Most discussions surrounding customer support focus on customers alone. Several studies, research reports and think pieces are published each day – all reiterating the importance of delighting customers and devising strategies to consistently deliver fast and empathetic customer support.
And while doing that is incredibly important, we often forget to appreciate those on the frontlines actually driving these efforts and strategies forward – our very own customer support representatives.
We thought it’d be great to take you through the typical day in the life of a support representative and then introduce to you one of our own.
When the shift starts:
Customer support reps in most companies work through a series of shifts that could begin at ungodly hours of the night or wee hours of the morning. Being in a role that requires them to be at their productive best each day, planning their days well is as important as the job itself.
- Check the calendar – When starting their shift, the first thing support reps do is check their calendar to see what meetings they have scheduled for the day. Given that customer support is an unpredictable job, and oftentimes unforeseen issues can crop up, support reps have to ensure their day is structured in a way that they can accommodate such customer problems easily.
- Check the queue of customer queries – After checking their calendar, the next thing support reps do is check the new and pending customer requests they have on their name. This allows them to prioritize customer requests based on the urgency of the request, the category of request, and the customer who’s made the request.
- Check for possible SLA violations – Once they’ve gone over the customer requests, support reps also check to make sure they’re not lagging behind on any of the tasks or don’t have any SLA violations on their name. Customers trust companies to respond to them within a stipulated time frame, so defaulting on the same can deal a huge blow to companies’ reputation. Support reps must be cognizant of this.
During the shift:
Completing the above checks is imperative, but here’s when the work of a support rep really picks up steam. While some days are super-packed and hectic, some are easier than the others. Here’s what a support rep’s shift could look like on an average day:
- Meet with the supervisor – The first meeting that a support agent has during the day ought to be with his manager or supervisor. In a remote work scenario, where it can become difficult for the team to bounce ideas off each other, this becomes especially important. It allows support reps to discuss complex customer issues with their supervisors in detail, and come up with more nuanced and creative ways to handle the same.
- Attend to customer requests – This is perhaps the most critical aspect of a support rep’s job. They have to carefully analyze every customer’s issue in conjunction with the previous interactions and issues raised by them. This gives reps a more contextual understanding of the issue at hand and makes the resolution process much smoother. Additionally, support reps also have to collaborate with other team members and often, even other departments like engineering and sales, to provide customers with the best solutions. It is therefore important that helpdesks allow support reps to collaborate effectively.
- Update knowledge base and issue logs with troubleshooting steps – A support rep’s job isn’t limited to merely resolving customer issues as and when they arise. It’s also making sure that similar issues don’t occur again, and if they do, how can they be resolved with minimal hassle. To do this, support reps have to regularly update their company’s knowledge base and support issue logs with details of unique customer issues and the process to troubleshoot them. This helps both customers and other support reps resolve issues in a quick and structured way.
Recommended Reading: The complete guide to effective customer support troubleshooting
- Participate in training sessions – From time to time, support reps also have to undergo training sessions on new products; product features and updates; and new tools and skills needed to help them get better at their jobs. Given that support reps today require both technical adeptness as well as interpersonal sensitivity, these training programs cover a whole gamut of skill enhancement activities.
Since the support team at most organizations works in shifts, these sessions are often held after reps complete their shifts.
After the shift:
Customer support is a demanding job. There may be instances where critical issues have to be addressed on priority. At such times, agents even have to work beyond their shift to ensure customers get the help they need.
As you may have figured, being in customer support is not for the faint-hearted. There will be long hours, demanding customers and difficult problems to solve, each day! But ask any support representative and they’ll tell you that at the end of the day, seeing customers happy makes all of the hard work worth it!
Here’s a peek into the day in the life of one of Hiver’s support superheroes – Harsha.