On Wednesday 27th May, we held our second virtual meetup on behalf of our online customer support community Global Customer Support Heroes. The webinar was an online panel discussion with Diego Diéz, Global Head of Customer Excellence at MOVO, Martinique Duchene-Phillips, Support Lead at Keller Williams and Feliks Goedvree, Head of Customer Service at Gamehouse.
The webinar centered around the theme of career paths in the customer support industry delving into each panelists unique experiences and insights that they had learned along their journeys. In case you were unable to attend or just want to check it out again, here is a recording of the event and a summary of some of the key ideas and insights that were discussed throughout.
The new career path for customer support
- Customer support used to only be an entry-level job, acting as a stepping stone to engineering or development departments.
- In the last 10-15 years, there has been a shift where we are seeing career paths where customer support is the destination, not just the entry.
- Managers now play a massive role in promoting and facilitating agents’ career paths from the moment of hiring to the time of promotion.
- The support career path used to be completely linear: agent, supervisor, team lead, manager, director, and VP.
- Technological advancements such as the rise in social media and self-sustaining CRM’s have created a huge amount of new jobs and created new paths.
- There are different agent profiles: some are more managerial, some are more analytic.
- If you’re good at analyzing data and making reports maybe your path is as a technical support lead. If you’re good at leading a team maybe a people manager is your path.
Skills needed to develop a successful career in support
- You have to first and foremost have a service mindset. Your goals should be to make others happy and feel helped.
- Be very adaptable, roll with the punches, and not stick to certain processes just because you’re familiar with them.
- You need to be more proactive rather than reactive now to ensure you engage with customers.
- Always be analytical and critical of your processes- use numbers to justify your improvement.
- As an agent be proactive, curious, and flexible to accommodate others’ needs.
- Constant innovation to point out pain points and create solutions for your team.
What managers can do to make a career in support interesting for agents
- Managers need to allow their team members to job shadow within other departments. Allowing agents to create connections within the company and get a better understanding of the business operations as a whole is extremely beneficial to their career development.
- Create a great, open-minded and fun company culture that keeps teams engaged and wanting to strive for more.
- Having a bottom-up leadership approach. Making sure everyone’s voice is heard and allowing all team members to make an impact.
- Creating career paths and making these transparent with your team
How the rise of automation is impacting the career path of support professionals
- Workflow automation, self-service, bots. In the future working to optimize and customize these tools will be an extremely valuable skill and looked upon highly for promotions and development.
- Being able to set up workflows for automation or put together a chatbot is very important as AI isn’t quite there yet, the human element is still needed.
- Automation is important internally as well as it has made support professionals jobs easier: e.g- real-time metrics make reporting easier for managers.
- Right now in the light of the global economic downturn, automation is one of the things that will help companies survive and thrive.
The growing perception of customer support
- The rise of customer experience is becoming increasingly important– just doing your branding isn’t enough anymore.
- Due to technology, we have better insights and now we can quantify what customer support means for a company.
- These insights are making customer support more and more important.
How to jump from manager to Head of Support
- Similarly to what you need as an agent. You need to be optimistic, proactive and push for your department.
- You need to have thick skin and be the voice of your department company-wide.
- Build relationships within departments and get your perspective across.
- As a manager you need to have an analytical mindset to get your perspective across- this is always with numbers and data.
- Knowing how to take your data and use that to get what you need for your team, whether that is more agents, better tools, an extended budget, etc.
The importance of providing career paths when scaling a team
- The most important part of creating and scaling a great team is employee engagement and part of creating that engagement is to make sure that they know that they can grow.
- Being transparent with career paths in the recruitment stage is the way that you can ensure you create an ambitious team that is looking to grow and improve.
If you enjoyed this webinar and would like to join one of our many upcoming events, check out the Global Customer Support Heroes and stay tuned for our bi-monthly online meetups!