Why customer support is the best place to start a career
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In this episode, Nick explains why he believes support is the best place to develop the skills required to be a successful senior manager, VP or executive officer. Nick provides a detailed description of how he and his department invite agents to develop themselves and their careers at Zoom. Finally, he encourages all Support Heroes to take great pride in our industry and work.
“The combination of seeing the technical, communications and business-side is really rare within a role…in engineering, sales, marketing, finance you see one side of things; support sees ALL aspects.”
1. Technical understanding of the product
- Gaining an understanding of features, the back and front end, and how the product interacts with other tools and business functions is unavoidable and indispensable in support.
- You may be able to get this knowledge in an engineering or product management role but you’d be limited in your understanding of the next two foundations that Nick sees as being very valuable.
2. Customer interactions and communication
- Agents have to be able to communicate effectively, understand the requirements of themselves, their role and the customer, know how to deal with happy and agitated people, and do so consistently while under pressure.
- These skills are universally useful in almost every aspect of life both professionally and personally. There are few environments that encourage better communication than support and rarely is there a role in which communication is so readily trained, improved and guided than in support.
3. Seeing many aspects of business every day
- Being on the frontline, agents deal with many aspects of business and understand the concerns of many departments both internally and externally. They interact with marketing, pricing, payments, finance, product, engineering, workforce management, enterprise issues, the building and scaling of infrastructure…there’s so much to see and learn from.
- One of the most valuable things associated with collecting a multitude of professional experiences is that one is able to see things from many perspectives. In support, one can observe and learn from those differing perspectives while staying in the same role, at the same company.
4. Being resourceful under pressure when you don’t know everything
- Especially with a complex product, a single agent cannot always know everything. It’s therefore, inevitable that agents will have to figure things out on-the-fly, be resourceful in finding the right information and develop novel solutions.
- Another powerful skill is that while figuring out a solution, agents have to manage customer expectations and keep them informed about the process. These information and relationship management skills are crucial if one is to become a successful leader in business.
“Working under pressure, being resourceful, communications are truly skills that will help [support staff] develop into leaders, CEOs, functionals- those are highly critical skills to [those roles]”
- To Nick, the culmination of these skills being nurtured in support makes it the most powerful place to start a career in business.