The customer service team is sometimes pushed to the basement, or even worse, shun to some creepy metaphorical dungeon; the task at hand, solve tickets quickly and don’t make too much of a ruckus.
Why would we ever treat a specific department at our company “lesser” than the rest? Maybe we haven’t yet shaken that image of a support as cost center work that “anyone could do,” and because most of us still deal with terrible support in our day-to-day experience as consumers.
In the real world, especially at tech startups, customer service actually has to have mad skills to be successful:
Even my most well intentioned co-workers have told me “oh….I could never do support,” with a look of disgust. I’ve wondered, is this because the image of what I actually do is still this terrible support dungeon, which no one talented voluntarily walks into? Or is it because, this work is challenging and no, not just anyone can pick it up?
Luckily, I’ve also had the pleasure of working in some amazing environments, where we see great service as a key differentiator, where our team is part of the crew like everyone else, included in key decisions, and even praised company-wide when it’s due. We see service as our place to shine, a branding opportunity, a retention and advocacy tool, and a way to gather feedback and keep iterating on our product.
Recognize your support team is talented and they do work that most people on your team would not only dislike, but they would be terrible at. You wouldn’t ask me to push production code; why do you think a developer can jump in and do support’s job without the proper training, skills, and desire? Now, with those things, yes, they can do it too and I admire companies that have made “all hands support” work for them!
If your support team is not-so-talented, because you hired a queue monkey to close cases at an un-livable wage, then it’s time to re-think not only your customer strategy but your company values. Bad service you can build a robot for; the “valuable” kind of service takes a “valuable” employee too.