Building a career in support with Heidi Elhawary
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In this episode, Heidi shares the details of how she quickly climbed the ranks at Trivago- going from an agent to head of user support in under four years.
1. Customer Support is not just a job. It’s a viable career that requires effort and dedication.
2. Being a good customer support agent requires a myriad of skills and qualities that not many people possess. Hold your head high, Support Heroes!
3. “A company should function together”- apply the same empathy you use with customers with your colleagues. Bring them to the table to facilitate collaboration.
Customer Support is not just a job. It’s a viable career that requires effort and dedication.
“There’s a misconception that being an agent is just a job and it can never be turned into a career”
- Heidi rejects the notion you cannot progress in customer support- ‘there’s more to being an agent than answering phone calls and replying to emails’.
- She ties her success to going the extra mile with her activities as an agent and taking initiative by sharing her ideas with her manager on how to improve their workflow.
“I put in a lot of effort when I was working as an agent…I would always talk to my manager and share my ideas”
- Heidi is living proof that a service mindset will help you rise through the ranks and garner success in the world of support.
Being a good customer support agent requires a myriad of skills and qualities that not many people possess
“With service, you’re either for it or you’re not”
- To succeed, you have to be empathetic, understanding, a great listener, a great communicator, and an efficient problem solver. You have to go above and beyond for the customer to give them the best experience possible.
“Being a customer support agent is not a job you can learn to love. You have to be naturally wanting and willing to help out and make things better for everyone and give them a better experience.”
- This was something Heidi learned in the hotel industry, “In a hotel, the guest is always right…[you] always try to find solutions to all the problems, no matter what it is.”
“Hold your heads high, Support Heroes!”
Apply the same empathy you use with the customer to your colleagues
- Successful collaboration can be hard to initiate within a company, so focus on showing other departments what support does in an attempt to contextualize the feedback you’re providing. . The more context you give, the more people are willing to understand.
“At the end of the day…I think it really is just a matter of educating”
- Heidi says it’s all about education. Simply giving your product team feedback isn’t enough. To truly bring them on side, you have to give them a window into the world of support: tell them about the processes you have, the incidents and issues you come across.
“Go out there and target the teams your work with the most”
- Build a relationship with the teams you work with the most. The same way you build relationships with your customers. If other departments understand how hard it is for support to solve certain problems, how costly it can be for you, then they will want to help you.