sarah started making a list of things she’s identified as weaknesses but needs to overcome on a daily basis. Lisa is looking forward to reading a new book called Radical Candor, which discusses how to give feedback and empower your team while staying true to yourself. Conor chimed in with another painful ‘radical candour’ workshop technique referenced by Jon Ronson in “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed”. The important difference is caring personally about the person you’re managing.
How do we use our hobbies and extra-curricular activities to shape or advance our career, or extend our opportunities?
Lisa’s Computer Science degree helped her to get her job with Moz as it proved that she could work remotely in a self-guided study. It’s also given her a greater understanding and insight into how the developers in her team work, so she can communicate with them better.
Kiwi Sarah is more of an experiential learner so she will seek out additional knowledge or information when she reaches a hurdle she needs to overcome. She’s also working on her confidence in public speaking through musical theatre, improv, acting, dance and MC-ing quizzes!
Dave reads extensively around Customer Service (Support + Success) and wants to learn more about the psychology behind us as humans and how he can use that information to deliver a better service.
Conor has had experience writing and blogging about issues that are close to his heart and wants to branch out into other topics, like Customer Support or Success. He sees this podcast as a great way to explore those topics and ideas in a safe space.
Lisa agrees that talking about your job & day to day life with others in the same community helps you you to see completely different perspectives and talks about how our shared experiences allow her to grow.
Conor went on to make some great points about focusing on looking after yourself outside of all that aspirational junk – making time to spend with friends and loved ones, exercising and meditating. Amen!
Vanessa Woody from the Support Driven community wanted to know if we all had a career end goal? Lisa then qualified the question to ask whether a) we each have a goal and b) there ever is a true end goal?
Dave wants to elevate Customer Support as a profession (hear hear!) and open a Hogwarts for Customer Support folks – workshops, classes, courses and obviously a sorting hat with houses.
Conor doesn’t have an end goal, but he’s finding out more about what he does want to do. He suggested that we could all have something like 80 careers in our lifetime – woah! Conor shares with us his Patented Goal Discovery Process. Tell us your secrets!
Kiwi Sarah will never be satisfied with achieving a goal, so doesn’t see herself having an end goal, but wants to share stories and experiences with the world. Her end goal is a feeling of contentment, rather a specific job or career. So tangible, Sarah!
“There’s a difference between doing something that is taxing and doing something that is challenging” – Lisa
Lisa reached one of her career goals and realised it wasn’t challenging her in a way she wanted, so perhaps the idea of having an end goal isn’t achievable. She’d like to run a conference in London one day to advocate for Support and SaaS (I’m sensing a conference on our horizon folks – who wants in?!).
We want to help you to achieve your dreams! Let us know your hopes and #goals and what we can do/talk about to get you there – together, we can achieve anything.
Our homework for this week is to check out the game I Love Hue, for calming colour matching. Even the youtube trailer is really soothing. Check it out here.
We all took the quiz at 16personalities.com and found out that three of us have the same personality type, what are the odds?! We’re curious to find out if this is a side effect of the jobs we’re doing – we want to know what personality you are too!
As ever, our intro (and outro!) music is the brilliant Drops of H2O (The Filtered Water Treatment) by J.Lang (c) copyright 2012 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Airtone.