Ready to transform your career, customer support leaders?

We’ve talked a lot about the positive changes AI is going to bring to customer experience and how support agents work, but what will it mean for support leaders?

Until now, you’ve probably spent your days:

  • Constantly putting out fires, moving from one problem to the next.
  • Getting easily sucked into manual tasks, trying to figure out why the backlog is growing, who’s stuck and needs help, where you can reassign tickets and how many times customers have asked the same question.
  • Reacting to your boss and other teams – “Can you give me a report ASAP?” “What feedback are we getting from customers about the new feature?” “Hey, can you tell customers X instead of Y?”
  • Feeling exhausted. With limited scope and so much on the go, you’re always in the weeds.

This isn’t unique to customer support. Managers across the board are stretched thin, and when that happens, the quality of work suffers, teams get less attention, and, worst of all, it becomes impossible to focus on yourself and your own career growth.

The good news is that all of this is changing quickly. Introducing AI into your workflow will help you break free from the confines of the “old way” and be more impactful in your career. Here’s how.

Play a more strategic role

Opening the inbox and seeing a thousand tickets used to be the beginning of the end. Now, it’s something you barely have to think about with AI software taking over the majority of responses. Getting time back means support leaders can zoom out, review how the team is performing and what the customer experience looks like, and implement strategic decisions to drive improvement.

Wondering how to even start with this big-picture thinking after so much time spent down rabbit holes? Take a breath, focus on the end result you want to create and ask yourself questions like these:

  • How do we want to approach first response time?
  • What’s the most effective way to collaborate on tickets with Sales and Product teams?
  • What’s the right ticket close strategy?

Be a better boss

Freeing up your schedule also allows more time for providing in-depth feedback and coaching. AI is fundamentally changing what careers in customer support look like, which means that training is moving away from mechanical how-tos and instead focusing on the “human” skills necessary for more complex problem solving. Your management style will evolve, and in the process, you’ll get to know more about your team and enjoy “helping people” again – the whole reason you got into this field, right?

Switching your focus from the doing to the doers will take some practice. Here are some questions to help get you started:

  • How are individuals performing?
  • What personal goals do they have, and how are they connected to the day-to-day?
  • Are you giving kudos and recognizing your superstars?
  • Are you holding a high bar for company values and alignment?

Demonstrate your value across the business

Working in customer support, you have the unique opportunity to interact with both sides of the coin. Being the one that interfaces between customers and your internal teams means you have the chance to drive meaningful change – for both the people you serve and your business. It’s an interesting spot to be in, but that interest is often lost when manual processes make it difficult to surface those insights and have those conversations.

If you hadn’t guessed yet, AI is changing this too. Your newly cleared calendar will give you the freedom to have richer interactions with other teams and collaborate on delivering a truly exceptional experience for your customers at every touchpoint they have with you.

We recently stumbled upon an old meeting agenda from 2019, and noted how drastically our CS managers’ roles at Intercom have changed since we started working with AI.

Customer Support team meeting agenda from 2019

Now, instead of operating as silos, our leaders are getting involved all over the business by:

  • Contributing and leading CS Org initiatives, instead of just handling queue management.
  • Working with Product teams on product adoption and solving customer pain points.
  • Collaborating with Marketing on new product rollouts and go-to-market strategies.
  • Regularly meeting with Sales to share customer learnings and other expertise.

This diversification is possible because our leaders have more time and mental bandwidth to explore how they can contribute to our business. It’s an exciting time having so many smart people focused on driving us forward.

With AI opening up new doors, how are you rethinking your role and where you spend your time?

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