Apply Now For A Scholarship Ticket To SUPCONF Fall 2017

Thanks to our scholarship sponsors, we’re excited to offer a scholarship ticket program for SUPCONF Fall 2017!

Our scholarship sponsors (in alphabetical order):

FullStory – What do you want to know about your customer experience?
Guru – Be an expert, everywhere you work
Help Scout – Make every customer support interaction more human & more helpful
Olark – Your customers want to chat with you

A bit about SUPCONF

SUPCONF is a conference for Support Professionals.  The two-day event is full of hand-picked talks, connection and community.  Learn more about the conference here.

Each SUPCONF talk is refined through our Talk Development program to be meaningful, and contain actionable takeaways that translate to your daily work.

This year we’re spending time exploring four themes: Improving Support, Changing the Conversation around Support, Working with Data and Building a Career in Support.

We’ll facilitate conversations with other attendees and it’ll be a fantastic opportunity to hear how folks from other companies tackle problems similar to the ones you face, make connections with others in the community, and build your personal network.

We have more fun things planned, too.  Subscribe to our newsletter to stay looped in!

Excited to join us at SUPCONF?

Here’s what you get with a scholarship ticket to SUPCONF Fall 2017:

  • The full $600 ticket price
  • 2 full days of the SUPCONF experience

Note: You’re responsible for your own transportation and lodging

Apply for a ticket

Fill out the form here by August 24th, 2017.  We will contact the chosen scholarship recipients by August 31st.

SDX 2017 Blog Post Roundup

I have been back from Portland for a bit over a week – but I feel like my heart just left SDX!  I had such an amazing time getting to learn from and connect with so many folks in our amazing community!

Before we get too far back in to our “normal” worlds, I wanted to take a minute to recap, and share some fun things from the event!

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Blog Posts

Here is a nice writeup of @heatherk’s talk on Radical Candor

Nice Reply shared a blog post summarizing SDX: SDX: Learning and growing at a customer service conference

@andreabadgley shared a workshop post: Take Control! Techniques for Efficient Live Chatting

@valedoero shared a talk post: Customer support – are you really listening?

@nachochristo shared a talk post: A Framework for Creating a Robust Onboarding Workflow

@zing shared a talk post: Breaking up the Band: Scaling Support

@nicolestgermain shared a talk post: Level up your Support Career: Create an accountability group with your peers

Talk / Workshop Summaries and Slides

@alexandria shared workshop slides: “Can’t Pour from an Empty Cup”

@sukh shared talk slides: “How to make your customers loyal”

@dpotter shared a writeup + workshop resources: “Training Through Teaching”

@sarahbetts shared talk slides: Trolls, Grumps, and Villains – Surviving the Worst of Support

@nikschen shared workshop resources and slides:

Augment your corporate Content – Slides, blog post and workbook

ROI calculations for Support Communities – Slides and workbook

Other awesome things

We love pictures!  You can see pictures from SDX here (or, add your own!).

You can also check out the hashtag #SDX2017 on Twitter, for more good memories!

We hope you enjoyed SDX, and look forward to doing it all again next year!

Itching to see everyone again before then?  Join our Slack for daily conversations, or join us at SUPCONF in Atlanta this November!

Support Driven Spring 2017 Writing Challenge – Week 5

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This week in the Support Driven Writing Challenge we wrote about sharing our thoughts on Networking – the good, the bad, and the ugly!

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Below are the submissions for this week – enjoy!

@giovanna – Networking: A Fancy Word For Connection

@sukh – Everyone has a story to tell

@chelsea – I was a little bit social and I didn’t die.

This was the last week of this writing challenge.  It was such a joy to jump back into regular blog posting, and I loved reading everyone else’s posts, too!

A few folks completed ALL 5 topics:

@chelsea

@sukh

@giovanna

Super awesome job to everyone who wrote for the challenge, read fellow challenge writers posts, or were with us in spirit!

~ Chelsea

P.S. Did I miss anyone? If so, it was not at all intentional, please let me know!

P.P.S. Do you want to do more challenges (of any type) in the future? Let us know and we’d love to help facilitate these!

Support Driven Spring 2017 Writing Challenge – Week 4

This week in the Support Driven Writing Challenge we wrote about the methods we use for Self Care.

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Below are the submissions for this week – enjoy!

@sandy121 – Self-care…so that you can avoid burnout!

@giovanna.allegretti Self Care: The Importance of Chill Time

@bethnelson Advocate For Yourself

@chelsea I chose me. And the world didn’t come crumbling down (yet).

@amy Self-care can’t exist without self-compassion

@sukh – Self care — First Love Yourself (F.L.Y)

Next (our last week!) we will be sharing our thoughts on Networking – the good, the bad, and the ugly!

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~ Chelsea

P.S. Did I miss anyone? If so, it was not at all intentional, please let me know!

Support Driven Spring 2017 Writing Challenge – Week 3

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This week in the Support Driven Writing Challenge we wrote about our thoughts on feedback – when and how do you like to receive it?

