Support Driven Expo 2022: Day 1 Notes

My notes from the first day at Support Driven Expo 2022. There should be more, but I missed taking notes for a couple of the sessions I attended before and after my own presentation.

Ensuring customer and team satisfaction without measuring CSAT

Darta Rina Turkmena, Head of Support at Whimsical

  • typical satisfaction survey uses emojis (don’t use heart which many associate with romantic relationship, use star instead), number scale, yes/no
  • but satisfaction can mean different things depending who you talk to you
  • issues with CSAT:
    • bias of “professionalism” standards,
    • cultural bias,
    • may cut the conversation short if can’t rate it after a certain time,
    • only reflects last interaction, doesn’t tell us what it was through the whole journey
  • seeing 25% fill out the survey, but focus on “opening the conversation”
  • ask how we can improve our support
  • related to quarterly goals, will add specific questions to survey
  • peer reviews through Klaus (alternatives: ScoreBuddy, Apricot)
  • Example: Loom asking: are you satisfied vs. are you able to achieve more after your support experience?
  • Some questions to measure:
    • Hast the customer remained active?
    • Do they use your product more often?
    • Have they made a purchase?
    • Do they buy more or more often?
    • Do they refer your company to others?
    • Do they have a higher conversion rate?
  • It needs to be Christmas every day for customers. Make sure it’s wrapped the way they want.

How to be heard by your product team

Elyse Mankin, Director of Product Support, HelpScout

  • sometimes Product and Support feel like 2 ships passing in the night
  • common disconnects: anecdotal, roadmap focus, monolithic
  • Support sees solutions (feature requests)
  • Product are problem people, solving customer problems at the right time, in the right way
  • Tap into the queue: be your customer’s voice
    • understand the prioritization game
    • use your support team’s superpowers: deep understanding of the product and how customer experience
  • building bridges:
    • knowing your audience: who are your stakeholders, what motivates them
    • data: tracking things scalable, easy to use, cross-functional
    • narration, be a storyteller
    • alignment between product and support
  • get organized
    • categorize conversations
    • track feature requests and bugs
    • reduce context switching: use templates, standardize what you’re giving to product
  • frontline support buy-in
    • why? best chance to be heard
      • make it simple
      • show progress: your extra effort has allowed something or had a positive impact
  • define the problem: have support engage to provide more context, deeper motivation from customer
    • what are the customer’s expectations?
    • what value would this bring their team?
    • how critical is it?
  • support manager buy-in
    • customer experience: proactive, impact business value with lower NPS
    • scaling support:
    • reports & KPIs: reducing in volume around simple, repetitive questions, consider filtering out tickets that focus on asking deeper questions
  • report your findings:
    • quantitative and qualitative: go beyond ticket count. Need to include context, business impact. Make sure data is cross-functional. Show metrics in context of metrics that product cares about.
    • show trends: example: growing at a rate than other issues
  • product team buy-in
    • partner up
    • close to customers: can also involve sales to report
    • discernment: what’s not a product problem. Example: Team/customer training
  • embeddable role
    • codify the partnership
    • customer advocacy
    • support enablement
  • takeaways
    • know your audience
    • track conversation and requests
    • define the customer’s why
    • report on the numbers and the story behind them
    • build alignment across your support and product teams
    • create a role for clear ownership

Making Support Human: A journalist inside Automattic

Richard Midson, Automattic

  • quality scores above average, wondering why when still new
  • PR/journalist techniques in support was making the difference
  • Support: answering people’s concerns, make people happy
  • direct marketing
  • Listen: but not to the words. If we misunderstand, may come across as arrogant. Listen to the meaning behind it, goals behind it. Never take the words at face value.
  • 68% of customer defections occur because the customer feels poorly treated
  • ask open questions
  • how do we respond? leave into their style. People like people like them. Get on their side. That you want to hear their story. Being their advocate. Get personal. Refer to what they say (bring it up later).
    • “Let’s do this” vs. “you’ll need to”
    • “Let me find something which I think will really help.”
    • “I get what you mean…”
    • Use “I” vs. “we”
  • “Reframing” if you need to. Possibly, allow them to vent, be “overly helpful” and want to help.
  • Cliche free: it breaks the connection with the other person.
  • talk people like they’re you’re friends
  • Is it worth it?
  • Most powerful of marketing is word of mouth.
  • 26% of people will completely avoid a brand if their friend or family tells a negative story about their experience
  • How long does it take? It’s the first bit, some say 30 seconds.
  • Once you’ve built rapport, move on to their needs
  • it’s not complex, it’s about having a different mindset

