I like to think of support as a bicycle. On a bicycle, the back wheel provides the thrust forward and the front wheel provides direction. In support, our technical skills propel us and our customer skills guide us.
I bet you have forums and a structure to provide coaching on technical skills (the back wheel). How about the front wheel? Customer-skills coaching is a confidence booster (and a CSAT/NPS booster, if you want to think in outcomes!)
Who shows up?
Anyone who wants or needs front-wheel help–which is just about everyone. Front-wheel clinics can get pretty personal so smaller groups do better. Aim for no more than 10-12 participants.
Who runs the clinic?
Managers or senior support engineers who are skilled at working with customers. You want someone who is skilled at getting participants to open up, can run impromptu role plays, and can give encouraging feedback.
What topics do we cover?
Anything that the participants are struggling with, or are curious about. Typically it will be about a particular issue they are working on (again, not the back wheel, only the front wheel) or a recurring difficulty they have. For instance:
- I have a tough conversation coming up and I don’t know how to tackle it.
- I want to get rid of an annoying “verbal tic”.
- How do I deal with a demeaning customer?
How often do we do this?
A regular schedule seems to work better, but the cadence is up to you. Maybe every week for newcomers, every month for more established team members.
How long do we need?
Count on about an hour, enough to get into several issues.
What if we want professional help?