Support Driven Spring 2017 Writing Challenge – Week 3


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

@suhk – 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


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:


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!


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.


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.


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]  

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


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?

Support Driven Writing Challenge Coming May 1st!

For most of us – writing is a part of our everyday world. We respond to customers, we write help articles, and we create support documentation.

While we do a lot of writing, we rarely take the chance to write for fun.  We’d like to change that habit – for a few weeks, at least.

We first did a writing challenge last Fall, and got to enjoy blog posts from all around the community for 6 weeks.  You can check out the posts from last year, here!

During the challenge folks got to explore writing about their careers and about their personal thoughts.  Some people even mentioned that the words flowed easier as the weeks went on, and it helped them make writing more of a habit in their daily lives (yes!).

We are excited to invite you to join our second Support Driven Writing Challenge.  We will get started on May 1st.

As we get closer we’ll be sharing the structure of the challenge, as well as some suggested topics.

If you’re interested to join us, head over the the #challenge room in Slack – this is where we’ll be discussing all the details, and sharing posts throughout the challenge!

SUPCONF Spring 2017 – Blog Roundup

This Spring SUPCONF took a trip to Seattle, where we spent two days talking about how important relationships are to our jobs as Customer Support professionals.  

We also spent time forming our own relationships – from dinner meet-ups, lunch connections, and even using wristbands to help it feel safe to “turn off” for a bit.  

Below you can find write-ups about the conference experience, and some fun pictures.

Thinking about what’s next?  We’d love to have you join us at SDX!  Get your tickets through this Kickstarter now!

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You can find more pictures here!


@giovanna.allegretti wrote up a blog-version of her talk about boundaries and burnout.  She also wrote up notes to share about her SUPCONF experience.  

@peter shared a blog-version of his lightening talk about AI.  

@chelsea shared a post about being an organizer at SUPCONF.

@lisahhhhh recorded an extra special episode of Support Breakfast while at SUPCONF, and shared her slides from her talk.

@alyssa shared her SUPCONF highlights.

@sarahbetts shared what happens at SUPCONF.


Have more thoughts to share?  We’d love to read them!  Feel free to send along your blog posts in Slack and we’ll get them added.

Thinking about what’s next?  We’d love to have you join us at SDX!  Get your tickets through this Kickstarter now!

Support Origin Stories – Meet Dave

The theme for SUPCONF 2017 is all about relationships.  An important relationship is the one between you and your fellow SUPCONF attendees.

To aid in these introductions, we’ve created Support Origin Stories – or stories about how fellow attendees ended up in Customer Support.  Take a moment to meet someone new, and learn about some ways to strike up a conversation with this person while at SUPCONF.

Dave works at MailChimp, and had an exciting venture to support – including a stint working at the DMV! Meet Dave below!


Looking forward to joining us?  Learn more about SUPCONF here.

The awkwardness of socializing at events and what we’re doing about it

A few weeks ago I was with my 2 year old nephew.  We had been hanging out with family most of the afternoon, when I found him sitting quietly by himself, playing with his toy car.  I went over and asked him what he was doing, and he said “Time to go home now, too much talking.”  This is when I realized my 2 year old nephew and I are totally alike.   

In new social situations I am often an observer first.  I like to watch others interacting, and get a feel for the topic or room before I dive in.  As I digest conversations and ideas, I often feel the need to take a step back, and spend some quiet time parsing through what was discussed.   

It is easy to feel a pressure to be “always on” – especially when you’re meeting new people, because you don’t want to miss an opportunity to connect. We’d like to do something about this  so we started some conversations with folks in Support Driven.

Enter Wristbands


After considering several options, we landed on using wristbands as a way to signal that you’re open for a chat, as well as make it safe to say “I’m busy” or “I need a few moments to myself.” We ordered these wristbands in dual color from

We’d like to give you the control to turn “on” or “off” from conversations – as you see fit or feel ready.  This is sort of like muting the world away in Slack, and taking a few moments to be heads down. By giving you more control over social interactions, we hope you’ll be more comfortable connecting to other folks during the event.

These wristbands have two sides.  You can turn your wristband to yellow for “let’s chat!” When you need a break, you can turn it to black for “I need a few moments to myself, please.”  

You can pick up a wristband when you first arrive at the event.

Feel free to use these wristbands as a tool to help communicate your current status with fellow attendees, to see if they’re also up for a chat, as well as a way to have more control over your interactions during the event.  

Most importantly, make sure you take care of you throughout the event.