Support Breakfast Podcast | Episode 43 – Everybody’s gotta learn sometime

This week, we’re talking to guest star Patrick East from GitHub about learning the skills you need for support, finding resources to keep growing and always continuing your professional & personal development.

But first, breakfast…

Lisa had English muffins and marmalade for breakfast. Like Paddington Bear, she is a big fan of marmalade.

Dave had many things on toast – and would like us to remember that he himself is not an avocado.

Patrick has not had breakfast, because we’re recording this episode via the magic of internet time travel and it’s much earlier in his day. He did, however, have breakfast for dinner last night (scrambled eggs, corned beef hash, cream cheese and a cinnamon roll) – which we think counts.

Kiwi Sarah went to bottomless brunch but actually had two separate menu items instead – avocado on toast and coconut french toast.

Customer Stories

Dave has been to the Apple store and has a tale of woe around his magical but broken AirPods.

We take the opportunity to talk about the goodwill that is built up from previous good support and user experiences and how it can be eroded by poor experiences.

Dave also talks about his frustration with trying to go to a very busy bank on a Sunday to exchange old style pound coins, that are no longer legal tender. Most banks aren’t open on a Sunday so they were actually suffering due to being the only one open and needing to react to unforeseen changes.

We briefly touch on GDPR and privacy. Lisa saw a really great talk on this by Beata Sobkow but the slides and video do not seem to be available online anywhere.


Simon wants to know how he can get involved with Support Breakfast without donating to us. Great question!

Here are a few ideas:

  • Join us for breakfast in real life or help organise them in the #zlocal-london Support Driven channel.
  • Donate a few hours of your time to help us edit together podcast episodes or write our show notes.
  • Suggest a topic idea for a future episode.
  • Volunteer to help Lisa with her London Support Lab events so she doesn’t have to do ALL THE THINGS.
  • Guest star to talk about how you’re team works and share knowledge on a particular topic.

And now on to this week’s topic

If you want to skip straight to the discussion, it starts 16 minutes and 25 seconds into the episode.

We talk through these questions:

  • What skills do we think are essential for support?
  • How much of what we do is teachable and how much is down to personality?
  • How did you learn support and what was the hardest part?
  • What are “soft” skills and how do they compare to “hard” skills?
  • What resources do you recommend for people moving into support from another career?

A few key takeaways:

  • We think that curiosity and problem-solving are fairly key for support but skills like empathy and communication are more important.
  • It’s important to learn to manage yourself, your emotions and your energy.
  • You need to become comfortable with vulnerability and not knowing the answer.
  • Pat thinks that customer support is entirely teachable but you need to be willing to learn, especially when it comes to emotional intelligence.
  • Try to surround yourself with people who will celebrate your achievements and talk about your milestones – and do this for the people in your life too.
  • Darn the patriarchy! Technical skills like coding also require people skills.
  • Understand the reasons behind your company’s decisions, investigate mentorship, and read Medium & industry blog posts.
  • Never revisit your Livejournal.



That’s it for this time – if you have a topic you’d like to hear us get into, would like us to send you one of the last few Support Breakfast stickers or want to help out in some way, you can email us

Don’t forget that you can now donate at

Follow us on Twitter @supportbrekkie or individually at @gentlethorns, @pateastdesign,  @conorp@sarahleyh@davechapman & @sarahleeyoga.

Have a great week!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s