Coffee Chat on March 23 at 11:00 AM EST: Career paths and growth in Customer support


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Make way for our Coffee Chat 🎉

It’s happening on Wednesday, 23 of March at 11 AM EST.

The topic of discussion is: Career paths and growth in Customer support

Please block your calendars for about 45 minutes to answer five questions. To keep this session as engaging as possible, I’ve chosen a topic that all of us can relate to, and here are the key-segments:

  1. How did you end up in a customer support role? Alternatively, what do you think makes for a good customer support rep?
  2. What are the opportunities and skills a customer support role can open up for a person?
  3. What is the kind of growth/career development a customer support agent can expect, say, 5 or 10 years down the line?
  4. How should customer support teams align themselves with other related functions like product, marketing, customer success, and operations?
  5. What advice would you give someone looking to pivot into a customer support related career?

As always, here’s reminder about a few things to keep in mind
 

Six important things to know before we get started on our coffee chat :coffee:

  1. To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering the first question Q1, start your answer with A1 and use the Quote option 

  2. If you cannot make it at 11:00 am EST or even if you’re past time, you can still post your answer to a particular question.

  3. You can reply to each others threads/posts to keep the conversation going.

  4. Be polite and respectful of other people’s opinions.

  5. Most importantly, have a great time here!

  6. Lastly, I will make sure to engage with all of you to make this interesting. 


34 replies

Userlevel 4
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Last question, for today!

Q5: What advice would you give someone looking to pivot into a customer support related career?

Please start your answer with A5! 

A5:

The possible CS reps should know they have a career path in all industries that have (human) customers. Keeping themselves updated is very important. This includes not only the technological improvements or fashion trends but also understanding. The new big change has started! From customer support to customer experience...the one who wants to track that career should broaden his or her mind to understand all steps the customers experience from the first click to the last emotions.

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It was a great session today chatting away about career paths and growth in customer support. Feel free to keep the conversation going everyone! Thank you so much for participating @finn @KeithW@Brok@Getjayesh, @rashmi.nag , and @alyssia.correa ! 


P.S. Really sorry about the delay in starting this virtual hangout since we had a glitch with our community. We hope to you in another edition. 

Userlevel 7
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Last question, for today!

Q5: What advice would you give someone looking to pivot into a customer support related career?

Please start your answer with A5! 

A5: 

Your prior experience would be the most crucial part of your resume. This section will get a lot of focus, so you need to make sure that it shines.

Here are some points to keep in mind while describing your experience on your resume.

Focus on achievements, not responsibilities. The goal of a resume is to showcase what you’ve achieved and not what you’re supposed to do. Research showed that the following modifications positively impacts resumes. Even if you’ve got a lot of projects to list, keep it brief and relevant. 

Use numbers. You led a team, yes, but you know what’s more impressive? The fact that your team had an a quantitative improvement during your tenure would be great. Numbers showcase achievements in detail so quantify whenever you can. Example: Reduced employee attrition from x% to y% through consistent mentoring.

Projects: Include professional and personal projects that you’ve worked on that’s relevant to customer service. For instance, surveying how people feel about a particular brand or designing/developing a web page is the foundation of a customer satisfaction survey and a support portal launch respectively. As long as impacting a customer or an agent is the focal point of your project, you can include it.

Volunteer work: Add any volunteering work you’ve done since this shows that you are skilled at coordinating, communicating, and working in a team.

Show conflict and stakeholder management
You’re bound to encounter conflicts within the team and the organization. So, it would help if you showed that you’re good at diffusing these difficult situations.

Feel free to add anything that you think can help someone pivot to a CS related career
 

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Moving on to Q4: How should customer support teams align themselves with other related functions like product, marketing, customer success, and operations?

