Thoughts on tech support
In tech, providing some kind of support is essential. However, I’ve found that a lot of people don’t want to do it.
Maybe I’m weird – but I quite like tech support.
Support is a great way to learn, and can be quite varied and interesting. Sometimes it’s given to new or junior team members – but I’d argue it’s important for everyone to do it now and again. Tech rarely stands still, both within a business and in the wider industry. Support gives you a snapshot of the types of things that people are dealing with day to day.
I find support to be quite social. I get to interact with far more people when doing support than if I’m buried in a project. Don’t get me wrong, I like the projects too – but I like having the opportunity to do a bit of support too.
We use Slack for our support, and I’d say it helps with keeping things friendly. Thinking about it, almost every company I contact for support does it all via email. Credit to the fine folks at Kolide for opening up a shared Slack channel with us and giving us a great way to communicate with them, so we can reach them on Slack and not worry about email.
I also find it immensely satisfying and rewarding to be able to answer questions and solve issues for people. The “big ticket” items such as rolling out Okta are huge, but sorting out smaller things is also important.
One downside is if you’re trying to focus on something and you keep getting interrupted with support requests. Teams can solve this though. I’m in a team of four and we each do one week of support every 4 weeks. It works well and keeps things fair.
Sometimes the same things come up repeatedly, and you find yourself answering the same things over and over. This is a good opportunity to write a few guides. It’s much easier to share a link than keep writing the same answer. And when the same things keep coming up, this can help you identify issues with tooling, or process improvements you could make.
I think there’s a lot of good reasons to do support now and again.