At Teamweek, we’re enjoying the freedom and opportunities what a team of 10 has to offer. The flexibility and the fast pace, the cross-functional collaboration and the tight feeling of loving towards the same goal. We have a habit of taking over each-other’s work and pitching in where necessary.
And as we only have one customer support employee, we’ve all had our fair share of support hours put in. You might think it’s tedious. Well, in a way it is. But it’s also extremely useful and in fact, I plan on keeping it up even when our team grows. And so should you, especially if you’re working in UX, design research or onboarding.
While working on a narrow segment of the tool, be it onboarding, marketing or making the dragging performance the best there is, it’s always hard to take your eye off the ball and see the bigger picture. How has the tool changed in recent months. How have the changes been received. Doing customer support might deliver the reality check every product team needs every once in awhile.
Sometimes, especially if you’re working in marketing or other segments not directly linked to the product development, you might not even know the latest updates. And there’s no better way of getting up-to-date than taking a few hours to talk to customers and give them advice on how they can get the greatest value out of your product.
There’s a lot of talk recently about giving your support people a voice behind the product development table. And with good reason: no one knows the tool better than the people working in close connection with your customers. They know exactly what works and what doesn’t, what confuses your customers and what makes them happy.
But there’s more you can do. You can confirm your support people’s insights. And that’s why you need to take the time to put in a few hours yourself. Not to just react to a few simpler feature requests with a thank you, but make issues for bugs, take the chance to talk to your team about recurring problems and make a few issues on some new ones you might find.
This will also give you a sense of urgency.
Thinking about your end-users as a flock of sheep is easy when you distance yourself from them. A few hours of support duty will make all the difference in understanding that they’re real life people with real needs.
You’ll also figure out that your tool is just a means to an end. They’re trying to accomplish something, and they don’t really care what tool they’re using, as long as it gets the job done. What that job is, however, can’t be figured out without communicating with your users and seeing them in action.
That can give you every kind of information. Use this opportunity to map the key areas where your users need help and offer it to them in a manner that’s the most beneficial.No matter your role, it's important to do #customersupport every once in a while. Do you agree? #saas Click To Tweet
The right kind of onboarding that helps people to get the greatest possible value out of your tool should minimise the confusion. Therefore, questions like “How does this work?” shouldn’t take up much of your time.
If that isn’t the case, however, you need to work on that. Small churn and conversion to paying user is a bleed that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. And there’s no better way to start than through support – understanding your users’ pain points and struggles while mastering your tool.
The mere fact that you’re offering tooltips and explanations where needed isn’t often enough. The wordings need to be optimised and placed in front of the audience for testing. And the slightest indication that they haven’t been understood should take you back to the drawing board.
It’s super easy to get stuck into your set ways. Same meetings every week, same old assignments. And that makes you numb. Taking as little as half a day can give you fresh ideas based on real-life problems users have – be it with your tool or what they’re trying to solve with it.
It can also give you a different perspective of what other people in your team are doing. And that can help foster trust and flawless communication.