Since I began my job in March, I’ve had a hard time calling myself support. It isn’t that I don’t feel like support is an honorable job, because it is. It’s more that I feel like I do so much more than support our users. I do everything from training our new employees, to creating and editing both internal and external documentation, and even what amounts to business consulting over live-chat to help some of our users build the best web presence that they can have. Something about using the word support has always felt a little. . . a little less than what I do.
Maybe it’s a personal hang-up, but I’ve been the Director of Sales and Marketing for various organizations and a successful business owner. I never once thought of what I did as support. I trained support. I helped support do their job. I’ve just never really thought of what I did as support, until last weekend.
On October 18th, I attended a conference called UserConf, which has really changed the way that I see myself and what I do. This was a conference for a new breed of support. The modern breed of kick-ass, hard-working, super-smart, super-dedicated, and amazing support. These are the people that take start-ups and make them trustworthy. These are the people that you reach on the other end of the line, or email, or chat box, or twitter. These are the people writing the documentation to use their products. They are recording the videos, driving the product with suggestions, and helping you (with complete empathy) to change the world one pixel at a time. These are my people.
UserConf was more about the how of support and less about the why, with the exception of one presentation by Rich White of UserVoice. Rich touched on how acquiring users is no longer the road to success. It’s retaining users, and growing them, that holds the key. It’s showing real people that you are real. That you are trustworthy, helpful, empathetic, passionate, and in control. The only way that your start-up will set itself ahead of the pack is by providing the best customer experience. Loyalty drives us, and without support, we are nothing.
All of this is to say that I’m mighty proud of what I do. Just because I couldn’t previously accept the word support for what it is, doesn’t mean that I don’t identify as support. This word has taken on new meaning for me, and it’s a positive switch.
I’m passionate about helping WordPress.com users be the best that they can be. I’m proud to be a Happiness Engineer. I’m proud to call myself support.
14 thoughts on “Support is Sexy”
How does this blog post not have any comments?
Alx forgot to mention the fact that comments are sexy as well?
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There are so many things about this post that I love! I was talking about my job just last night and the other person asked me if I was a programmer. I said, “No, I’m on the user experience side.” I got to thinking that this is really at the core of what I do. It’s all about giving each user the best possible experience, whether that’s through our documentation, products, customer interactions, or the UI. And us support folks touch all of it in some way. 🙂
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Support is sexy, indeed! Our job is complicated, never easy, but really rewarding. Keep in mind, there is no college degree for our job!
I think Happiness Engineer must be the best job in the world. I only wish I were qualified! I am a customer service fool, having worked in such high-stress environments as the phone company and the court system. But I am not a tech person and I don’t know any programming beyond rudimentary HTML. Sigh. Any recommendations?
So many of our Happiness Engineers started out by blogging (which you do) and being a part of the WordPress community (which you are!) I’d say that this is something that you want to do, you should go for it. We can only make our dreams a reality by taking the steps to get there. You can only learn by doing. Why not apply?
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Done! Thanks for your kind response and here’s hoping dreams really do come true!
I’ve worked in theater most of my life. Behind the scenes, as it turned out, was the best place for me. I like making things happen. Recently I had been involved in mostly arts admin work, helping our members resolve their concerns. Now in the very early stages of creating a WP site, I want to continue this kind of ‘service’ or support as Alx writes about. It IS a noble cause and it’s difficult to define the kind of gratification one gets knowing he has helped someone to realize their dream, smoothed that path to the next level, or made their lives a tad better. In another life I would have liked to have been a butler – really. Much of one’s success in this business as I understand it is anticipating the needs of those one serves. Thanks Alx for your message on “Support.’ It came at just the right time. Regards, F.
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Reblogged this on Jackie's test site.