It is truthful to say that not many individuals develop up dreaming about working in buyer help. It is not the standard aspirational profession path! Certainly, some see a buyer help position as a stepping stone to one thing else or a short-term job in a break from school or Uni. After practically a decade working in a help position right here at Buffer, I’ve come to think about buyer help as a profession in its personal proper, and I am extra captivated with it than ever.

I have been working within the help workforce at Buffer for 9 years, which is a big and weird period of time in a single job! Within the tech world, folks change roles and employers greater than in virtually another trade, making me much more of an outlier. There have definitely been instances when the considered transferring on has popped into my thoughts, and I puzzled if I ought to contemplate beginning a brand new chapter. I need to share extra about why I’ve stayed at Buffer and haven’t any plans to depart.

To start with – why help?

I’ve at all times preferred figuring issues out, understanding how issues work, making issues higher, and serving to folks. I really feel satisfaction after I’ve been ready to make use of my information, expertise, and expertise to make a distinction. I’ve beforehand labored in healthcare, the place I made scientific diagnoses (targeted on folks) and in IT safety roles (targeted on tech). My buyer help position at Buffer is in a candy spot for me, the place I take advantage of expertise from each areas.

Working in buyer help can draw on many expertise you would not mix in different roles. In simply at some point’s work, you should use a variety of expertise: emotional intelligence, predictive communication, technical information, troubleshooting/diagnostics, and testing. There’s additionally a number of cross-team communication: we work immediately with the finance workforce on gross sales admin, with the advertising and marketing workforce on launch planning, and we work with the product and engineering groups to help their work in bettering our product and bringing new options to our clients. We’re removed from being an remoted workforce!

One other superior factor about help is that we have to learn about the entire product, not simply functionally. We have to know the ins and outs of how one can use every function, and we have to perceive a number of use circumstances for every function, the related bugs, which bugs have just lately been resolved for that function, how options work together with each other, how our options differ from native options, and so forth. There’s the potential for infinite information progress. You have by no means ‘arrived’ as a information knowledgeable throughout your entire product resulting from continuous adjustments, so there is a fixed problem. Nevertheless, amidst that problem, your understanding of the assets that are at your disposal grows and offers you the boldness to proceed navigating this ever-changing surroundings.

Second – why I’ve stayed at Buffer.

I joined in 2014 once we have been nonetheless a start-up (Buffer was based in 2012), and we have been fewer than 20 folks. The help workforce is presently greater than Buffer was after I joined! I began out overlaying Saturdays and Sundays as a “Weekend Warrior” (we used to have barely extra jovial names for our roles, and we had a robust love of alliteration again then). I coated the e-mail inbox and conversations coming in through social, and after some time, I transitioned right into a extra conventional work week.

Some folks know Buffer as a lot for our tradition as for our product. We have been absolutely distant since earlier than my time, and having the ability to work from wherever you’re feeling most efficient has been extremely highly effective. To me, it is the largest perk!

I have been ready to stick with my Dad, working from his place when he was unwell. I’ve additionally had the posh of serving clients whereas poolside on a Spanish island. The flexibleness and potential to search out your greatest model of work-life steadiness with out having to commute or being tied to an workplace is one thing I treasure. Extra just lately, we transitioned to a four-day work week and not using a drop in wage. You is perhaps beginning to perceive why Buffer is an distinctive firm! Past this stuff, we’re a values-led firm, and regardless of being unfold across the globe, there are key issues all of us have in frequent.

The work we do in help has at all times been targeted on empowering folks. We need to be there to assist, however we additionally need to get out of the best way as quickly as attainable. There are a couple of methods we do that:

  • We provide the identical degree of help to our Free plan customers as any paying buyer, which implies we will be there for folks simply getting began. That is extremely highly effective.
career customer support
  • We invite clients to evaluate their help expertise, and we pay very shut consideration to how they rating us. Our buyer satisfaction rating is presently 97%!
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Buffer CSAT request to clients
  • We use a system to evaluate and charge our help conversations and ensure we’re delivering a extremely excessive customary, specializing in three tenets: Consciousness, Readability, and Empowerment.
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Buffer inner high quality evaluations

Over the span of 9 years, Buffer has modified rather a lot. Our product is extra highly effective and extra advanced, and our firm has grown to only beneath 80 folks. All this variation has saved my position attention-grabbing, with contemporary challenges and shifting workforce constructions as we have developed and refined our work and experimented with new approaches and instruments. On the identical time, we have maintained our small workforce mindset and targeted on our core values.

Within the final 12 months, I’ve taken on a Product Liaison position (extra on that right here), working as a hyperlink between our help workforce and our incredible product workforce. I’ve discovered a lot! I be sure that the help workforce is aware of about all of the customer-facing adjustments being labored on, in addition to cross on buyer insights that come by the inbox – comparable to areas of product friction and have requests. I am additionally getting extra concerned in pre-release testing and studying about the entire technique of bringing new options to market. It has been eye-opening, and the final 12 months have been probably the most thrilling and rewarding of my profession.

How I keep away from stalling and preserve my motivation contemporary

A couple of times a 12 months, I’ve deliberately stepped again from my work to replicate and guarantee I’ve not gotten caught in a rut or complacent about what I do. I might by no means need to work on autopilot; that simply is not me. Fortunately, my work retains me on my toes! There are additionally some proactive issues I’ve completed, which have drastically enriched my work and profession in help:

  • Take time to attach with the broader help group. There are Slack communities and real-life alternatives, comparable to meet-ups and conferences. Constructing a community of help professionals outdoors of Buffer’s buyer Advocacy workforce labored nicely for me. It began out very organically, at a Buyer Assist meet-up one night in London. I used to be chatting with some pretty individuals who additionally labored remotely about how good it is perhaps to co-work frequently. This was the beginning of the Assist Breakfast, a casual co-working occasion primarily based round breakfast in numerous venues in London. We labored from every kind of areas, together with espresso retailers, resort lobbies, and museums, and shaped shut friendships over time. We had such nice chats in regards to the frequent themes in our work and the completely different ways in which we approached a few of the challenges we confronted, that we began recording our conversations and sharing them as a podcast.
  • Pay attention to engaged on autopilot. I am not considering of ‘getting within the zone’ right here, extra about coasting by the day. I’ve had jobs like that previously, and it’s simply not me. I do not assume that most individuals need that from a profession. Some degree of problem that you would be able to be ok with on the finish of the day or week.
  • Overview accessible roles at different firms occasionally. The position description and necessities might help body your present position and encourage you when it comes to private progress and the talents you need to develop. Not solely will this enrich your present work, however it’s going to additionally make sure that you are market-ready if you happen to determine to maneuver on.
  • Tackle new challenges and initiatives inside your capability and together with your supervisor’s help. Discover areas inside your workforce or adjoining groups the place you may assist out. For some time, I used to be cautious that as Buffer had grown, our roles grew to become extra outlined, with much less selection in our work or alternatives to do one thing completely different. In small firms, you typically do what wants doing, whether or not in your job description or not – in bigger organizations, your position is extra clearly mapped out and outlined, and there are fewer alternatives to ‘put on many hats’. Nevertheless, even in bigger organizations, there are at all times going to be gaps that want filling, new initiatives or experiments which might be value exploring, or folks or groups that need assistance.
  • Lastly, I suggest studying books and articles and listening to podcasts to broaden your information. Buyer help has actually been coming into its personal as a profession, and like all careers, there are rising developments and alternatives.

I ended up working within the help world as a result of I like to assist, and I’ve ended up surrounded by a few of the kindest and most supportive folks I’ve ever met.

There are lots of instructions {that a} profession in help can take you and so many areas that you would be able to get a style of and maybe go on to focus on: advertising and marketing, buyer analysis, group administration, gross sales, and account administration. You possibly can go deeper into technical expertise and engineering, in addition to progress into an operations or management position. I didn’t develop up anticipating to observe this path, however I’m fueled and inspired by how dynamic and fulfilling my profession in buyer help has been. I’ll be right here for some time!

What ideas come to thoughts for you on this matter? Come chat with me over on Mastodon,  Twitter, or LinkedIn!

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