Support Driven 2019 Day 2: Morning sessions

Support Driven Day 2 morning sessions. Once again, multi track so doesn’t cover everything.

Leadership skills in non-leadership roles: become a better teammate

Dennis Padiernos (Speaker) Support Engineer, Netlify

Often say, “Leaders are born, not made!” but babies are not leading teams. What happens if a leader fails? Are they unborn? This phrase is actually counter-productive, feeding into the imposter syndrome. Everyone is fit to be a leader.

Leadership is a skill that can be learned, and actionable.

Traits are something you do without thinking, or natural tendencies. Skills require conscious effort, work on and practice.

Leadership skills:

  • decisiveness
  • truthful/integrity
  • relationship building
  • problem-solving
  • teaching/mentoring
  • communication
  • awareness/situational insight
  • innovation

Everyone you hire is an investment worth growing!

Aaron Epperson (Speaker)

This [Support] job is not a new job.

Step 1: Define success

  • Acts as a guide post in how you’re going to invest in people.
  • Success are not based solely on numbers.
  • define holistically for the team and individuals
  • whole team needs to agree on what that means
  • harder than you think: individual, team, company ; everyone has their own view of that
  • bake investing into the job and account for it
  • investing includes protecting health

Providing support can be stressful and emotional. Need to have guidelines on how to deal with verbal harassment, solicitation, and other times they make the judgment call that they can’t or shouldn’t continue interaction.

Hiring starts with hiring: honesty, culture, fit, skills. Teams should be part of the process. Candidates should be able to meet with team members without managers.

  • open ended questions, less emphasis on “paper” application
  • skills based interview
  • improved wording of job description, application questions, etc. to avoid bias, encourage diversity and inclusion
  • posting in different places e.g. diversity in tech
  • focus on making it a conversation, not that the candidate is “lucky” to be interviewed by your company

What I learned from talking to 200+ support teams about conversation reviews (or “QA”)

Martin Kõiva, Co-founder, Klaus (formerly Qualitista)

  • build and scaled support at Pipedrive
  • Klaus: QA (conversation review) tool for support teams, emphasis on UI/UX, team of ex-support folks, integrates with ZD, aircall, HelpScout, freshdesk

Main things learnt:

  1. Review more conversations, fewer categories.
    • cover more tickets, and fewer bits of feedback on each
  2. It will be overwhelming at first.
    • iterative process
    • lots of chaos at the beginning
    • manage expectations that the process will change
  3. Conversation review is not an exact science.
    • don’t focus on the numbers
  4. Peer reviews do wonders for team cohesion.
    • great way to be exposed to work of peers
    • improve sense of “just doing tickets by yourself”
    • increase relationship building
  5. Doing reviews is more important than how you do them.
    • just start doing them
    • doing more of them is still the most important


  • Don’t overthink it
  • shift efforts from planning to doing and iterating
  • start without a tool
  • unexpected benefits e.g. seeing what customers are excited about

How to Create Meetings your Team Wants to Attend

Jo Massie, VP of Customer Success, Slido

Slido: started 2012, 140+ 9 countries, bootstrapped, used at 250,000+ meetings and events

Vision: transform how meetings and presentation are run around the world by giving a voice to the audience

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare
    • can’t prepare too much
    • sort out agenda:
    • always share in advance,
    • be realistic in how much you can cover,
    • leave space for topics from team
    • your setup matters
    • appoint online facilitator to represent online audience
    • ensure setup where everyone can be heard and seen
    • rotate who is leading the meeting
  2. Involve everyone to maximize engagement.
    • welcome everyone including those who might be watching later
    • make your meeting a two-way conversation
    • add space for Q&A, use a tool if you need to
    • ask people directly for their input
    • keep an eye on people unmuting themselves
    • use pools to quickly check understanding
    • introduce topic
    • run poll or series of polls to see how much people have unerstood
    • share results and correct if needed
    • make numbers fun
  3. Be mindful of time by making them as efficient as possible.
    • read instead of presenting updates: read the slides, note questions and use time to discuss and clarify
    • reach a common decision quickly and democratically
    • appoint facilitator for discussion
    • crowdsource, define options and way forward
    • vote on the options
    • move forward depending on the results
  4. Always ask for feedback
    • both on content and meeting design
    • make time for retrospectives: what went well? can improve? stop doing next month? start doing? continue doing?
  5. Make time to try something different
    • internal mix hackathon
    • impact panels: customers to talk about impact
    • personal success stories
    • teambuilding
    • customer success day
    • fail session

Lunch time

Time to go look for food!

owl looks at pink paper

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

Leave a Comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: