Support and issue management is the bread and butter of Customer Support. There is no point in the career of a customer enthusiast in which they graduate from providing direct, empathetic support to users. Staying close to the user — understanding their needs, how they use and interact with a product, what makes them come back to it or abandon it — is absolutely vital, not only to the success of the Support function itself, but also to a company’s overall success and longevity.
As I’ve spoken about elsewhere, I firmly believe that a Support professional worth their salt (if you’ll forgive the mixing of idioms) will always be talking directly to customers, whether they’re a brand new agent or a Chief Customer Officer. Which is to say: I started out working directly with customers, and I’ll continue to work directly with customers (even if it’s only a few times a week) until they pry my keyboard from of my wrinkly, gnarled hands.
Here’s the details of my experience in support and issue management, organized by company and role.
Support Engineer III, then Support Engineer Manager
At Abstract, I support customers using Branches, Abstract’s version control solution for design teams, by helping them understand our product and listening and responding to their feature requests and feedback.
I investigate bugs by digging into error, CLI, application, and crash logs. I carefully reproduce, document, and prioritize product bugs in Jira for current and future sprints, all while managing customer relationships through the ticket lifecycle, from their first report to the final resolution.
As the primary support engineer responsible for managing and triaging the incoming ticket queue, I identify outages and incidents, escalate verified incidents to the appropriate engineering team, and manage user communications through social media, Zendesk, and Statuspage through resolution and beyond.
Community Support Lead
As a Community Support Lead at Khan Academy, I was embedded as the voice of the customer on the Learning Platform and Test Prep teams, advising these cross-functional teams on the needs of our users, identifying trends in user issues, and ensuring that information flowed freely between the product teams and our frontline support team. Additionally, I triaged and prioritized issues in Jira and worked closely with the Test Prep engineering and product teams to identify high-impact user issues to be worked on in upcoming sprints.
I co-led a team of 8-15 contracted frontline support agents, keeping them unblocked and facilitating communication between our team and product managers, engineers, and other teams to resolve or investigate escalated issues.
Shortcut (formerly Clubhouse Software)
Customer Experience Representative
I provided excellent, empathetic support to users over email and the occasional tweet. I introduced new users to Shortcut, explained product features and the user interface, assisted with account and administrative tasks, and troubleshooted and triaged issues and bugs.
I served as an advocate for customers, collaborating with other teams to optimize user experiences and test new features and releases, and offered a webinar on how to get started with and get the most out of Shortcut.
Customer Happiness Hero
I offered compassionate, timely and personalized support to individual customers via phone, email, chat, and social media (Twitter and Facebook) and troubleshooted the website, courses, and often even our customers’ hardware. I also provided personalized support for corporate customers, providing first-line group sales and onboarding to small to medium sized companies.
Customer Advocate and Consultant
I provided Tier I and II support for a major online SaaS helpdesk platform, assisting enterprise customers and their end-users with general setup and use of platform/features, software integrations, and advanced technical issues.