5 demons in the heart of a support worker

“You may not be an engineer, but you must be a psychotherapist”

It is such a simple but indisputable truth that I can summarize my relatively small experience in telephone technical support. I will make a reservation right away: I work at Veeam Software. These are exactly those guys who don't have “girls-check-bulbs” at all, and the first line can solve 90% of any problems. With some assumption, of course. The remaining 10% of the tasks are solved by the second and, rarely, the third line of support, whose operating principle is radically different from ours. However, this was a kind of revelation for me, the difference is not so much in the level of knowledge and experience - although this cannot be taken away - but in the intangible quality of the handicap. The main difference is that T2 and T3 come when diplomacy is already powerless, and the first-line specialist does not work with problems, but with people. His main enemy is his own prejudices.

Consider a typical situation: you call technical support and wait a long time for the “layer” to answer, which will have to be convinced that you have a problem (it’s obvious!), That they’ve done something wrong (it doesn’t work !). Service, the service does not admit guilt, which means it will have to butt, persuade, threaten ... The result is discontent.

It is this kind of interlocutor that each employee of the caliper subconsciously expects - conflicted, irritated, pre-configured against you - and lives in a world of constant stress. Still, if you expect 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, that suddenly a tub of negativity will be poured on you, stress ceases to be the kitsch of not-so-young ladies and turns into a chronic disease, from which trembling hands and do not sleep at night. Add to this the absence of any impressions, the monotonous work that requires increased attention, the constant feeling of running out of time ...

But we will not spare our hypothetical employee - he is a fool to himself.

The irony is that all this happens only in his head and he is convinced in advance that he will have to confront the client - which he does, instead of fulfilling his promises - namely, to support and help.

I have identified 5 myths - self-deception, which do not give an adequate response to the actions and words of "patients":

1. He will be a fool. He is incompetent or more competent than me.

The most easily refuted myth. In the first case, your help will only be more valuable and there is reason for pride. Of course, it can be difficult to understand in time the errors of your interlocutor, which is fraught with consequences. The worst thing that can happen is that a misunderstanding is created that can cause conflict. Avoiding this is simple - suggest once again discussing a contentious issue. People often try to seem smarter and “not lose face” - that’s where they hide their ignorance behind a pile of meaningless phrases. If a person is an expert in his field and is not afraid to ask questions, he is worthy only of respect. Remember: the one who turned to you for help trusts you. And, by the way, often this trust is also expressed by material and labor resources. If you find yourself in a position taking the pitch - do it with dignity. Even you cannot know everything.

In short: competence does not play a major role. The main thing is the trust that you as a member of the support team get in advance. It must be justified and respected - this process is lengthy, but it is impossible to know everything “now”. “The eradication of illiteracy" takes 1 action, but it will take many iterations to convince a person to admit their shortcomings.

2. He calls me only because he himself does not want to decide or do anything

If we are on cleanliness, we are all bad at bringing our thoughts to biological subjects. Such is the specifics of working in IT, and the meager presentation of this article only confirms this. To ask for help is always stressful, and to do it on time “not only can everyone, few people can do it”. Let's look at the situation from the outside - they ask you for advice on what to do. Can you give it Wow. Can't make a decision for the client? Explain possible options and indicate ways to solve a specific situation.

Now we will analyze a special case: “Can you connect to me?” or "he wants everyone to do for him." How many excuses we can come up with for what we do not want to do! Even this interpretation already contains a mistake, it is an ethical loophole. And the second part, in which we seem to understand his desires, is entirely
far-fetched. Most likely, the interlocutor is not afraid of responsibility, he just wants to do it together, offering to work in pairs - so the likelihood of a positive completion doubles.
Everyone must find an honest excuse for their unwillingness to work together. As a rule, the reason is good: the real detail of the instructions provided, the catastrophic lack of time, etc. But never reject invitations impulsively, for example, exclaiming: “I will not work for him!”.

In short: to support is to work together. The client has already taken his first step in a joint search for a solution - he turned to YOU. It's up to you.

