Following on my previous post on support, Jamie Hudson is Sunbelt Software’s Director of Technical Support. Larry Jaffe here had the opportunity to sit down with her last week and discover what it is like to run such a vast in-house operation.
What is your objective?
As Director of Technical Support, my objective is to provide the highest quality of service possible to our customers. Our customers are very important to us and quite simply without them we would not be a successful.
One of my goals is to make our support department more visible to our customers. Recently I opened up a board on Getsatisfaction.com to make our company more visible. Customers can log onto that site and report issues on the products or talk about the products. Our support actively monitors this form. Another way we reach out to our customer base is by sending a customer service survey after each ticket has been closed. Each response is personally looked at by me. If a customer is unhappy, I respond to them or if they have feedback, I take that and decide how feasible it would be for our support department. We are very open to customer feedback and are working towards making ourselves more accessible to our customers.
Sunbelt caters to both home and enterprise users, does this require different parameters for each, or is your overall purpose the same.
There are four different departments within support. The first team that all of our customers will encounter is our coordinator team. The coordinators answer all of the incoming calls, create tickets, and then pass the calls onto an available technician. They also make tickets for every single email that we receive in our support inbox. Our other teams are as follows: one supports our home and home office users and one supports our enterprise users. We also have a team that provides specialized install services and onsite installs for our email archiving product. The departments are quite different in their needs but the overall purpose of giving the highest quality of service is universal across all teams.
What do you look for in support personnel, i.e. what makes a good support person?
I mentioned this previously, but we have four departments that fall under the umbrella of our support. Each requires a different skill set but in general, I look for individuals with previous technical experience. Of course, this technical experience differs depending on the department they are interviewing for. I also look for people who are very eager to learn. I find this to be a key ingredient to a successful support technician for Sunbelt.
Sunbelt is one of the few companies that is still doing Tech Support in house and in the U.S. Can you tell me why you chose this route?
Having U.S. based support sets Sunbelt apart from most of our competitors and allows us to provide the highest quality service that we can. Our products are developed internally in the same building that our support resides and this allows us to report issues and get them fixed for our customers in a much more timely fashion. I also believe the quality of service with offshore support is nowhere near the level of support that we already provide. The number one compliment our support receives is how we are in the U.S. and because of this; we can cater to our customers needs more efficiently. For me the old saying of “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” applies here.
Isn’t it more expensive?
I have researched both offshore support and keeping support in our current location. It is a little more expensive to keep it in the U.S but not as expensive as you would think.
What are the benefits to both the user and to Sunbelt?
There are so many benefits to having our support in the U.S. but I will only list the most important benefits below:
- Communicating with our support department is easier for our U.S. based customers
- Our support department is in the same building as our development team. This means we can get bugs communicated quicker to development and in turn resolved quicker
- Management of a centralized support department is much easier hence the department will run smoother
- Sunbelt is able to more easily meet our customer’s needs and desires
Well, of course, I completely agree with Jamie.