How to scale your support team from 5 to 100+ overnight

Sophie Heller, Outschool

  • entire CX team was 5 people
  • released free courses once the pandemic hit and public schools were closed
  • Jan to July, went from 7k to 43k
  • 2 problems
    • didn’t have enough people to answer the tickets
    • needed to scale permanently
  • set up in 6 months: self-service bot, live chat, macro/playbook tool, 15+ internal hires, established SLA, CSAT
  • unprecedented. Growing businesses should be ready for business spikes.
  • importance of documentation
    • Mom and Pop teams don’t scale. Had a daily meeting to figure out the random stuff. Not sustainable to have the whole team meet to figure out some tickets.
    • until you document, all the knowledge lives in your head
    • for many weeks, was a bottleneck when everyone was asking questions
    • started writing it down
    • enabled to outsource
    • seemed obvious, but nothing is necessarily obvious, especially to contractors
    • started with top 10 types of issues
  • efficient way to address backlog
    • crush the backlog crew
    • 8 people for 2.5 weeks
    • make decisions as easy as possible
    • when in doubt, give a refund
    • when all else fails, then ask lead
  • #1 thing to look out for when hiring internally
    • needed people to do more complex tickets
    • prioritized problem solving: look for aptitude for problem solving in an unstructured environment. Identify qualities before search.
    • be transparent: can’t provide structure and built-out training
    • ask real-life troubleshooting questions during interviews. Use critical thinking.
  • 3 tips for expanding support team
    • 1: invest in documentation, the only antidote to answering repeated questions.
    • 2: remove the decision process wherever possible, empower your team to conquer a backlog
    • 3: look for problem solving. Most important thing even beyond background.

Support team guiding principles

Andrew Rios, Turntide

  • 3 main principles
  • 1: what are the facts, what do they mean, what are we going to do about it
    • problem solving
    • easy to jump right to the solution, but maybe missed a fact earlier
    • start with facts of the situation, what they mean, plan our next actions toward resolution
  • 2: if it’s not documented, it never happened
    • if not documented, experience can’t be world class.
    • make systems to make sure anything is documented and easy to reference
    • any support case could be come a legal matter
  • 3: one time, real time, every time
    • going to do it once, in the moment
    • chasing the experience, the numbers will come
    • tell the story
    • issue should not only be resolved, but any future issues should be identified and resolved as well
    • want the first troubleshooting visit to be the last
  • one person: knowledge content, QA, training
  • created artifact on internal site: want business to see, everyone to see, these are the principles
  • will quiz the team
  • custom tailored for specific position
  • teaching them to own the issues
  • make sure not just someone who is technical, but is coachable
  • mostly phone support
  • often ask for best ticket from the week, more senior members know it’s about principles
  • what would you change if mostly text support?
    • ticket and chat would change 3 to be more situational, and emphasize 2 especially, but 1 as well
    • don’t want team to be focused on numbers
    • probably do something around active “listening”
    • focus more on
    • 3rd principle is more about experience, first time resolution

Overcoming pitfalls for women in leadership

April Troester, String and Key

  • expecting others to spontaneously notice and reward your contributions
  • putting your job before your career
    • know the performance expectations of current role. Make room for learning/growing while still performing.
    • look at job ads, guide where to fill gaps
    • think about: do you want direct reports?
    • talk to someone in the field
  • just building instead of building and leveraging relationships
    • get advocates, especially for difficult topics
    • help each other push things forward
    • be specific in requests
    • repay the favour, make the relationships reciprocal
  • sharing habits that have held people back in leadership
    • was putting job first, now delegate more to figure out what can be given to others and focus on areas of higher value, letting go more control-wise, providing opportunities for others.
    • tried to do everything, but changed to finding volunteers, nudging things forward and passing things back
    • getting sidelined once announced pregnancy
    • couching statements in “I think”
    • own mistakes or failures without being self-deprecating
    • not deferring being expert
    • making sure you’re not be left out of the recognition of achievements
    • clear expectation about how to move up to the next level, speaking with manager, skills-wise, competencies-wise
  • Creating an action plan for change
    • select 1-2 habits you wish to change
    • reflect on when the habit has occcured in the past
    • plan how you want to approach the situation in the future
    • set a time limit for revisiting
    • enlist hep to keep yourself accountable. Mentor, peer, SO
    • pay it forward to mentees and peers

See you tomorrow

donkey smelling flower

Author: Cynthia

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

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