So, you've decided to become a customer support agent. But do you have what it takes to be effective, successful and still enjoy your job? It mostly depends on your personal qualities and professional skills. But how do you know, if tech support suits you? Here are some signs that you are not ready to take on a customer support job:
Does this sound familiar: whenever you call your Internet provider support, you think you know better, they are just some idiots reading flip charts in the call-center? If you don’t have respect for other tech support people, chances are this job is not for you. You don't value this job.
I've seen this a thousand times. Too many people doesn't take customer support seriously. They treat this like a temp job, a starting point before becoming “real” programmers, system administrators, network-engineers or whatever. Within my recollection none of them has succeeded. All of them are stuck in customer support for years, hating it. Mostly because customer support is often exhausting and takes all your time. So, if this is just a temp job for you, maybe you’re better off choosing a different career path.
This is again a very common case. “I’m good with computers, I’d be awesome at tech support”. No, you won’t. You won’t be solving interesting technical problems. You won’t even be spending most your work day fixing computers or apps. You will be explaining things to people. Same things. Over and over again. Almost all of your time. If you don’t have the patience to do that, tech support is not for you.
You still need to have an understanding of contemporary technologies you are dealing with. This is required to be a valuable employee and enjoy your job. You need to be passionate and spend some of your free time keeping up with the tech market.
There is only one way to provide great customer support – you have to be an expert in the product you're supporting. You need to make an effort to understand the product\business\service and its users to stay on top of your game. If you don’t care about it (or even hate it), there is no way you can succeed at this job.
Tech support is hard. I mean it. You have to be fast, accurate and patient for hours, often without breaks. If you’re unable to work under pressure, it’s going to be incredibly hard for you. You have to be able to think clearly and logically while the world around you is collapsing.
This situation has been changing lately, but still in most companies customer support employees are second-class citizens. You will be saving the world on the daily basis, but no one will probably notice. This is the reality of tech support. If you need to feel appreciated at doing your job, think twice about choosing customer support.
I’m just going to say it. Users are sometimes pretty dumb. It is not their fault. Probably your product is too complicated. But it is extremely exhausting to explain something over and over. I could name a hundred ways users will annoy you daily, but just know this: sometimes it is extremely hard to stay calm.
Despite what I said in #3, you need to love to solve problems. If you have no natural inclination toward methodical problem solving, it’s going to be hard for you to keep up. Don’t worry about it too much though, you will get better after some time.
You need to be able to communicate well with other people. This is exactly what your job is – talking to people. You have to be good at that. If you prefer to stare at your monitor for hours without talking to anyone, become a developer.
Alex has founded Jitbit in 2005 and is a software engineer passionate about customer support.