Hi everyone,

A week ago, June seemed really far away. Plenty of time to take care of flights, hotels, schedules, pre- and post-Expo plans in Portland. Then I looked at the calendar and counted the weeks.

Eight weeks!

Something about eight weeks makes it feel like we’ve crossed a threshold. Suddenly the Support Driven Expo has transitioned from really far away to “Omg, it’s so soon!” I booked my room in the dorms and registered my ticket, but I still have another night to book. I need to get on that.

The flip to “only eight weeks away!” comes with some pretty exciting stuff: the sessions schedule is up, we’ve got a event app through Attendify, scholarship applications are open, and community meetups are starting to show up on the calendar. Keep reading for more about those developments, and make sure to get your Expo ticket ASAP.

Can’t wait to see you June 21-22,

Program Schedule

We’re still putting some pieces into place with the schedule, so it’s not 100% set in stone, but we know you want to be able to see all the exciting sessions available. Check out the Day One (Jun 21) and Day Two (Jun 22) schedules on the Expo website.

Event App

We want to provide a great mobile experience this year. With a multi-track event like Expo, it can be hard to keep up with it all without a schedule in hand. So we’ll put a schedule in your hands.

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Support Driven Expo is available on the Attendify app. Download Attendify for free from your app store, set up a profile, search for “Support Driven Expo” to find the event, then click “Join.” In the app you’ll be able to bookmark activities you want to attend, read about the speakers and sessions, look at a map of the area, interact with other attendees, and upload images to the activity stream. If you add Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn to your profile, you’ll be able to cross-post your Expo messages to your preferred social networks as well.

Community Meetups

Hundreds of people from the Support Driven community will be coming to Expo. For those arriving early or staying after the conference, it’s an opportunity to gather around common interests like food, coffee, beer, and more. As we approach the event itself, folks are starting to organize meetups. In fact, a Pre-Expo hike is already on the calendar. If you have an idea for a meetup, please suggest it here.

Scholarship opportunity

We want everyone interested in getting better at support or looking to pursue a career in support to be able to attend Support Driven Expo. Support Driven would like to make that possible by offering assistance via our scholarship program. If you’d like to come and are wondering how to make it work, please read more about applying for an Expo ticket scholarship.

More Speakers Plz!

Ready for some more awesome sessions? Check out this week’s selection below.

Chase Clemons

Support Detectives – How to Use the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework in Customer Support
In the pursuit of more data, support teams fall into the trap of tracking all the things. Every email that arrives in the inbox asks for a tag or label. Every customer interaction is a data point for your metrics. But what’s the point?

In this workshop, you’ll see how our Basecamp team forgoes tracking customer emails in favor of actually talking to customers. You’ll learn how we use a jobs-to-be-done approach to find out what customers really need when they send in a feature request. Using a real customer interview, we’ll walk through what happens between a feature request email and the final pitch we present to the product team.

Kimberly Powell

Support to CX: Building Your Career in Customer Experience
My story begins in college, where I was given the best advice imaginable “Don’t become a web designer, your job will be obsolete in 10 years.” I of course, as any college graduate would do, became a web designer soon after being given that advice by a brilliant advisor of mine, Terry Curtis.

While I didn’t follow his advice straight away, Terry’s voice would stay in my head for many, many years to come. It didn’t stay with me because I thought about my awful choice to become the worlds least detail oriented web designer, but because of what that advice meant. Always be changing. Always be evolving. Your job will be obsolete. Keep on learning. Keep paving new paths for yourself.

From web designer to product manager to support representative and now as the Director of Support and Customer Experience for GetFeedback, I’ve carved new career paths along the way in my evolution. Most recently, that path has led me to become a driving force for great customer experiences. Customer Experience is all the rage these days and more and more companies are looking to put driven, customer-centric folks on their leadership teams to help increase customer loyalty. So, how can you go from the support world to customer experience guru overseeing your company’s customer experience strategy? How do you create that path for yourself? What does it mean to be a customer experience leader and how do you prove ROI to the higher ups when paving this new trail? I have some tricks I’ve learned along the way from my journey that I’d love to share as you grow in yours.

Martin Kõiva

How to enable ambitious agents while still getting the job done
Let’s be honest – support can be quite repetitive and if there is nothing more to it than doing cases, the people that are best at dealing with customers will want to do something else eventually. So how do you balance giving them something more challenging, while still getting that backlog taken care of? That’s what I’m going to talk about: the struggles of creating a career-path within support, with and without extra financial incentives, rules etc. But also how my thinking has changed over the years and how I actually now think it’s much healthier to accept the fact that great people will move on. And that’s OK. I will share some our failed attempts at tackling this topic as well as those that currently help our team of 60+ people function without crazy turnover across 3 locations.

Quality Assurance: Creating a framework that scales
Have you invested in Quality Assurance? Are you managing QA, but you cannot devote enough time? I would love to walk you through our learnings from creating and executing a a Quality Assurance plan that has scaled with us 10x throughout the past 3-4 years.

Hot topics to explore:
– QA Setup; rubric, data collection, and coaching method.
– Building buy in; how to ensure the team prioritizes quality of quantity.
– Reporting; how to communicate quality with data internally and cross functionally.

Kristina King
Jama Software

Company not diverse enough? Take matters into your own hands
You ever have those moments at an all-hands meeting where you think, everyone here looks very similar? (Like, we tend to interview and hire people that are mirrors of ourselves!) It seems like a cultural problem, but you yourself can’t change that overnight. My team certainly noticed that, and in the service of creating diversity amongst ourselves, our Customer Care team started an internship program for entry-level support engineers. Now that we’ve been doing this for almost a year, I’d like to share our process and how it’s worked.

In the talk I will cover: the problem we were trying to solve (our company does not invest enough into unconscious bias training or interview prep to close the diversity gap), why we decided to create an internship program (to change that, starting with the Support team), how we sourced candidates (promotion geared toward nonprofits serving women in tech and those changing professions), how it benefits the interns (experience), and how it ultimately benefits us (different points of view). I will share the types of applicants we received and how we ended up making our choices, too.

Ultimately this talk is geared towards those who get to make hiring decisions, be it from a hiring manager perspective (like me) or those on hiring panels. If you feel like your organization isn’t making a big enough impact, from the top, with diversity and inclusion, take matters into your own hands!

Ryan Klausner
Orion Labs

Creating Your Own Success in Customer Success
How do you not take on emotional burdens from customers? How do you deal with multiple demands while guiding customers and building relationships? What do you love about your career, and how will you get where you want to go?

A job in Customer Success is never stagnant. No two days in a row are the same — this keeps the job exciting. But you, the Success professional, also have a career to think about and your day-to-day energy level to manage.

In this workshop, we’ll discuss what it takes to be competent in a Success role, how to optimize for the things you like doing, and how to manage the realities of the things you don’t like.

Andrea Bishop
Automattic / WordPress.com VIP

Cool in a Crisis: Preparing for and learning from an outage
Managing enterprise WordPress installations on the web is exhilarating, especially when you get to say you helped USAToday, Facebook, TechCrunch, Microsoft, or the Dow Jones at the end of the day. When things go wrong though, they can go really wrong quickly. Downtime means lost revenue, upset shareholders, and puts contracts in jeopardy.

How do you stay calm during something like that? What do you say to your customers? How do you get the job done when everything around you is on fire?

Learn how WordPress.com VIP has iterated on their processes so the fires are easier to put out and the same ones don’t happen anymore.

Are you getting excited yet? Go ahead and grab your Expo tickets, and we’ll see you in Portland June 21-22!

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