The support I see – Introduction

Brighton in the sun
What I could see as I wrote this post, Brighton Pier.

I know, I know – grand title.

I once went to a leadership conference in a church in Bradford called Abundant life, a huge church which even had a Starbucks in it. I was very impressed with this and quickly got in the queue to get my caffeinated sugar hit. This was during simpler times when I wasn’t as aware of my caffeine or sugar intake. That all changed later on.

As I walked into the lobby towards the main auditorium there was a big sign saying ‘The church I see…’ and then a list of lots and lots of values. I was slightly overwhelmed by how many there were. They had quite the vision! It was in a public place, anyone going into the church would be met with a list of values detailing how they wanted to act as a community.

Over the past few months, I have been thinking more and more about vision and values for both my work and my personal life. In my career, I am developing the vision for the team I lead. I want a vision that people can remember and get behind, one that we can condense even further into a mission statement. In my personal life, it is more about trying to be the best dad and husband that I can be. Summed up, I am trying to be more intentional and this starts with redefining what my goals, dreams and focusses are.

Here are a few wonderful examples of company values.

Rackspace – First on the list, ‘We are Customer Service fanatics’. This makes me happier than I can say. I will cover this more in later posts in this series but I think customer happiness is everyone’s responsibility and should be at the core of all company values.

Zappos – Delivering happiness was a wonderful book and one I revisit often. Offering wonderful customer support is once again a foundation of the company values ‘Deliver WOW through service’. I knew about Zappos’ incredible service before I had any idea of what they did as a company.

Facebook – ‘Move Fast, Be bold, Be yourself’.

AutoMattic – You should read this creed all the way through. There are so many highlights, a personal favourite parts are “I will never stop learning.” and “Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable”.

Looking at all of these, and many other wonderful examples, they offer a framework through which teams can view their work. An engineer will face different challenges to a support representative, who will not have the same challenges as a sales team member. What you can offer is a framework so that when a challenge or decision arises there is a company line on how to approach it.

The Rackspace support engineer who has a distraught customer who needs some ‘above and beyond service’ at the detriment of other tasks understands that they can because the company are ‘Customer service fanatics’.

I realise I’m simplifying/romanticising in the example above. It is a huge challenge to take values or a mission statement from an intellectual exercise to a living, breathing culture. That is the true challenge of company visions or mission statements, you could have the slickest mission statement and values but how do you then empower people to work with it in mind every day, even if it means a drop in what they deem as productivity?

This is my introduction to the next few posts. The support I see is…

The support I see – My philosophy

Today I am launching a series called “The support I see”.

Over the past few months, I have been reading a lot of different support mission statements. I’ve taken some inspiration from them whilst using them to clarify my feelings about what makes for great support and starting to put those feelings into words.

You may get from these posts, I love support. I mean I really love it.

Here is my support philosophy listed in five easy points (links now added so you can go directly to the post should you so wish to do):

1) Be passionate about our customers succeeding

2) Be kind – you have the ability to make someone’s day much better

3) Learn and share

4) Consider your audience

5) Be yourself at work, on your commute and at home.

That’s it in a nutshell.

I will talk about each in more detail over the coming days. There are more things I could have on my list of things that make great support, but the five things listed above are what I believe to be the foundations. If we have these things at the core of our work we will have happy customers who achieve great things. I think that’s a wonderful thing for us to aim at.