Support Breakfast Podcast | Episode 36 – Support as a… career?

This week we’re talking about support as a career and resources for teaching support skills. How do we become great at customer support and where can we go to learn from the experiences (and mistakes!) of others. There’s also an existential crisis or two about our own levels of skill.

This week’s episode features guest star Mat Patterson from Helpscout (he thinks that his title is Customer Service Evangelist).

Before we dive in, what did we have for breakfast?

Lisa had a bagel with egg and cheese (it’s a McD’s rip off) plus coffee, Conor had toast with peanut-butter and banana, plus iced coffee. Kiwi Sarah had coffee and an anti-histamine, but dreams of sweet, sweet waffles. Mat had cereal (Just Right) with milk.

Mat had a great customer story from Amazon and Australia Post. It’s a two-in-one!

Ellen (@ellendick01) and Kathleen (@kmmelvinn) both got in touch via Twitter this week. Thanks for listening!

And now, the topic of the week: how do you grow within support and make it your career?

We talk through these questions:

  • When did you realise that support could be a career and not just a gateway job to better things?
  • How do you make sure that support is taken seriously in your company?
  • How do you know that you’re good at support?
  • Did your company offer any training to help you become good at offering support to customers? Did you receive any training elsewhere to help you become good at support?
  • What do you do outside of your role to improve how you work/learn new skills to help your customers?
  • Who do you look up to within the Support community?

We’d also like to reference a resource that Matt Dale shared in Support Driven recently:

If I were in your shoes, I’d do my best to read up on current trends in customer support. The #reads channel is a good starting point. You’ll also want to check out the most excellent :helpscout: blog (https://www.helpscout.net/blog/). :kayako: (https://www.kayako.com/blog/), :intercom: (https://blog.intercom.com), :zendesk: Relate (https://relate.zendesk.com) are also good resources.

Some of these books have helped me plan for hiring support agents (which might be helpful if you’re trying to get in the head of someone like me):

* Hiring Your Customer Support Dream Team
* Intercom on Customer Support
* The Essential Guide to Hiring Customer Support Excellence
* How to Hire the Best Customer Support Reps
* The Customer Support Handbook by Sarah Hatter

Immerse yourself in the conversation here at :sd:. You don’t need to be posting or asking questions, but figure out how people talk and learn from the answers to their questions.

If you don’t write much, it wouldn’t hurt to start. A personal blog or twitter account that links to helpful support articles can also help show that you’re serious about a career in support.

When you find jobs you’re interested in, spend a little time getting to know the company you’re applying for. I want candidates who’ve spent a little time researching what we do at :illuminate:. If the company has a free product, try it out.

Finally, draft a good email. I’m not a huge fan of a separate cover letter (although that’s not a universal dislike and may be unique to me), but I do like the body of the email to show that you know my company, that you care about support, and that you actually want to work

Homework:

Have a topic you’d like to hear us get into? An awesome cat gif? (Puppy gifs also welcome!) Email us hello@supportbreakfast.com.

Follow us on Twitter @supportbrekkie or individually at @gentlethorns, @conorp, @sarahleyh, @davechapman & @sarahleeyoga, plus star guest @mrpatto.

Keep it real, folks!

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