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Below are the submissions for this week – enjoy!

@giovanna.allegretti – Feedback: How to Give And Receive It Using NVC

@valedeoro – Ask for advice instead of feedback

@sukh – Feedback — the reaction for improvement

@chelsea – Confession-I struggle with feedback

@mary_m – Can I Give You Some Feedback?

@alicia_b – Making feedback count

@amy – Feedback from the mat

Next we will be sharing about the methods we use for Self Care (this is something I personally could do better at!).

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~ Chelsea

P.S. Did I miss anyone? If so, it was not at all intentional, please let me know!

Support Driven Spring 2017 Writing Challenge – Week 2

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This week in the Support Driven Writing Challenge we wrote about our current view – or a view we enjoyed recently.  I love seeing inside other people’s worlds – so I’m really excited!

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Below are the submissions for this week – enjoy!

@andreasaez – Why Did Our Crappy Airbnb Have So Many 5-Star Reviews?

@chelsea – On solo hiking [as a female]

@giovanna.allegrett – My View: A Good Day As A Working Mother

@sukh – Borders and Labels are optional

@amy – A matter of perspective

@mary_m – Regarding Nessie

Next we will be sharing our thoughts on feedback – when and how do you like to receive it?

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~ Chelsea

P.S. Did I miss anyone? If so, it was not at all intentional, please let me know!

Join Us: User Group Rooms in Slack

If you frequent the halls of the Support Driven Slack rooms, you know that there is often a lot going on.

In any given day it is fully normal for the conversation in #chit-chat (our main catch-all room) to go from Good Morning chatter, to helping a fellow Support Agent through a tough situation, to a discussion about the weather, and then on to something fully random – maybe dinosaurs?

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While there is room for all conversations, things can get a little noisy – especially if you’d like to concentrate for a bit on a specific topic.

To help focus attention on the tools we use everyday, we have created a handful of Help Desk Software specific Slack rooms within the Support Driven chat.

Feel free to join any of these channels below:

#u-desk
#u-helpscout
#u-intercom
#u-servicecloud
#u-zendesk

These rooms are excellent places to brainstorm ideas with fellow users of a particular Help Desk software, to ask for help, and to talk about workflows or workarounds.

You can also pop in to any of these if you’re evaluating a software, to help learn from the folks who use it already!

We’re excited to see the conversations that blossom in these rooms!

One quick note – these rooms won’t be a dedicated source of Support for these systems.  As always, the folks around the Support Driven community are wonderfully willing to help out when they can, but do raise any matter that needs a Support Team’s attention through their traditional help mediums.  

Not in Slack?  We’d love for you to join the conversation!  Click here to learn more.

SDX is Coming!

Earlier this year we surveyed folks in the community about what you wanted to learn. You talked about exciting things like: leveling up without becoming a manager, dealing with difficult customers, and being a better advocate for your users.  Read the full survey results here.

With this in mind we set off on a new adventure for the community – creating an event to harness the knowledge in our community, and share it with each other.  

Last week we successfully wrapped up the Kickstarter Campaign for Support Driven Exposition (SDX), and we couldn’t be more excited to share #allthethings SDX with all of you.  

Below you’ll find information about SDX in general, previews of the Workshops that are coming your way during SDX, and information on how to book your hotel for the event. Heads up – the hotel has a special price through May 21st.

You can also hop on over here, to snag an SDX ticket!

First, what is it?

SDX is a one day – multi track event to allow you to take your support skills to the next level.  Designed for people who do support, you will have the opportunity to learn skills from a support perspective.  All of the sessions and talks at SDX are designed with you in mind, and tailored so you can use the skills right away.  

We set out to create an event that works for everyone in support – from folks on the front lines to managers and up. In short, if one of these sessions could benefit your career or your job, you should be here.

To make sure there is something that fits everyone’s unique learning styles, we’re offering workshops (activity based learning), traditional talks, and more!

Let’s talk about workshops

Workshops are a new idea we’re bringing to SDX.  They are 45 minutes long, and give you the opportunity to learn an idea, and get some hands on experience through activities.  

Read on to learn about some samples of workshops we are excited about.  We’ve divided them into different topics below.  You can also hop over here to Guru’s blog post, to read their take as well!

Leading

Ben at SmugMug – Motivating Your Team
Get better results from the people who work for or with you out of desire to do better and not from commands to improve.

Managing

Diana at Automattic – Creating training courses 101
Creating a simple email course to teach new hires (or even new customers!) about how the software works, with specific assignments.

Measuring

Ben at FullStory – Prove It: Clear Communication With Data
You’ll walk away with the ability to confidently present your support needs and concerns to your organization.

Self Development

Sarah at Olark – Villains, trolls and grumps: surviving the worst of support
Identify a difficult customer and have a strategy for dealing with them confidently and efficiently

Doing Better Support

Lyzi at Mapbox – Support engineering 201: Using the Help Scout API
Know how to read API documentation and understand the basic structure of a script that makes requests to an API.