3. He does not follow all my instructions because he is lazy

Still easier. He does not understand them or does not understand the significance of the prescribed actions. I know for myself - when the doctor ordered me to take vitamins, I quickly forgot how important it is. I had very little motivation - after all, according to him, it was necessary for “well, you’ll be healthier, it won’t hurt, probably ...”
How did I understand this phrase? “You don’t need to do anything, you can forget” - which I did the next day. Someone can object to me - it is obvious that this is necessary for health, if the doctor told me so. I completely agree, but not motivated to act. With my mind, I accept this, but my subconscious, which is responsible for motivation, does not see the connection between vitamins and well-being. Here the dentist was intelligible: “Next time we put the implant” and now I am very, very neat.

In short: customers will follow your instructions only if they clearly understand their reasons and goals. Share your thoughts and then your advice will be valuable and accepted.

4. Your client is not interested in your personality - only the result

This is not true even if you work at McDonald's. Remember how many times you looked out of boredom at the cashier standing in line. Each one is unique: someone clumsily covered a tattoo on his arm, and this causes a smile, someone himself leans on high-calorie sandwiches. And enough minutes to notice this, even if everything was done in the same fast-food restaurant to hide any individual trait of the staff. In a support one case can last several weeks, and one conversation can last many hours. You are unique and interesting to your interlocutor. And you can’t hide anywhere - playing a robot is useless. It's not even about the notorious "small talk", allowing you to penetrate the temporal proximity. Just be alive and real all the time. It may seem that working in this way will be an extra blow to emotions and the nervous system, but this is not so - you can already, without noticing it,

In short: cynicism is permissible only to doctors who have passed residency. You are a man talking to a man. It’s only that you have hundreds of interlocutors, while the client is not prepared for cold hands tactics, although he damn quickly (and irreversibly) takes over the rules of the game.

5. I am only a screw in a corporate machine. My opinion does not mean anything to the client. He paid the boss, so he will be right or consider himself as such

Yes, you and I are just the gears of a mechanism that does a great job (well, or tries to do it). You know that, I know that. Does it crush? Not at all.

It is worth visiting from afar - the concept of corporate culture, which works perfectly in the West, is completely perverted in the CIS countries in the 2000s and is perceived as oppressing individuals. If you look around, the picture is much wider - even across the country there is its own original "corporate" ethics, etiquette and rules. Some of them are even recorded - in the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, the Labor Code of the Russian Federation, AK of the Russian Federation, the corporate style is illustrated - in Khokhloma and Repin's paintings. What should this corporate culture, expressed in job descriptions and oral rules, give a person? Confidence that nothing unexpected will happen, and the rules of the game will not change overnight. You do it right = you are protected. In relation to the support, it sounds like this: while you try to help another person, and he feels it, everything will be under control. Enough

Here we come close to the second point - personal opinion. It is always worth remembering one rule - you are a person, your personal opinion has a weight equal to your authority. As we have seen above, even before you pick up the phone, you already matter to a client who knows that you are just that notorious gear and you have a lot of rules and bosses. But if you are asked your opinion and / or you have reason to express it - go ahead. “I personally consider such a configuration to be incorrect” or “In my opinion, it is better to go the other way” - excellent phrases when they are appropriate and useful, reasoned and polite. Just remember that as a member of a corporation (read: associations), your voice can often speak for everyone - these moments must be shared so that there is no misunderstanding.

And very briefly about the myth "the client is always right." These times are long gone. Now another axiom is relevant: “the client is always well done!”. But the value of each participant in the business process for your corporation can be talked about for hours. More importantly, you are an equal participant in this system.

Summing up this rather lengthy article, I want to once again return to its epigraph. In my timid opinion, for a successful one — and I also embody the feeling of personal comfort in this concept — working in a support on the first line needs to be “a little psychotherapist”. First of all, for himself, so as not to follow the slippery path of cultivating personal demons of self-deception, which will help to artificially distance oneself from people - to put on masks of cynicism and hypocrisy. Be honest with yourself, correctly understand the motivation of your interlocutors, and most importantly - do not go in cycles at work according to one scheme. After all, the charm of our work in endless experiments!

The author never claimed to be the customer care guru, periodically undergoes past failures and is not alien to self-irony. The purpose of the presentation is discussion, it can be a guide only for those who have forgotten simple truths.

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