Photo: Leaders in customer support at SUPCONF NYC 2016

If you had access to insights from other heads of support, how would that change the conversations you have about more headcount, better software, and the business case for resources & tools? If you could ask support leaders questions about remote work, hiring great agents, and balancing leadership work with working in the queue, what would you ask?

To pull back the curtain on what’s going on behind the scenes in support departments around the world, we are excited to announce the 2019 Heads of Support Program. Together with the Support Driven Community and supporting companies Freshworks, Help Scout, and Klaus, we’ve designed a survey, conference, and webinars to help you see how others are approaching the same problems you face as leaders in support.

The Heads of Support Program is an all-round leadership development program that’s a pick-and-mix menu of opportunities to share, learn, network, and grow with peers and experts from the Support Driven community. The program includes the Leadership Summit conference in Boston along with two new resources we are excited to launch today:

THE HEADS OF SUPPORT SURVEY

What if you could use industry norms and trends as a resource to professionalize your work and advocate for resources? Even if you’re already getting a lot of use out of being part of our Slack community, it’s useful having an easily shareable, more durable resource.

The Heads of Support Report is that resource. The report is an anonymous collection of survey data that will allow support leaders to see how similar companies are staffing and running their support departments. The results from the Heads of Support survey will allow you to see some of the same things as the 2018 report, plus some new additions:

  • Staff-to-manager ratios, remote distribution, outsourcing strategies, and number of team members
  • Support channels each team handles
  • Support budgets of other companies, by size and industry
  • NEW! How the Support org is structured at different companies
  • NEW! How Support departments approach professional development
  • NEW! The KPIs Support teams use to measure success
  • NEW! Must-have (and don’t-bother) software types in support tech stacks

Contribute Your Expertise by Completing the Survey

To assemble the 2019 survey, we interviewed more than a dozen heads of support from the Support Driven community to find out what leaders would find most useful in a Heads of Support report. We then tested a draft of the survey with half a dozen more leaders to refine the questions for clarity and to gauge how long the survey would take to complete (15 minutes).

Thanks to the generous feedback from the community, we’ve been able to make some big-time improvements to the survey this year:

  • The survey is now much easier to complete, with more multiple-choice questions and less need for research.
  • Leaders in the community have a lot of questions about whether others have the agency to hire, fire, and make compensation decisions. So we added a section about your role and what decisions you make in that role.
  • We clarified the language used to talk about financials, and we focus on actuals instead of forecasts.
  • We added some new topics to the survey based on conversations in the Slack #leadership channel and our interviews with Heads of Support: from organizational structure and career development to measuring success and support tools.
  • So you can edit your response in case you want to leave questions for later, we’ve switched to a Google form.

The survey will close November 6. Testers say the survey takes about 10-15 minutes to complete.

WEBINAR SERIES

When we interviewed Heads of Support, we discovered a lot of curiosity around topics that don’t fit neatly in a multiple choice question on a survey. To dig deeper into leaders’ questions that are better suited to conversations, we’re launching a series of free webinars with the help of supporting companies Klaus, Freshworks, and Help Scout. 

Each webinar will bring in leaders in support from a range of companies to address these topics, with opportunities for participants to submit questions to the panelists:

  • Solution-oriented Leadership for Remote Teams, hosted by Klaus: October 9 Register now! 
  • Secret Sauce to Hiring High-Performing Agents, hosted by Freshworks: October 15 
  • Success as a Player/Coach Support Leader, hosted by Help Scout: October 30

Free webinar to get your questions about remote leadership answered

We see a lot of questions in the Support Driven Slack about how to make remote work work: how to communicate, how to hold your team accountable, how to measure performance when you’re not in the same physical location, how to celebrate successes when you can’t gather in real life…. 

Hosted by Klaus and Support Driven, this panel of distributed leaders, including Åsa Nyström (Buffer), Daniel Danilov (Automattic), and moderated by Valentina Thörner (Klaus), will share their expertise about remote work, remote leadership, and how to keep everything under control even when you’re separated from your colleagues by continents and oceans. 

This webinar has solutions to some of the hardest things about leading a remote team. RSVP to hold your spot!

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