“Real Support”

If you have talked with me, my skepticism with regards to Avyd and what they are doing should not be much of a surprise at this point. (I hesitate to talk about it much because there are good people I respect who are doing business at and with Avyd and I am of course always worried about causing hurt.)

I need to say something about this, though.

Today, they are talking about the support they’ll offer as part of their service:

This reminded me of the job posting they’d put up a couple of weeks ago, about which I’d intended to say something more directly.

The listing is here, but I’m assuming that it will expire at some point, so I’ll put the pertinent bits below:

Responsibilities

  • Customer Service Representatives are responsible for handling our Client’s highest level of service issues to ensure customer issues are resolved in an efficient and timely manner. Agents provide knowledge and expertise to all online customers to effectively resolve any service-related, while balancing both the needs of the customer and the business.
  • Use empathy with the customer; allow them to vent frustrations, while staying in control of the conversation and maintaining focus.
  • Must be able to multi task
  • Follow up with customers to ensure issue has been resolved
  • Will be answering customer support tickets, inbound calls, and support chats.

Successful Candidates will have:

  • Previous Customer Service experience
  • Proficient in typing and computer skills
  • Energetic and motivated personality
  • Gaming knowledge
  • Available to work nights and weekends as needed
  • Be fluent in English
  • Team player
  • High School Diploma or equivalent

What We Offer:

  • Unparalleled work environment
  • Unlimited growth from within
  • Paid training
  • Continued development beyond entry level
  • Travel opportunities
  • Career advancement into management

On its own, that’s mostly fine. It’s a lot of attention-splitting, and the bit about nights and weekends without specifically stating what that means is a little concerning.

And then you get to the stuff about “growth” from the support position. It’s so much of a focus that it’s literally half of the bullet points in the list of “What We Offer.” It’s a red flag, especially when you hit this part:

Job Type: Part-time

Salary: $10.00 /hour

I don’t suppose I need to state that this is in an office and not remote, because the job posting should lead you in that direction on its own.

This is troubling because it doesn’t see support as a worthwhile career in and of itself. I am growing to understand that my current employer is somewhat unique in this, but I want to see the idea and the respect for support professionals continue to grow.

User support has been my full-time, salaried and benefited career for the last six years. It supports my entire household. I have had different responsibilities and been on different teams, but through the whole thing, I have been well-appreciated and been given the ability to build my career on having pride in the fact that I make our customers’ and clients’ lives easier, and that the ability to do so in an exceptional way is deserving of being a full-time employee.

The wage and (lack of) benefits in this Avyd job posting is sadly reflective of how a lot of tech sees support. Support is a place where you go to wage slave until you earn yourself a place as a supervisor, when you make a bit more and maybe get full-time, and then after even more time you might end up in charge of support for something and possibly get a salary and benefits. Or you have the (often just a) pipe dream of learning another skill and changing job responsibilities, which is seen as a promotion simply because you aren’t doing support.

I’m proud to work somewhere that prides itself on seeing professional support as a career, helping people build that career by supporting them and helping them develop, and giving those people good compensation, good opportunities, and good resources with which they can make the services we provide amazing experiences for the customers who pay for them. We make all employees who don’t work in support do a rotation in support every year, and every new hire regardless of position does front-line support for the first three weeks.

User support and respect for the people who work it is foundational to the culture here, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. No matter your industry, I encourage you to consider making it just as important to your company as well.

And yes; we are hiring.

Replying to App Store Reviews

Matt Gemmell:

As developers with a functional centralised software distribution mechanism, we love to complain about capricious reviews by customers. It’s so unfair, we essentially say. And it no doubt is, but at some point, at least one party has to stop being a teenager – and it won’t be our customers.

Crappy reviews aren’t surprising, even if your software is the best thing ever. I always get a mild feeling of unreality when I (regularly) hear a CrapStore-review complaining session, because people haven’t changed.

His analysis of why people write super-critical things for no apparent reason applies not just to iOS reviews, but also to pretty much every software-related customer service situation ever.

Sometimes the best decision is not to give the people who are saying crazy things about you an audience.

Internet translation: don’t feed the trolls.

Empowering Support for Customer Satisfaction

Earlier this evening, I had the first really frustrating contact with Xbox Support that I can remember in the something like seven years that I have been paying for and using their service. While on the phone with the “supervisor” who told me more than once that I could not take my complaint any higher within the chain, I realized that the problem is one of their apparent processes and the fact that they do not appear to have properly empowered their phone support staff to solve customer issues.

Allow me to explain what happened.

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Happiness Metrics?

(I titled the post that way just to get my coworkers’ attention. It probably worked.)

My son wrote a “book” for me this morning with a story of his own creation. In the back of the book was an opinion poll:

Please indicate your likeings of this post using the button below (sorry, only one option).

It should be easy to address a problem, …

It should be easy to address a problem, and we should be proactive and have a manager touch each table. People look at that like it’s amazing customer service. No, it’s not. It’s the fricking baseline of customer service. That’s the minimum you can do.

Wayne Prichard, @stlchipotle

Are You a True Believer?

Mark Hurst, on Good Experience:

New technology + same old thinking = same old outcome with a buggy interface.

What we need is new thinking. We need some true believers to stand up and say: we’re going to serve the patient, serve the traveler, serve the student, serve the customer, rather than follow the script of the past. No longer will we make them pay, or wait, or suffer only because we can get away with it. Now we will work in their interest, because it’s the right thing to do for them, and it’s the right thing for us in the long run.

Read the whole thing.

So If She Weighs as Much as a Duck…

I spent a good portion of today and this evening mulling over the methods for application deployment and trying to figure out a few things; I think it only relevant and interesting that I share whatever insights I have gleaned from very likely thinking too hard.

For some time, I have resisted the very in vogue notion that the future of computing is “in the cloud,” as it were, though no one is quite sure where the cloud is and I’m pretty certain that no one person owns that cloud. Listen to tech podcasts or read tech news for a short amount of time, and you’ll see that many in the technology punditry business are saying that before long, many computers will be nothing more than dummy terminals. You won’t have Microsoft Office, you won’t have complicated desktop applications, and you certainly won’t have the complex operating systems you have now or store your files locally – everything will be handled through Internet-based communication. Your documents and your files will be stored “in the cloud,” and my impression is that everyone wants a piece of this cloud before it floats away.

It wasn’t until today that I really understood the appeal of this methodology.

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