 

Use the quote option and start the answer with A4

A4:

Actually, the other teams should align themselves with CS because we have customers...while they have just products, reports, treasure and other unimportant things :)) Joking aside, other teams really should evaluate the feedback that comes from CS team in detail. The best image of the customers' needs can be seen from CS's point of view. Sharing monthly reports among departments is crucial to do that. Being aware of the abilities of each department is important too. I mean if there is a problem with the delivery and if you know the capabilities and abilities of the related team you can apply them to resolve the problem. Therefore, in-house workflows should be defined very well.
 

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Last question, for today!

Q5: What advice would you give someone looking to pivot into a customer support related career?

Please start your answer with A5! 

Userlevel 7
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Next question for today, Q3: What are the opportunities and skills a customer support role can open up for a person?

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering the second question Q3, start your answer with A3 and use the Quote option 

What is the kind of growth/career development a customer support agent can expect, say, 5 or 10 years down the line?

A3:

(Is there any confusion about questions? Q3 was about career path)

It can be divided into two parts → internal and external. Internal career paths should be planned as CS team steps. Rep, team leader, supervisor, coordinator, manager, etc offer expanded responsibility and authority step by step. These tangible positions motivate the employees to go forward in the CS team. The external path includes different positions in other teams like marketing, operations, sales, etc. While the internal path requires soft skills like empathy, problem resolution, time management; the external path requires hard skills like coding, advanced level knowledge for office programs, etc.

@finn You’re right. I confused it. It’s a boo-boo. Sorry! The question I posted was right - my answer was supposed to be for something else.
 

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Moving on to Q4: How should customer support teams align themselves with other related functions like product, marketing, customer success, and operations?

 

Use the quote option and start the answer with A4

Bringing the activities of marketing, sales and customer support into alignment begins with focusing everyone on the same goal. That goal is delighting your customers by giving them the products and services they need to fulfil their needs and solve their problems. A few ways to do this: 

  1. Encourage collaboration – your team can better address customer needs if they work together and share ideas
  2. Align performance metrics and rewards to common objectives – don’t let your rewards program undermine success
  3. Encourage excellence in individual roles – give team members the training, tools and support they need to excel.
  4. Soften boundaries between functions – don’t let org structures create barriers
  5. Share data across functions (avoiding siloes) – cross-functional data leads to better quality insights
  6. Think long-term – focus on lifetime value and customer retention
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Moving on to Q4: How should customer support teams align themselves with other related functions like product, marketing, customer success, and operations?

 

Use the quote option and start the answer with A4

Userlevel 7
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Next question for today, Q2: What are the opportunities and skills a customer support role can open up for a person?

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering the second question Q2, start your answer with A2 and use the Quote option 

A2:

Witnessing all weaknesses of an industry is a dedicated chance for the customer support teams 🙂 I know many people who have been transferred to the other departments and carried the experiences they gained in cs team there succesfully.

The experience and knowledge gained in a CS team is a almost worth a goldmine

Userlevel 7
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Next question for today, Q3: What are the opportunities and skills a customer support role can open up for a person?

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering the second question Q3, start your answer with A3 and use the Quote option 

What is the kind of growth/career development a customer support agent can expect, say, 5 or 10 years down the line?

A3: I see a trend toward moving from a customer support agent to a customer success manager, so shifting from putting out fires and first line of support to a customer engagement role to plan onboard strategies and best practices. I also see shifting to the product side, like I have where I know enough about the product AND customer need after working closely with customers to offer insight to make the product better. Support Agent - to Suggest Manager (5 years) - to Product Manager. It has been 10 years for me to get the role I have as Product Manager. 

Your career trajectory is amazing. Good luck with your role, @Brok 

Userlevel 4
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Next question for today, Q3: What are the opportunities and skills a customer support role can open up for a person?

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering the second question Q3, start your answer with A3 and use the Quote option 

What is the kind of growth/career development a customer support agent can expect, say, 5 or 10 years down the line?

