With nearly 30 years of experience working within support, I want to share a number of simple discoveries that I’ve made about how it can be improved.


So, let’s talk about improving your own support abilities by tracking the work of others.

You’ll come across people, in whatever line of support that you work in, with a style that you like – they may be colleagues or they may simple be people you see in forums. Whether it’s their social patter with the customer or whether it’s how they deal with more difficult subjects, rather than think “yeah, that’s good” and move on, why not consider a bit of non-creepy stalking? I’ll give you my own, personal examples. I follow the work of two people…

Ryan Markell. Ryan works with me in the WordPress.com VIP team. He’s been part of VIP for years and Automattic even longer. He’s “been there, seen that” and has a particularly relaxed, informal method of communication in written client conversations. My own style of writing was already pretty similar but not has honed and I lacked the confidence to do it in a work environment. Reading Ryan’s rather excellent responses not only gave me the confidence but gave me tips for improving my own methodology.

Jan Dembowski. Jan is a volunteer forum administrator for WordPress.org. As a volunteer he does this along with own “day job”. Most of his replies are cut/pastes of defined responses (some of which I suspect are customisations specific to himself) but he sometimes has to wade into a conversation, wielding his admin powers. But he does it with his own personal style (he drinks a lot of coffee and makes sure everybody is aware of this), breaking up would could otherwise be a more serious response. What I like about Jan’s replies are his unflusterability (yes, I made that word up) and his to-the-point responses, when required. Also, this guy knows what he’s doing and so does so with a level of confidence that I’ve never had when volunteering for WordPress.org forums.

From both of these, I’ve learnt so much more about how to deal with different aspects of client relationships. So, give it a go – stalk a support expert today. In a nice way.

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