Hi everyone!

I received a message this week from a member of the Support Driven community asking,

I’d really love to go to the Expo, but I have a nursing 6 month old. Are nursing children allowed to attend if worn (she wouldn’t be anywhere but attached to me)?

My immediate response was “OMG, Yes, please bring your baby!”

The interaction got me to thinking about what a great fit Portland and the Expo’s venue are for Support Driven’s values, including both inclusion and sustainability.

In terms of sustainability, with Support Driven Expo, we want to build something of value that lasts. We want to carve time out of our busy work-lives to learn and share. This is necessary for the long-term health of our careers, our community, and the support industry as a whole.

With Expo, and with everything Support Driven does, we also want to create a pleasant and welcoming space that nurtures the community, and that the community nurtures in return. Likewise, with their commitment to green spaces, local food sourcing, sustainable building materials, bike lanes, and composting, PSU and the city of Portland are dedicated to being custodians of their spaces so that residents and visitors will have a long-lasting, pleasant, and nurturing space to live and play.

In terms of inclusion, the Support Driven Expo will be held on campus at Portland State University, giving us convenient access to all sorts of amenities. On-campus childcare is a less-than ten-minute walk from the venue, making the event more accessible to parents. Nearby food vendors are available for every dietary need and preference, making the Expo more accessible to, well, everyone. As I mentioned above, nursing babies and babes in arms are welcome. And! We worked with the PSU dorms to find convenient and affordable places to stay for Expo attendees. Support Driven Expo participants are able to book housing that’s a five-minute walk from the venue. This is a great option for folks who don’t want to worry about transportation or the stress of finding a place to stay, and the price is accessible, too.

We want the Expo to be open to all of our Support Driven community, including working parents, and including folks who may be looking for their first support job. Keep reading to learn about on-campus childcare, the PSU dorms, and our venue, the brand new Viking Pavilion. I’ll see you in Portland June 21-22 :-).


Have you registered yet? If not, get your Support Driven Expo ticket today!

Tell me more about the PSU Dorms deal!

As folks in the Support Driven community researched hotel options in Portland, we discovered that nearby accommodations were not abundant. Rose got to work on finding convenient and affordable options, and we’re excited to announce the Portland State University Summer Housing opportunity for Expo participants.

The Broadway Residence Hall is about a four block (or five minute) walk from the Expo venue. For $68 per night between June 20 and June 23, Support Driven Expo attendees can book a room with a private bathroom, twin bed(s), bed linens and towels, lamps and fans, and access to the campus network via WiFi. Rooms can be used for one or two people, and the Broadway building has rooms with kitchenettes and mini-refrigerator. Please note that a minimum stay of 2 nights is required, and the rooms are not air conditioned. Also, the dates are firm — it will not be possible to book this deal outside of the dates given due to the residence halls’ other commitments (check-in can be no earlier than June 20 and check-out no later than June 23).

If this sounds like a great option to you, go ahead and book a room at the PSU dorms.

On-campus child care

About five blocks away from the Expo venue is the PSU Little Vikings childcare center. Little Vikings is a licensed childcare center that doesn’t require a years-long waiting list, and offers single-day or even just a few hours a day of care for children 6 weeks to 12 years old. You can reserve care in advance (which we recommend), or just walk in. All staff have cleared background checks and are trained in first aid, CPR, food handling, and recognizing and reporting child abuse. They are experienced in working with young children, and will provide a safe, fun atmosphere for your kids within a five-ten minute walk of the Expo venue.

The Expo takes place during the center’s normal summer operating hours of 7:45am to 5:30pm, so parents can call now to make reservations for June 21-22. For more information about rates and to request childcare, go to Little Vikings Childcare.

The Venue: The Viking Pavilion at the Peter W. Stott Center

This is a change from last year’s SDX that I’m super excited about: we’re going to be in a new venue! And by new, I don’t just mean new to us. I mean brand spanking new. While the Expo will remain in Portland this year, we are moving from the shared Student Union from last year to Portland State’s Viking Pavilion, and we’re going to have it all to ourselves!

Located on PSU campus, the Viking Pavilion is in the heart of downtown Portland. In true Portland fashion, it is dedicated to sustainability: it’s pedestrian-friendly, close to public transit, uses non-toxic building materials, sources it’s food locally and sustainably, and tracks and composts food waste. The first event in the space was last week. Rose and Scott volunteered last week and snapped some photos of the spaces.

