It is truthful 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 faculty or college. After practically a decade working in a help position right here at Buffer, I’ve come to consider buyer help as a profession in its personal proper, and I am extra keen about it than ever.
I have been engaged on the Buffer help crew for 9 years, which is a big and weird period of time in a single job! On the earth of expertise, individuals change roles and employers greater than in virtually some other trade, making me an excellent greater outlier. There have definitely been instances when the considered transferring on has come to thoughts, and I puzzled if I ought to take into account beginning a brand new chapter. I wish to share extra about why I stayed at Buffer and don’t have any plans to depart.
To begin with, why help?
I’ve all the time liked figuring issues out, understanding how issues work, making issues higher, and serving to individuals. I really feel happy when I’ve been ready to make use of my information, 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 take advantage of 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 at some point’s work, you should utilize a variety of abilities: emotional intelligence, predictive communication, technical information, troubleshooting/diagnostics, and testing. There’s additionally lots 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 help their work on enhancing our product. and the incorporation of latest capabilities. to our purchasers We’re removed from being an remoted crew!
One other wonderful factor about help is that we have to learn about the entire product, not simply functionally. We have to know the ins and outs of methods 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 so on The potential exists for infinite development of information. You’ve got by no means ‘arrived’ as a information professional throughout the product because of the continuous modifications, so there is a fixed problem. But within the midst of that problem, your understanding of the assets at your disposal grows, providing you with the arrogance to proceed navigating this ever-changing surroundings.
Second, why have I stayed in Buffer.
I joined in 2014 after we have been nonetheless a start-up (Buffer was based in 2012) and we have been lower than 20 individuals. The help crew is at present greater than Buffer’s once I joined! I began out masking Saturdays and Sundays as a “weekend warrior” (we used to have barely extra jovial names for our roles, and had an awesome love of alliteration again then). I coated the e-mail inbox and the conversations that got here by social media, and after some time, transitioned to a extra conventional work week.
Some individuals know Buffer as a lot for our tradition as for our product. We have been utterly distant since earlier than my time, and having the ability to work from wherever you are feeling best has been extremely highly effective. For me, it’s the largest 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 posh of serving purchasers poolside on a Spanish island. The flexibleness and potential to search out your greatest model of labor/life steadiness 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. You could 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 frequent.
The work we do in help has all the time been centered on empowering individuals. We wish to be there to assist, however we additionally wish to get out of the way in which as quickly as attainable. There are just a few methods we do that:
- We provide the identical degree of help to our free plan customers as any paid buyer, which implies we will be there for individuals simply beginning out. That’s extremely highly effective.
- We invite clients to assessment their help expertise, and we pay shut consideration to how they charge us. Our buyer satisfaction rating is at present 97%!
- We use a system to assessment and charge our help conversations to verify we’re delivering to a very excessive normal, specializing in three rules: Consciousness, Readability, and Empowerment.
Within the span of 9 years, Buffer has modified rather a lot. Our product is extra highly effective and extra advanced, and our firm has grown to only beneath 80 individuals. All this modification has saved my position attention-grabbing, with new challenges and altering crew buildings as we evolve and refine our work and experiment with new approaches and instruments. On the identical time, we’ve maintained our small crew mentality and centered on our core values.
Within the final 12 months, I’ve taken on a product liaison position (extra on that right here), working because the liaison between our help crew and our unbelievable product crew. I’ve discovered a lot! I make it possible for the help crew is conscious of all of the customer-facing modifications which can be being labored on, in addition to move on insights from clients that come by the inbox, reminiscent of areas of friction within the product and have requests. I am additionally getting extra concerned in pre-release testing and studying about the entire technique 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 hold my motivation recent?
A couple of times a 12 months, I deliberately step away from my work to mirror and ensure I do not get caught in a rut or complacent about what I do. You’ll by no means wish to work on autopilot; That’s not me. Happily, my job retains me on my toes! There are additionally some proactive issues I’ve executed which have vastly enriched my work and profession in advocacy:
- Take the time to attach with the broader help group. There are Slack communities and real-life alternatives like meetups and conferences. Constructing a community of help professionals outdoors of Buffer’s buyer advocacy crew labored nicely for me. It began very organically, in a customer support assembly one night time in London. I used to be chatting with some pretty individuals who have been additionally working remotely about how good it will be to work as a crew frequently. This was the beginning of the Assist Breakfast, an off-the-cuff co-working occasion based mostly on breakfast at numerous areas in London. We work from every kind of locations, together with espresso outlets, resort lobbies, and museums, and we type shut friendships over time. We had such nice talks concerning the frequent themes in our work and the other ways we strategy a few of the challenges we face, that we began recording our conversations and sharing them as a podcast.
- Pay attention to engaged on autopilot. I am not pondering 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 suppose 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 firms once in a while. The job description and necessities can assist you body your present place and encourage you by way of private development and the abilities you wish to develop. This won’t solely enrich your present work, however will even be certain that it’s prepared for the market in case you resolve to maneuver ahead.
- Tackle new challenges and initiatives inside your capability and with the help 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 grew to become extra outlined, with much less selection in our work or alternatives to do one thing completely different. In small firms, you typically do what must be executed, 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’. Nonetheless, even in bigger organizations, there’ll all the time be gaps that have to be stuffed, new initiatives or experiments price exploring, or people or groups that need assistance.
- Lastly me recommends studying books and articles and listening to podcasts to develop your information. Customer support has actually turn out to be a profession, and like all careers, there are rising traits and alternatives.
I ended up working within the help world as a result of I like to assist, and I ended up surrounded by a few of the kindest and most understanding individuals I’ve ever met.
There are a lot of instructions a profession in help can take you, and so many areas you’ll be able to try to maybe focus on: advertising, buyer analysis, group administration, gross sales, and account administration. He can 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 subject? Come chat with me on Mastodon, Twitteror LinkedIn!
Why support isn’t just a job for me – it’s a career