Support—Solution-Oriented with a Sympathetic Ear
One of the key areas in every IT company is the Support Department. This is where customers call in if something goes south. Thus, people working in customer support have to be on top of their game and know how to handle (sometimes) challenging situations. They have to deal with diverse topics and flexibly adapt to customer requests; and if they do their job well, it is an extremely rewarding work that certainly does not get boring.
Qualities of an Excellent Support Specialist
There are certain things a support specialist has to bring to the table in order to be able to do this job properly. First of all, you really need to be resilient and reliable, especially towards the customer. They always need know that they are dealing with someone they can trust and who will help them cope with their challenges in a professional and timely manner. Therefore, excellent communication skills and the ability to keep calm in situations of pressure are key asset for every support specialist. I am sure to not spill any secrets here, but people typically don’t want their customer support counterpart to join in their emotional roller coaster ride but expect them to end it.
In addition to communication with the customer, internal communication plays an essential part as well. Let’s take Intact, the company I work at, as an example. At Intact, support staff have to be in constant touch with their colleagues from Account Management, Software Engineering, Release Planning, and Project Management. It goes without saying that good teamwork is the basis for a quick and satisfactory processing of inquiries for the customer. This is something you learn rather quickly when you work as a support specialist.
The way you approach a certain issue or bug (or whatever you want to call it) has to be clearly structured and requires logical thinking. The ability to recognize correlations quickly and handle them accordingly is an obligatory trait, because there are days when there are loads of support tickets piling up in your task list.
Another trait, that might not be obvious on first glance, is a neat and professional appearance. Intact’s support specialists meet the customers they support from time to time in person. They are responsible for very sensitive data and business processes, and customers should feel valued by the way we face them. You can call me old-fashioned in that regard, but I think that this is a sign of respect and I stand by that opinion.
Why I Love to Work in Customer Support
I think the great thing about this job is the fact that you never know what the day will bring. It is very varied and something super-urgent could come in at any minute. Sometimes you feel like a firefighter and you have to act within minutes to avoid chaos. It is our job to come up with a solution as fast as possible while keeping cool.
Another reason why I love my job in particular is that we know our users very well. This is due to the fact that Intact provides second level support only, which means that we support our customers‘ key users instead of end users. We have update meetings with them on a regular basis and the relationship is really close with most of them. At least in our company, customer support is far from being a call-center job. It really is about knowing our customers and their field of work as well as their specific configuration of our product ECERT, the leading ERP solution specifically designed for all industries within the testing, inspection, and certification (TIC) market.
What does second level support at Intact look like? We train our customers on how to use and administer our software so that they are able to train their staff and customers according to specifics of the respective industry. Since our customers take care of first-level support, which is often mixed with industry-specific questions not related to the software, we can concentrate on important technical questions.
And last but not least, working in customer support can be extremely rewarding when you get positive customer feedback like that one published on Capterra.