This sounds awesome! How can I help?

Would you like to volunteer at the Expo? We would love your help! Volunteers will have the chance to contribute to and participate in the Expo in any number of capacities: meet attendees and speakers, provide support for the conference, attend sessions, and help ensure that the Support Driven Expo is a success. We are looking for people are enthusiastic, organized, and who love to help. In other words, we are looking for people who are Support Driven :-).

For more details, check out Rose’s Support Driven Volunteer Stories from previous event volunteers, Brittany Ferg and Chris McCraw.

Talks and workshops at Expo

Here are a few more workshops and talks to whet your appetite for some of the learning and sharing in store for us all on June 21 and 22.

Kaylin Bailey
Illuminate Education

Navigating the transition from Support Agent to Team Lead
You’ve worked really hard to do your job well. You slay the tickets, you feel great about your phone skills, and are super ready for the next step in your support career. And now it has finally happened. Yay! This is so exciting! It is going to be a lot like my old job, but just with some new responsibilities, right? In many cases, this is not true at all.

I have recently gone through the transition from support agent to team lead and it was a lot different than I thought that it would be (though I promise I really do enjoy my new role!). I would love to share my experience and some tips / tricks / expectations for managing the transition. If you are new to a leadership role, or looking to make this move in the future, this is the talk for you.

Mark Bangerter

The Insiders Guide To Increasing CSAT Scores by Creating a Training Workbook
In December 2018, I created a training workbook for our team leads. It outlined everything that we needed to focus on and implement within our support organization. Little did I know that because of this, our CSAT scores would increase 5% within one month. In this session you’ll learn how to create training workbooks for yourself and your team.

Pam Kocke

I’m sorry, can you repeat the question? Getting to the bottom of what the customer is really asking
As support professionals, we field hundreds of questions a week from our customers. Sometimes they’re straightforward, but sometimes, they’re… not. And sometimes it’s the “straightforward” ones that give you the most trouble.

How many times have you confidently typed out an answer, only to look at the user’s site, and realize you just answered the wrong question? Or read a ticket fifteen times, but still couldn’t figure out what in the world the user was asking?

In this talk, I’ll discuss strategies for getting to the bottom of what a customer is really asking to make you more efficient and your customers happier.

Josh Magsam

Creating a Customer Success Program to Boost ROI While Scaling Support
The field of Customer Success has grown rapidly with the rise in B2B SaaS business structures, helping companies drive growth through subscription renewal and upgrades. These teams are often housed in Sales or Marketing, reporting back directly on revenues and returns.

But given the customer-facing nature of most Customer Success models, it makes much more sense for that team to align with Support first and foremost – and gives Support a well-deserved spot at the table when measuring ROI. And this isn’t “just” for B2B or SaaS companies – consumer-facing or even community-oriented companies can benefit as well!

In my talk, I’ll describe the benefits of working with (or building out!) a Customer Success team within Support, as well as strategies for mapping out workflows and proving value to executive leadership.

Richard Yang

Automate your job so you can focus on the hard stuff
We’ll learn various tools to help streamline your daily tasks. Attendees will create a tool to simplify one repetitive task.

Lana Lee

5 Tips to Increase Employee Participation in Your Community
You know the saying “Build it. They will they come.” How true is this for online support communities where internal teams hold a wealth of product knowledge, but they aren’t sharing it with your community users? If your users aren’t getting the answers they need from the Community, your Community will become a ghost town.

In this interactive workshop, Zuora Community Manager Lana Lee will share strategies that motivated Zuora employees how to leverage the Community for their teams while, at the same time, helping customers with their questions.

Abbey Fox

How to Take Care of Each Other: Supporting Support Teams
We know that burnout and empathy fatigue run rampant in tech and customer support. We know that there are limits to self care. We know that we live busy, full, multi-tasking lives. So, as managers, how do we take care of our teams and ourselves?

This workshop seeks to explore this question and provide tangible solutions to cope with the stresses & challenges of high stress jobs.

Are you getting excited yet? Go ahead and grab your Expo tickets, and we’ll see you in Portland in June!

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