9: Future of Support with Kristina King

9: Future of Support with Kristina King

Kristina King gives newcomers in her team a great deal of trust and freedom to try out new things that might improve the customer experience.


I’d love your thoughts on our first episode! Comment below, and like/love/share/support if you found this inspiring, thought-provoking, or useful!

Charlotte Ward 0:14
Hello, and welcome to the Customer Support Leaders podcast episode nine. I’m Charlotte Ward. The theme for this week is the future of support. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic.

I’d like to welcome to the customer support leaders podcast this week, my good friend, Kristina King. Kristina, would you like to introduce yourself?

Kristina King 0:41
Yes, thanks, Charlotte. I’m Kristina King, the Manager of Customer Care at Jama software in Portland, Oregon. And my duties include managing the technical support team, developer support community, and then our business support internship program.

Charlotte Ward 0:58
Wow, that’s quite a range of responsibilities, a lot to juggle.

Kristina King 1:02
Yeah. We like challenges here.

Charlotte Ward 1:04
Yeah. So Kristina, the topic for this week is the future of support. And particularly with it being so early in 2020. I’d love to know what your plans are, in terms of new automation or tools that you have coming through the pipeline, and beyond 2020. Even How do you see support as a discipline developing?

Kristina King 1:25
wonderful question, the biggest thing that we’re rolling out as a team, and this is something that other teams have probably been doing for years, but it’s chat, so we hadn’t been using chat. We just recently piloted it. And the big selling point was, if it’s a sev 3, so it’s a question, “hey, how do I do this? Or is this normal”, somebody can get an answer and the usual interaction time is about 11 minutes. Whereas if it’s a sev 3 ticket, and might take a total of, you know, 48 hours to close, the product that we support is very technically complex DUI itself is capable of massive configuration. But if customers are self-hosted, they have Docker containers to worry about replicated to worry about database, database connection to worry about, there’s a lot that goes into it. So for us chat wasn’t an obvious, we need that as it is, we don’t even get that many phone calls. So most of our support is done by email. We had some new people joining the team. And this is kind of the brilliance of having that like, fresh blood every six months. I mean, it’s good to have a stable team but having this one position like rotate, you know, these people come in with, like, different views on things. And so Godiva for instance, she came on as an intern and she was, why don’t we do chat. I’m like, well, we thought about it, but our customer base is, they’re doing requirements management with our tool. They’re not like the chatty type. I need a project. Let’s and I’m like Okay, you know what, what we can do a project? Why don’t you put together a trial put together a slide deck will show, know our boss and see what he says. And that’s something that’s hard as a leader, you know, to let go, but that’s cool. I want to do that, okay, you’ve been kicking ass the first two weeks, you’re here, I know that you’re going to put a lot into this. So go for it

Charlotte Ward 3:21
Yeah, I mean, as an aside, that is pretty amazing to be confident enough in your new person to give them that level of freedom because that kind of project is traditionally something you’d give to someone fairly senior, like, it’d be a, you know, a backline engineer or a team lead or or or higher, you know, it would be a bigger project. That’s kind of confident and scrappy as well.

Kristina King 3:46
Right. A little bit. Yeah. Yeah. That’s, you know, the, the startup mentality. You know, when we started here, when we were 75 people now we’re like, 200. So, still, I got this opportunity. When I was first working here, so I’d like to try to share them a little bit, we’ll see how it goes, our trial went well, just in terms of like, wow, we can close some of these smaller issue tickets with much faster turnaround time. So hopefully our CSAT I mean our CSAT’s already good, it’s usually about 95%. But like, we can get better, better comments from customers will overall be happier. You know, since support plays such a big role in renewals, and preventing churn and expansion opportunities and things like that, in terms of the future of support, considering it to be more of a customer experience. So for instance, we launched our online community about five years ago, and that’s been a good success and like, hey, how do we virtually get people to work together and our company has a past couple of years done like we’ve actually had some conventions in our European office and then this year, we’re going to start like smaller user groups and again, some companies have been doing this forever. But for us, this is a green world, especially considering our space. Like, it’s not very sexy, we are requirements management software does a lot more than that. But that’s the base of it. So it’s like a bunch of system engineers, they’re not it’s not the same as, like, supporting an open-source product where people are, they have a hand in developing the thing, like, our customers don’t have a hand in developing it. I mean, we talk to them, and we have them influence our roadmap. But ultimately, we’re not driving our roadmap based on what they want. It’s what we see more customers in the future with customers meeting. So yeah, so for us, it’s the customer experience, like how can we better integrate the community and all these things so people, our customers can stay connected? How can we, you know, bring in chat so that they’ll get faster turnaround times. And then it’s just also the people that we hire to a lot of our support. Our business support specialists come from the service industry, so they the servers, baristas and things like that. And our most recent hired Deco she comes from the hospitality industry. So she’s been working in hotel management for a really long time. And so it’s like, well, who better to, you know, help with the team like work hands-on with customers and have ideas for like the escalating situations and somebody who’s probably had one with a harder customer-facing jobs. So for me, it’s part of its technology, but then part of it is the people you hire like, tech skills are good, but it seems like the industry is erring towards customer experience really setting you apart, not your technology.

Charlotte Ward 6:40
That’s it for today. customersupportleaders.com/9 for the show notes. I’ll see you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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