Can you believe that our podcast is now 22 episodes old? It’s been almost half a year!
This week: Nomad Sarah is back, Lisa is AWOL, and we’re offering our opinions on what skills are most important for working in customer support. Is there one skill that we think is most important?
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Before we get started… Nomad Sarah’s internet has been unstable. Or maybe that was her life? She’s been having all kinds of adventures and visiting all kinds of places but we’re glad to have her back!
Dave’s also a little unstable-sounding this week, with his volume not wanting to stay at one level. Sorry about that, folks!
This week’s breakfasts:
- Dave had porridge with cinnamon and mango, which tasted better because he did not need to make it himself or clean up after
- Conor also had porridge – with banana, cinnamon and brown sugar
- Kiwi Sarah had Huel, coffee and water, not french toast (disappointing)
- Nomad Sarah had toast with blackcurrant preserve and coffee
- Lisa is having more sleep for breakfast, because she isn’t feeling good
This week’s Customer Support stories
We manage to devote almost half of this episode to customer stories and we hope this makes up for all the weeks where we skipped over this segment.
Dave talks about how Buffer sunsetted one of their tools in order to focus on what they do best and improve the experience of their customers. However they have found that due to the higher perceived value of the tool (as compared to what it actually provided), that their community has been very unhappy about the change. You should listen to this part just for Dave’s amazing analogy about perceived value.
They’ve made some changes at Buffer in order to lower their response times and Dave has found that getting back to these angry and upset customers more quickly has a huge effect on how they react.
(If you’d like to hear more discussion about sunsetting, we talk about it more in our Kill Your Darlings episode.)
Kiwi Sarah talks about an escalating situation that was helped by a phone call, even though there was nothing that she was able to do to actually resolve the situation by phone. The phone call itself acted to reassure the customer that they had been heard by a real person and that the support team were going to do everything they could to fix the problem.
We talk a little about unhelpful error messages and working to translate these to make them more meaningful to customers.
Nomad Sarah talks about a disastrous video call experience. DING DONG. She rescheduled it for an in-person conversation but wonders how remote workers handle this kind of issue.
Conor explains an old-fangled device called a telephone and mentions how it is possible to roll back to this rather than connecting audio through video conferencing software if you’re not sure where the audio issue lies. Dave suggests asking customers to check their internet connection ahead of time.
In the mail bag!
Katherine Mancuso is visiting London from the US soon and reached out via Twitter to ask where breakfast will be on the week that she’s here. For those of you who may not know (because we always forget to mention it), Support Breakfast grew out of an actual breakfast meetup that we run in real, actual life.
We don’t know yet where we’ll be on the week that Katherine is visiting as we generally decide on a location a few days before the breakfast. We will tweet once we’ve decided to let you all know. If you’re in or around London (or just visiting like Katherine), you can keep an eye on @supportbrekkie to find out where we’ll be each week.
It’s an informal coworking meetup so bring your laptop and eat some delicious breakfast foods with us, while you get some work done.
If you join us for breakfast, you can also collect a Support Breakfast sticker (because we love swag!) but don’t worry if you can’t make it, we can also send you a sticker the old fashioned way, using the postal system. Reach out via twitter or drop us a line to email@example.com and we’ll pop one in the post box for you.
You should also email us with your thoughts, suggestions, topic ideas, feedback and requests – help us make the show better! We also love gifs so feel free to send us those too.
On to the topic of the week…
We’re talking this week about the one skill that we feel is the most crucial for people in customer support. Each person advocated for one skill, and… here’s what each person thought!
- Lisa advocates for a growth mindset (inspired by book Mindset, by Carol S. Dweck)
- Dave advocates for empathy (and we also talk about The Apple Store’s 3 A’s: Acknowledge, Align, Assure)… and later advocates for intuition.
- Conor advocates for the tenacity to get stuff done, via consistency and reliability. This is described as “making the klackety noise” by the podcast Make Money Online.
- Kiwi Sarah is, well, we won’t say she’s a cheat, but she used the clever workaround of mentioning HelpScout’s article on 15 (fifteen!) customer service skills that every employee needs. She also then suggested initiative… and resourcefulness. 17 skills then.
- Finally, Nomad Sarah advocates for problem solving! That’s both solving the problem in front of you, and preventing the problem from happening again. That’s some double-loop thinking!
We start to talk about the homework but it’s Lisa’s suggestion so you’ll need to come back next week to find out what it is…
We recorded this episode over a bank holiday weekend, so we’re taking the week off from homework. This week, we just want you to give yourself a pat on the back for your hard work in customer support and the many skills that we expect you use daily.
If you send us a tweet this week, we’ll reply to let you know how awesome you are.
As always, you can get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, find us on the internet at supportbreakfast.com or tweet at us @supportbrekkie.
Our intro (and outro!) music is (still) 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. It is (still) not Drops of Jupiter by Train, but if you like that song, you can listen to it here. Nor is it by J.D. Lang.