A3:

(Is there any confusion about questions? Q3 was about career path)

It can be divided into two parts → internal and external. Internal career paths should be planned as CS team steps. Rep, team leader, supervisor, coordinator, manager, etc offer expanded responsibility and authority step by step. These tangible positions motivate the employees to go forward in the CS team. The external path includes different positions in other teams like marketing, operations, sales, etc. While the internal path requires soft skills like empathy, problem resolution, time management; the external path requires hard skills like coding, advanced level knowledge for office programs, etc.

Userlevel 7
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Next question for today, Q2: What are the opportunities and skills a customer support role can open up for a person?

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering the second question Q2, start your answer with A2 and use the Quote option 

A2. Ah, there’s going to be plenty here. Though I am not a customer support person myself, in my interactions with many of them over the last few years, I’ve come to realize that there are certain key skills they possess or develop over their career. A few to these are:

  1. Emotional Intelligence - the ability to understand and put emotions into the best use to communicate, solve, overcome challenges etc.
  2. Product or service knowledge - and this can be in-depth knowledge as much as or probably more than the product/ service manager
  3. Problem solving ability - to find innovative, helpful ways through which the customer can find solutions
  4. Collaboration - customer support interacts and coordinates with multiple teams to stay updated on anything new, verify information, taking back customer FAQs to the respective teams etc.
  5. Effective communication + Patience - how to communicate the right way to each customer as each one is going to be different and this demands a lot of patience and understanding.

I’m super excited to host the coffee chat after a break! How is everyone doing? Also, did you miss us? 


Our first question for today is, Q1:How did you end up in a customer support role? Alternatively, what do you think makes for a good customer support rep?

 

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering the first question Q1, start your answer with A1 and use the Quote option 

Hi Akshara and everyone else :)

It is great to have a chance to exchange ideas, again! 

A1:
I started to work in cs team more than a year ago. The first rule for being a good cs rep is being a frustrated customer at least one time in our life cycle. Such experiences create empathy to solve the issues better. To me, a good cs rep advocates for the customers, not the company.

Excellent point! 

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Up next, Q4: How should customer support teams align themselves with other related functions like product, marketing, customer success, and operations?

Use the Quote option and start your answer with A4

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Next question for today, Q3: What are the opportunities and skills a customer support role can open up for a person?

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering the second question Q3, start your answer with A3 and use the Quote option 

What is the kind of growth/career development a customer support agent can expect, say, 5 or 10 years down the line?

A3: I lead Freshworks Academy and we educate customers on customer service skills. We’ve also taken the goal of tackling ticket deflection and this really picks my brain always. Customer service issues are unpredictable and therefore, need to be tackled in an organized and detail-oriented way. Support teams and knowledge base managers must try every solution themselves before suggesting it to customers, and ensure there are no lapses in communication. I’d like to be someone who advocates this even after a decade or so and perhaps have a tried and tested framework to deliver solutions for all customer issues instantly or right after they reach out to support

I’m super excited to host the coffee chat after a break! How is everyone doing? Also, did you miss us? 


Our first question for today is, Q1:How did you end up in a customer support role? Alternatively, what do you think makes for a good customer support rep?

 

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering the first question Q1, start your answer with A1 and use the Quote option 

A1: I was initially hired to reply to emails for my boss (admin assistant) and then as his company grew, my role developed into customer support and now we have a full team. I think a good customer support rep is someone who is good at asking questions and not making assumptions. They’re inquisitive and an excellent problem solver. 

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Next question for today, Q2: What are the opportunities and skills a customer support role can open up for a person?

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering the second question Q2, start your answer with A2 and use the Quote option 

A2:

Witnessing all weaknesses of an industry is a dedicated chance for the customer support teams 🙂 I know many people who have been transferred to the other departments and carried the experiences they gained in cs team there succesfully.

Userlevel 1

Next question for today, Q3: What are the opportunities and skills a customer support role can open up for a person?

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering the second question Q3, start your answer with A3 and use the Quote option 

What is the kind of growth/career development a customer support agent can expect, say, 5 or 10 years down the line?