Improving Customer Experience

Chris at Wildbit – Nailing the first impression … and beyond!
Create a multi-step “nurture path” that aligns with their product’s customer journey map

Scaling Support

Beck at Ted – Cataloging Support: A Library of Answers
Come up with an agent-friendly system for cataloging your cases.

Owning Your Career

Zach at DigitalOcean – Explorer of self-improvement
Be honest with yourself about where you stand related to resiliency in your career, and identify a way to improve your career trajectory.

Where are folks staying?

We’ve created a room block at a hotel near SDX.  The room block helps you get the best hotel rate, and creates a fun place for chance encounters and meet ups – as fellow attendees are all nearby!

The hotel we have created the block at is the University Place Hotel.  

The block rate is $111/night (+ 15..3% tax). This rate is for July 21st and July 22nd.  Hot breakfast and wifi is included in the room rate.

In order to block this special rate, please call the hotel at 503-221-0140 or 1-866-845-4647 and ask for the “Support Driven” Room Block.  

This special rate is available until May 21st.  

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Chelsea – @chelsea on slack or chelsea [at] supportdriven.com).  

Excited?  Get your tickets now!

You can register for SDX through this link.  Looking forward to seeing you there!  

Support Driven Spring 2017 Writing Challenge – Week 1

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This week in the Support Driven Writing Challenge we wrote about what motivates us in a Support Career.

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Below are the submissions for this week – enjoy!

@andreasaez wrote about how a great work environment keeps her motivated.  

@chelsea wrote about reducing bandaid fixes to keep folks motivated in support

@ashleym wrote about how how giving the customer a “wow” level of service keeps her motivated

@mary_m wrote about how having a job that lets her use her brain and her heart keeps her motivated

@alicia_b wrote about how broadening her horizons and learning new things has kept her motivated

@amy wrote about how stretching her problem solving muscles is her jam

@bethnelson wrote about doing what you can to make the world brighter

@sukh wrote about how daily challenges helps her stay motivated in support

@magda wrote about how important the human factor is in our work

@giovanna.allegretti wrote about finding the job that meets her passion and needs

@jeffbeaumont wrote about his excitement to start writing more blog posts

@doug wrote about his motivation being the support he gives people

@tegandobell wrote about what motivates her to get out of bed (besides breakfast, that is)

@kay wrote about why she does support

@laura.marciano wrote about being constantly challenged in her work

Next we will be sharing our current view – or a view we enjoyed recently.  I love seeing inside other people’s worlds – so I’m really excited about this post!

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~ Chelsea

P.S. Did I miss anyone? If so, it was not at all intentional, please let me know!

Support Driven Spring 2017 Writing Challenge

While we do a lot of writing as Customer Support Professionals, we rarely take the chance to write for fun.  

We often say things like: I really should do a post on that or I’d love to have more time to write, but life happens and those great pieces never quite materialize. Writing challenges are your opportunity to change that – for a few weeks, at least.

We first did a writing challenge last Fall, and enjoyed blog posts from all around the community for 6 weeks.  Click here to check out some of the great posts from last year.  

We’re excited to get started again, and in May we will kick off the Spring 2017 writing challenge!

What is it?

The Writing Challenge is designed to be a fun way to encourage us to write more! The goal of the challenge is to write one “Presentable Piece” every 2 weeks – but you are welcome to set your own goals instead/as well.  

Below we have shared some weekly topics, to help get your writing flowing.  You are welcome to write off-topic if you’d rather – these are just helpful if you are stuck!  

Most importantly – there’s no pressure.  If you miss a week, no biggie – just pick up and keep going.  It’s all about writing more than you were before.

How do I share my writing?

We encourage you to write your posts on a blog (WordPress or Medium both have some great free options) but you can also share the post through a public google drive, or other writing link!

We’d love you to  share your pieces in the #challenge room in Support Driven, so we can all enjoy reading each other’s work.  

We will also gather the posts every other Friday to share right here on the Support Driven blog.  

Part of the fun in the challenge is the community – taking the time to read other’s work is highly encouraged.  

Happy Writing!

Bi-Weekly Topics:

Week Start: Topic
May 1st Motivation: What makes you excited about working in customer support? Each of us has a path that landed us here – but what keeps you going month after month?
May 15th View: Share your current view with us – this could be your desk, the view out your window, or your favourite scene from a recent adventure.
Share the picture and then tell us about this place.
May 29th Feedback: Getting feedback on your work is essential to growth. If you had your pick – how do you like to receive feedback? (Think about what medium – in person, through text, etc as well as the timing – right after the event, or at a set time, etc). What do you do with this feedback once you have it?
June 12th Self Care: As support professionals it is easy to take care of everyone else and forget to take care of ourselves. What do you do for self care? Perhaps there’s something you already do, or something you’d like to do more of – tell us about it!
June 26th Networking: Networking and meeting new people comes easier to some than others. Do you enjoy networking? Why or why not? What tips and tricks do you use to make it work for you?