A Brief Point on Support Leadership

The importance of customer support can’t be undersold because of their high touch and constant presence to the customer.  It takes a lot to do the job and even more to do it well. Not only are you expected to be a technical expert, but you need to be able to communicate, empathize, and have to grow a thick skin as well. In most conversations, customers are calling in when something has gone wrong, so emotions are running high.  Being able to calm the customer and solve the issue at hand is no easy task. With good leaders in place, your team will learn how to do all of this while building customer success into your philosophies.

A good leader on a support team is critical for two main reasons. First, most customer support reps are younger or transitioning to a more technical role, so it’s really important as a leader to be a bright light in this tough job. Second, you need to be singing the praises of your team to everyone! Every chance you get tell the company how awesome your team is.

In support, you can feel like you are cleaning up messes all the time. “Sales promised something we can’t deliver” is a sentiment I’ve heard often, which can be very damaging for the support team and the organization. It’s critical, as a leader of support, to set the tone of how the team should be expressing themselves outward.  It’s easy to become jaded in support and blame every other team for all of the cases or calls coming in. But it’s important to assume positive intent from sales and to focus on the customer and the issues at hand instead of figuring out whose fault this is. If this ideology is not followed by leadership, the negative attitudes will only fester on your support team and grow to other teams.  The role is already hard enough don’t let the team get down. Support is a difficult job and a lot of times it can feel like it’s you against the world. It’s important as a leader to let your team know they are not in this alone and to pick them when they are down.

Another piece to this is if you don’t see leadership taking the charge, you can and should. The culture is the people inside an organization, not the fancy office with the cool chairs. If you are not in a leadership position, you can still impact your team directly by helping focus on the solutions. Remember, it’s you and your internal teams vs. the problem, not you vs. your internal teams.

Selling outward how great your team is may seem like a straightforward idea but it’s not done enough. This accomplishes a few things. It lets your team know what they are doing isn’t going unnoticed by yourself and the rest of the company and shows your team how they should be celebrating each other’s victories in this tough job.

Support can be a grueling job but having a leader that can lift the team up in those dark moments can turn a good team into a great team and also improve overall company morale.

Ben Fleishman is a guest writer on the Chicago Customer Success Podcast. He is currently a Solutions Engineer with Showpad.

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