Why assist is not only a job for me – it is a profession | Energy Tech

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It is honest to say that not many individuals develop up dreaming of working in customer support. Not your typical aspirational profession path! Actually, some see a customer support position as a stepping stone to one thing else or a short-term job on a break from school or college. After almost a decade working in a assist position right here at Buffer, I’ve come to consider buyer assist as a profession in its personal proper, and I am extra enthusiastic about it than ever.

I have been engaged on the Buffer assist crew for 9 years, which is a major and weird period of time in a single job! On this planet of know-how, folks change roles and employers greater than in virtually some other trade, making me an excellent greater outlier. There have actually been occasions when the considered transferring on has come to thoughts, and I puzzled if I ought to contemplate beginning a brand new chapter. I need to share extra about why I stayed at Buffer and don’t have any plans to depart.

Initially, why assist?

I’ve all the time beloved figuring issues out, understanding how issues work, making issues higher, and serving to folks. I really feel glad when I’ve been ready to make use of my data, expertise and abilities to make a distinction. I beforehand labored in healthcare, the place I carried out scientific diagnostics (people-focused) and IT safety (technology-focused) roles. My customer support position at Buffer is at a candy spot for me, the place I exploit abilities from each areas.

Working in customer support can reap the benefits of many abilities that you wouldn’t mix in different roles. In simply someday’s work, you need to use a variety of abilities: emotional intelligence, predictive communication, technical data, troubleshooting/diagnostics, and testing. There’s additionally a variety of cross-team communication: we work instantly with the finance crew on gross sales administration, with the advertising crew on launch planning, and we work with the product and engineering groups to assist their work on enhancing our product. and the incorporation of recent capabilities. to our shoppers We’re removed from being an remoted crew!

One other superb factor about assist is that we have to learn about the entire product, not simply functionally. We have to know the ins and outs of the best way to use every characteristic, and we have to perceive a number of use instances for every characteristic, the related bugs, what bugs have been not too long ago resolved for that characteristic, how the options work together with one another, how our options differ from the opposite options. native and many others The potential exists for infinite progress of information. You have by no means ‘arrived’ as a data knowledgeable throughout the product as a result of continuous modifications, so there is a fixed problem. But within the midst of that problem, your understanding of the assets at your disposal grows, supplying you with the boldness to proceed navigating this ever-changing atmosphere.

Second, why have I stayed in Buffer.

I joined in 2014 after we had been nonetheless a start-up (Buffer was based in 2012) and we had been lower than 20 folks. The assist crew is presently greater than Buffer’s once I joined! I began out protecting Saturdays and Sundays as a “weekend warrior” (we used to have barely extra jovial names for our roles, and had an amazing love of alliteration again then). I coated the e-mail inbox and the conversations that got here by way of social media, and after some time, transitioned to a extra conventional work week.

Some folks know Buffer as a lot for our tradition as for our product. We have been utterly distant since earlier than my time, and with the ability to work from wherever you’re feeling best has been extremely highly effective. For me, it’s the greatest benefit!

I used to be ready to stick with my dad, working from his place when he wasn’t feeling nicely. I’ve additionally had the luxurious of serving shoppers poolside on a Spanish island. The pliability and potential to search out your finest model of labor/life stability with out having to journey or be tied to an workplace is one thing I treasure. Most not too long ago, we transitioned to a four-day work week with no pay discount. Chances are you’ll be starting to grasp why Buffer is such an distinctive firm! Past this stuff, we’re a values-driven firm, and regardless of being unfold throughout the globe, there are key issues all of us have in widespread.

The work we do in assist has all the time been centered on empowering folks. We need to be there to assist, however we additionally need to get out of the way in which as quickly as potential. There are a number of methods we do that:

  • We provide the identical degree of assist to our free plan customers as any paid buyer, which suggests we may be there for folks simply beginning out. That’s extremely highly effective.
  • We invite clients to evaluate their assist expertise, and we pay shut consideration to how they fee us. Our buyer satisfaction rating is presently 97%!
support race
Buffer CSAT request to shoppers
  • We use a system to evaluate and fee our assist conversations to verify we’re delivering to a extremely excessive normal, specializing in three ideas: Consciousness, Readability, and Empowerment.
support race
Inner buffer high quality checks

Within the span of 9 years, Buffer has modified loads. Our product is extra highly effective and extra complicated, and our firm has grown to simply below 80 folks. All this modification has stored my position fascinating, with new challenges and altering crew constructions as we evolve and refine our work and experiment with new approaches and instruments. On the similar time, we’ve got maintained our small crew mentality and centered on our core values.

