Transferrable Skills from Support to Success

Support is tough.

You’re constantly picking up the phone with the odds suggesting that the person on the other end of the line is frustrated, upset, and will more likely than not take it out on you. And you’re expected to take any kind of tongue lashing with a chipper demeanor and a smile between the earphones on your headset!

I say this mildly tongue in cheek, though the reality is often not that far fetched. I’ve seen some of the kindest souls jaded by the most aggressive customers. Conversely, I’ve seen friendships and job opportunities arise from a customer problem that was handled with empathy and care.

It’s as unpredictable as it is predictable and it’s why some of the best employees within an organization are poached from the Support team. It’s often the first interaction a new client has with your business and a strong gauge of how committed the organization is to your long-term success. How someone handles a high intensity, customer-facing role can really open the door for more internal responsibility, often feeding deeper into the Customer Success organization.

Support Agents have one of the most difficult jobs in any organization but an opportunity to hone some of the most important skills for career advancement. Let’s take a look at just a handful of reasons as to why excellent Support reps quickly move upward within their organization.

Communication

Support is unique in that you’re required to translate technical lingo into layman’s terms, while still delivering a clear and concise message. If you can effectively communicate with other people both internally and externally, you will open more doors for yourself than you can ever imagine.

Product Knowledge

A deep understanding of your product or service can be a rocket ship to a better role within your organization. Product knowledge in tandem with effective communication makes you a valuable resource and fundamentality qualifies you for most customer-facing opportunities that might make themselves available to you throughout your tenure.

Empathy

When customers speak, they expect you to listen. If a customer trusts that you understand and can provide a solution to their problem, you go a long way toward building rapport and establishing advocacy within your customer base. This skill translates perfectly into the Success Organization, providing a solid foundation on which you can grow the relationship.

Prioritization

Phone calls, emails, troubleshooting, and configuration. These are a few of the many things Support Agents have their hands in on a daily basis. The more efficiently you can work, the more productive you’ll be. Great Support Reps understand prioritization, the time it takes to complete a task and will manage dozens of different projects without breaking a sweat.

Time Management

Time management goes hand-in-hand with prioritization, ensuring that you allocate enough time to accommodate the many things you have on your plate. Support is unpredictable and we’ve all seen a 5-minute call quickly turn into an hour, rewriting the agenda we had planned for the day. Support Reps know how to adjust, plan out the important parts of their day, and when a wrench is thrown in their plans, can delegate or collaborate to ensure that they remain on track.

Whether you’re looking to source your team or you’re looking to start a new career (with virtually limitless advancement opportunities), start with Support. You’ll find some of the smartest, kindest, most dedicated contributors within your organization or you’ll become one in the process.

Ryan Moline is one of the co-founders of the Chicago Customer Success Podcast. He is currently a Solutions Consultant with DialogTech.

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