The commercial landscape has changed drastically during the last 20 years, leaving large corporations and entrepreneurs alike running to catch up. Now more than ever before, the world looks to game-changers, thought-leaders and innovative brands to guide the way towards holistic business practices that transcend the barriers of equality, fairness and sustainability. In an evolving tech world, Boldr takes every opportunity to humanize our relationships with peers, clients, team members, and communities, which is why we saw the value in attending The Support Driven Leadership Summit 2022 in Portland.
The conference ran from the 6th to the 7th of June and brought leaders from various organizations to engage in panel discussions, seminars, workshops, group activities, and, most notably, human connection. There was a sense of connectedness that dictated proceedings from the start. Even before the official start of the event, several attendees joined a hike around Washington Park, where they got a chance to engage with fellow industry professionals.
With over 180 attendees present from varying sides of the support spectrum, eager to share and discuss trends, learnings, and key findings, it is difficult to compile all the highlights from the conference into a couple of paragraphs. Here are the four biggest takeaways from the event, and how we shared our experience and future hopes with fellow leaders.
Takeaway #1: Customer-Centric Models Are Not Defunct
Monday morning the doors of Portland’s Revolution Hall opened to the Boldr team and fellow sponsors. Proceedings were kicked off by Mo McKibbin, Head of Customer Support and Success at Moxion, a feature-rich dailies platform recently acquired by Autodesk.
Her presentation on the 7 steps to building a true customer-centric service model, was one of the highlights that resonated with our core values. She challenged organizations to base customer loyalty on how easy they can make it for their customers to do business with them. She further hinted that annoying customers are the purest source of product or service-related feedback. While their review serves to improve their own experience, it can be used to improve the experience of all customers.
Takeaway #2: Advocate For Your Team
Armon Nasrollahi, Director of Client Support at Interfolio, and one of our founding clients, talked about how failing (and growing a mustache) made him a better leader. Over a span of 6 years, Nasrollahi went from managing 50 cases a day as a Scholar Advocate to managing 2,000 cases a day at Interfolio.
He pointed out how important it was for leaders to get in the trenches with their teams, that we must continuously advocate for our teams, and for ourselves, too. To lead a team, you first have to join it. The reality is that things often go awry, but the leadership challenge is to overcome these difficult times, to reflect on past experiences and to apply the learnings as a member of that team.
This view is an affirmation of the principles currently being practiced at Boldr. We exist to empower personal and professional development across a diverse workforce, spread across the globe. We saw, firsthand, how supporting our team members resulted in improved customer support.
Takeaway #3: Inclusive Hiring Creates Opportunities
Where McKibbin hit the right notes when she spoke of the need to define customer segments and to define operational paths by creating cohesive customer lifecycles, Boldr offered the complimentary view of redefining entry-level support groups by means of inclusive hiring.
David Sudolsky, Boldr CEO and Founder, took to the stage, along with Ray Torres, Senior Business Development Manager, and Inna Magpantay, Chief of Staff, led a group activity to illustrate the importance of creating opportunities in communities through inclusive hiring initiatives. Our focus and goal in attending the event and facilitating this activity was to co-create the definition of entry-level must-haves versus industry nice-to-haves.
Our key discussion point was: How can we make entry-level roles in CX more accessible and inclusive? This activity helped us gather actionable insights on the training needed to expand the horizons of entry-level requirements. This is further evidenced by the impact sourcing efforts and living wage strategies we are implementing in our office locations.
Takeaway #4: Open Your Mind & Remove Qualifications
Randy Pospisil, Support, Training and QA Manager at Leepfrog Technologies, facilitated discussions about a topic very close to our hearts: No direct experience is required. His talk was aimed at how different industries or experiences help develop skills that can cross over to other industries and positions, including technical support.
Randy, a former elementary school teacher, banker, and pastor, gave us a run-down on how anyone can learn useful skills that can be applied to technical roles – even if you have no technical background or certifications. The key to finding these technical support team members is in opening up your job positions to invite all to apply, regardless of qualifications.
Randy stressed the importance of finding people with similar skills but in different jobs. The job openings must clearly explain the required skills while not discouraging applicants or limiting engagement in any way. It must be open to people from any background, thereby removing the bias of strict qualifications. The best way to determine if someone has the skills you need is to ascertain how they applied that cross functional skill in their previous job.
Thank You, Portland
Sprinkled throughout the event there were Marketing tracks organized and led by Scott Tran, Support Driven’s Founder, ranging from referral strategies, understanding your ICP (ideal customer profile), community management, and storybrand building – all aimed towards helping marketing professionals gain actionable insights into improving their strategies and approaches.
Portland, a city known for its bridges, greenery, scenic parks, hiking trails and mountaintops, was the setting for June’s Support Driven Leadership Summit 2022. But it was also the setting for this wonderful opportunity to grow and connect with leaders who share our passion for the CX and CS industry.
Our main takeaway is that we are more aligned with our peers than ever before. We are also firm in the belief that it is up to us to provide world-class support.