In a big city, just like in support, the important thing is communication. Communication skills are the key features of a good support specialist. When communication fails in a support team, one can compare it to sand getting slowly to cogs of a machine, which seizes up after some time. Therefore, communication should be at a very high level. Both, internal and external communication.
External communication is the one with the customer and service providers that work with the customer, because it is worth noting that the support of the system as a whole must not necessarily be delegated to only one service provider. Often, even very often, it happens that the support teams cooperate with external business partners of the customer. In addition to this aspect of external communication, there is also communication with the customer itself. Service providers, who value long-term relationships with customers, who want to build customer trust to their brand, must be transparent in their actions, and thus, ensure high-quality communication. The service offered to the customer may not be some kind of a “black box”, where you throw your money and get “some” support service and you don’t know what’s going on inside and how the service is performed.
Another type is internal communication. It is worth to ensure that it works properly at the level of the team (that is a particular support line), service (that is all support teams dedicated to the specific customer) and … the company (between support teams). Team level communication includes many aspects, which on the whole should give a feeling of ongoing control over the current situation. Some examples of such communication are when one person is going off shift and gives tasks to be finished by the other person, it is daily sharing of knowledge acquired by the individual team members the day before, for example daily stand ups. Stand ups should be an overview of the current situation, ongoing work, operation strategy for the coming time, but also an overview of the tasks, which someone is not able to handle, or just the opposite, the tasks that were particularly hard, but someone managed to solve them. Of course, it would be useful if someone moderated the meeting. Communication within the team may be simply…. asking for help. This simple gesture allows you to save time on the task and unnecessary stress associated with the forthcoming deadline, but also … money, as it often happens that when you exceed the time to complete the task, which is set in the contract, it results in financial penalties.
Service-level communication means smooth transfer of tasks between the support lines, exchange of knowledge base and contacts, but also exchange of knowledge on the system, technology or tools used in your daily work. It is also mutual training, which in addition to the obvious value added such as knowledge, carries excellent integrative values.
The last aspect is the company-level communication in the support department. Obviously, every customer is different and needs a different service, but we often forget that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, and it’s sometimes useful to ask your colleagues working for other customers about their solutions to the issue. As long as the contractual conditions permit it, it’s worth transferring good practices and patterns to your teams, which at the same time gives a more coherent portfolio of services.
I do hope that this text has convinced some of you working in support to be more open and communicative. You need to believe that it’s sometimes useful to mention an idea or suggestion, even the most extreme one, rather than keep it to yourself, because non-conventional ideas give rise to solutions, and a solution is the key word in support…