Hey, Support Driven Community. 👋🏻
We’re starting to highlight some questions and answers you’ve all shared via Slack on our blog. We want to showcase your unique perspectives beyond just Slack.
If you’re not familiar with our Slack community, it’s full of 8,000+ members who care about customer support. We ask for advice, share our expertise, and have fun virtually connecting.
Let’s get into this week’s highlights.
I’m looking for career advice/guidance from any senior directors or vice presidents. I have 6 full-time CS specialists on my team, and they’ve gotten to the point where they’re fairly self-sufficient. Response times are amazing, CSAT scores are higher than ever before, and many of them are working on special projects within CS.
Since then, my focus has shifted to improving our help center articles, escalations, development, automation, training materials, and QA. I’m at a point where I don’t believe my skills/tasks (help center articles, escalations, etc.) will allow me to stand out and eventually advance to the position of director.
Is there anything you’ve done in the past to help you prepare for the transition from department head to director? A few things have crossed my mind – business school, online courses, and/or a career coach to help me get into the “director mindset.” My entire CS career has been focused on supervising and training, rather than strategic leadership, if that makes sense. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
“I’m not a VP or Senior Director, but one thing that came to mind when reading this was “How can you create more of those strategic opportunities in your current role?”Can you:
- Talk to your boss to find more opportunities for learning or new responsibilities?
- Promote a team member to Lead or Manager to allow you to step away from more of the ‘hands-on’ tactical stuff?
- Proactively work on finding ways to connect support/CX metrics and initiatives to company growth?
- Put together a 3 year plan for where you see CX headed and then work with your boss to get feedback and execute on it?I don’t think these are groundbreaking ideas, so forgive me if you’ve already though of them or if they completely miss the mark. Bottom line is it sounds like you’re doing a fantastic job, so if you were my direct report I’d be thrilled to see you proactively seeking out ways to be more strategic and to grow your career.”
– Larry Barker, Director of Customer Operations at Opencare
“Hey! Senior Director here, working on getting to VP
The main thing I can think of is to figure out how you can work with other departments regularly and add value to their work/ priorities in addition to having your own team run smoothly. This is where the strategic thinking really starts.
- What are the overall company goals and metrics?
- How can support offer visibility to those issues and help other teams? For example, offer insights to the product team, work with engineering on the best bug reporting system ever, help marketing set their vision, etc.
- How can you elevate the work you’re doing and communicate it to the rest of the company? Are you doing regular reports, presentations, etc?”
– Alice Hunsberger, Sr Director of Customer Experience at Grindr
What are questions or scenarios or projects you give interview candidates to assess technical aptitude? We are a complex product, but much of what we do has to be trained no matter the experience level. So I want to hire with more emphasis on soft skills, but ensure they have technical aptitude so we can train them up quickly.
“I really like asking someone to talk to me about a technical problem they solved and how they approached it. Sometimes you have to tease an answer out but you can get a really good idea for where their skillset is.
“I wrote down instances of the issue and shared with engineering”
“I found the last PR that was right around when the problem manifested and the change was on a related part of the product”.
– Ethan Walfish, Customer Support Manager at Alyce
“I’ve done sample tickets/interactions (checking on written communication skills; all answers are findable but also less important to me than the actual writing), and I’ve asked for “creative cover letters” to gauge how they work with ambiguity (important to my team). I weigh these against an interview that is largely focused around fit with the team and how they approach problem solving and (more importantly to me) failure and growth.“
“Similar to Ethan’s idea, I like to hear how people approach troubleshooting a problem, even if they don’t know much to begin with.Very much agree that being able to explain SPF (without access to the information in the moment) is a different challenge than general technical aptitude.Here’s one thing I’ve used – ask someone to explain how to use the X product API to achieve some goal.Something that requires them not to code an answer, but to correctly understand the intended goal, and read API docs to see which. methods would be used to get it done.It’s a good combo of understanding technical docs, understanding customer questions and communicating a technical answer”
– Community member
See you next week with another roundup of Q&A highlights! If you’re not already part of the Support Driven Slack community, join here.
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