A3: I see a trend toward moving from a customer support agent to a customer success manager, so shifting from putting out fires and first line of support to a customer engagement role to plan onboard strategies and best practices. I also see shifting to the product side, like I have where I know enough about the product AND customer need after working closely with customers to offer insight to make the product better. Support Agent - to Suggest Manager (5 years) - to Product Manager. It has been 10 years for me to get the role I have as Product Manager. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

I’m super excited to host the coffee chat after a break! How is everyone doing? Also, did you miss us? 


Our first question for today is, Q1:How did you end up in a customer support role? Alternatively, what do you think makes for a good customer support rep?

 

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering the first question Q1, start your answer with A1 and use the Quote option 

Hi Akshara and everyone else :)

It is great to have a chance to exchange ideas, again! 

A1:
I started to work in cs team more than a year ago. The first rule for being a good cs rep is being a frustrated customer at least one time in our life cycle. Such experiences create empathy to solve the issues better. To me, a good cs rep advocates for the customers, not the company.

It’s amazing to see you again, @finn! Well said - Do what’s right for the customer always :D  

Userlevel 7
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Next question for today, Q3: What are the opportunities and skills a customer support role can open up for a person?

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering the second question Q3, start your answer with A3 and use the Quote option 

What is the kind of growth/career development a customer support agent can expect, say, 5 or 10 years down the line?

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Next question for today, Q2: What are the opportunities and skills a customer support role can open up for a person?

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering the second question Q2, start your answer with A2 and use the Quote option 

A2: I can answer this question for a newbie customer service rep. 
You’ve landed a cool job in your great company. You’ve realized your dream of helping people be more successful. You’re eager to get started and shine in your new role.

During the first few days, it might feel like the factors that make you successful are completely out of your control. And it might be true. But the good news is, you can train yourself on the basic customer service skills to make sure that you do the best you can to turn these out-of-control success factors in your favor. The basic customer service skills are - Communiction, Empathy, Organization skills, and the Ability to honor deadlines. While list can go on, this is a good place to start

Userlevel 7
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I’m super excited to host the coffee chat after a break! How is everyone doing? Also, did you miss us? 


Our first question for today is, Q1:How did you end up in a customer support role? Alternatively, what do you think makes for a good customer support rep?

 

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering the first question Q1, start your answer with A1 and use the Quote option 

Hi Akshara and everyone else :)

It is great to have a chance to exchange ideas, again! 

A1:
I started to work in cs team more than a year ago. The first rule for being a good cs rep is being a frustrated customer at least one time in our life cycle. Such experiences create empathy to solve the issues better. To me, a good cs rep advocates for the customers, not the company.

@finn - So well stated. I absolutely agree! Being in the shoes of a customer will certainly help develop the empathy required to provide the right solutions to our customers.

A1

someone who can relate and make customer understand that you are able to relate with their pain   And can help him resolve with your resources be a good customer rep. 

Userlevel 4
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I’m super excited to host the coffee chat after a break! How is everyone doing? Also, did you miss us? 


Our first question for today is, Q1:How did you end up in a customer support role? Alternatively, what do you think makes for a good customer support rep?

 

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering the first question Q1, start your answer with A1 and use the Quote option 

Hi Akshara and everyone else :)

It is great to have a chance to exchange ideas, again! 

A1:
I started to work in cs team more than a year ago. The first rule for being a good cs rep is being a frustrated customer at least one time in our life cycle. Such experiences create empathy to solve the issues better. To me, a good cs rep advocates for the customers, not the company.

Userlevel 1

Next question for today, Q2: What are the opportunities and skills a customer support role can open up for a person?

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering the second question Q2, start your answer with A2 and use the Quote option 

A2: I have learned more about how people think. I can better understand behavior when I see patterns. This has helped me to provide feedback to our product team on ways to improve that user experience. I have also learned how to communicate via email and messages as a skill. It is a very different skill than talking to people. How to format your questions as a curious person instead interrogation in the tone.  

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