Never Let Your Support Team Drown

A weak support team can lead to a weak company

When a support team is weak, that weakness spreads through the entire company

Support is more than answering emails. It includes, at a minimum, handling all the questions, issues, flaws, emergencies, and suggestions that we traditionally think of when we think of support. It also includes maintaining the company machine that makes sure your product or service is discovered, ordered, delivered, and paid for.

Step 1: Review your support processes starting with triage

A lot of support time is wasted because of bad triage. Triage is a huge factor for the customer, who usually just wants to know — as quickly as possible — that your company is aware of their problem. Bad triage management also leads to bigger inefficiencies as the issue travels from the front lines of support to the source and the fix.

Step 2: Increase Support’s authority to communicate holds

A hold is anything that’s not going to be fixed now, and the issue’s priority gets determined later on and outside of support.

  1. Lie to the customer by hinting you’re going to fix something you haven’t prioritized yet.
  2. Keep the customer in communication darkness.
  3. That’s it. Those are the only alternatives.

Step 3: Spread the burden by fixing the escalation path

Now support is back on your schedule, and you can determine if and where the escalation problems are. This can usually be done by shoring up communications between support and the rest of the company. How you do this is up to you, but here are some guidelines:

  • Support should have a permanent communication channel to every area of the company, including the CEO. That channel should be single point of contact, whether it’s a dedicated email address or Slack channel, or even a person. The expectations of the response time on that channel should be clear to support, so they can set the proper expectations for the customer.
  • Automate and centralize as much of the internal communication as possible. This means if the tech team has reprioritized fixes, that information should be logged somewhere for support to access when they need it.

Step 4: Give Support authority to be generous

How much does goodwill cost? You can’t answer that question until you lose it, and by then, it’s usually too late to buy it back.

I’m a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. Sold ExitEvent. Building TeachingStartup.com & GetSpiffy. Former Automated Insights. More info at joeprocopio.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store