Within the final yr, I’ve taken on a product liaison position (extra on that right here), working because the liaison between our assist crew and our incredible product crew. I’ve realized a lot! I be sure the assist crew is conscious of all of the customer-facing modifications which might be being labored on, in addition to go on insights from clients coming by way of the inbox, corresponding to areas of buyer friction. product and have requests. I am additionally getting extra concerned in pre-release testing and studying about the entire means of bringing new options to market. It has been eye opening, and the final 12 months have been probably the most thrilling and rewarding of my profession.

How do I keep away from stagnation and preserve my motivation recent?

A couple of times a yr, I deliberately step away from my work to replicate and ensure I do not get caught in a rut or complacent about what I do. You’d by no means need to work on autopilot; That’s not me. Fortuitously, my job retains me on my toes! There are additionally some proactive issues I’ve carried out which have enormously enriched my work and profession in advocacy:

  • Take the time to attach with the broader assist group. There are Slack communities and real-life alternatives like meetups and conferences. Constructing a community of assist professionals outdoors of Buffer’s buyer advocacy crew labored nicely for me. It began very organically, in a customer support assembly one evening in London. I used to be chatting with some pretty individuals who had been additionally working remotely about how good it will be to work as a crew regularly. This was the beginning of the Assist Breakfast, a casual co-working occasion based mostly on breakfast at varied areas in London. We work from every kind of locations, together with espresso retailers, lodge lobbies, and museums, and we type shut friendships over time. We had such nice talks in regards to the widespread themes in our work and the alternative ways we method a number of the challenges we face, that we began recording our conversations and sharing them as a podcast.
  • Concentrate on engaged on autopilot. I am not considering of “getting within the zone” right here, extra of spending the day. I’ve had jobs like that previously, and it is simply not me. I do not assume most individuals need that from a profession. Some degree of problem that you simply be ok with on the finish of the day or week.
  • Test open positions at different corporations now and again. The job description and necessities can assist you body your present place and encourage you when it comes to private progress and the talents you need to develop. This is not going to solely enrich your present work, however will even be sure that it’s prepared for the market for those who resolve to maneuver ahead.
  • Tackle new challenges and initiatives inside your capability and with the assist of your supervisor. Discover areas inside your crew or adjoining groups the place you’ll be able to assist. For some time, I had doubts that as Buffer grew our roles turned extra outlined, with much less selection in our work or alternatives to do one thing totally different. In small corporations, you typically do what must be carried out, whether or not or not it is in your job description; in bigger organizations, your position is extra clearly mapped out and outlined, and there are fewer alternatives to ‘placed on many hats’. Nevertheless, even in bigger organizations, there’ll all the time be gaps that should be crammed, new initiatives or experiments value exploring, or people or groups that need assistance.
  • Lastly me recommends studying books and articles and listening to podcasts to broaden your data. Customer support has really turn out to be a profession, and like all careers, there are rising traits and alternatives.

I ended up working within the assist world as a result of I like to assist, and I ended up surrounded by a number of the kindest and most understanding folks I’ve ever met.

There are lots of instructions a profession in assist can take you, and so many areas you’ll be able to attempt to maybe focus on: advertising, buyer analysis, group administration, gross sales, and account administration. You may deepen technical and engineering abilities, in addition to progress into an operations or management position. I didn’t develop up anticipating to observe this path, however I’m motivated and inspired by how dynamic and fulfilling my profession in customer support has been. I will be right here for some time!

What ideas come to thoughts on this topic? Come chat with me on Mastodon, Twitteror LinkedIn!

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Why support isn’t just a job for me – it’s a career