Recognize Small Victories

One of the hardest parts of the work we do in customer success is, big surprise, dealing with customers. At times this is amazing and very rewarding. At other times it can be the worst.

Many support agents and customer success managers end up spending a lot of time with unhappy customers. The day after day grind of work can leave you feeling like all of your customers hate you and your product is trash. Intellectually you know that’s not true, but emotionally it can feel that way.

How do you avoid falling into this trap? One way is to consciously and consistently celebrate little victories. Here are some examples of how we do that at SpiderOak.

The User Olympics. (We should probably change this to Customer Olympics, haha.) When someone on the team finds a customer with something unique or outrageous about their account we add it to our User Olympics page. Have a computer with the system time 50 years out of date? Added 72 devices to your account? Contacted support 24 times this week? Congratulations! You’re on the way to a position of fame in the User Olympics!

Everyone enjoys the break and the humor of a user olympics announcement. Work stops while we ooh and ah at the absurdity of it, and we bond a bit during the break. Find something similar that works in your company.

Acknowledge Great Work. I run the social media accounts for SpiderOak, so I see the compliments and kudos that customers give. Screenshots go into our #staff channel so everyone at the company gets to see happy customers praising the team.

I also love making announcements to the company for big milestones like getting a big renewal signed, getting the support queues down to zero, or finishing a big project.

Shining a spotlight on small victories is even more important if your company works remotely. Little announcements and compliments about your team may be the only frame of reference other employees have about them. Make the time to shine a positive light on them and you’ll see great things happen as a result.

The Power of Crowds vs the Power of Groups

We tend to think of crowds of people in different ways. Crowdsourcing can be good, but the wisdom of crowds generally isn’t. The things that “everybody thinks” can be very wrong.

Groups of individuals, on the other hand, can have a powerful influence.

We read reviews because sometimes we can find someone like us who can tell us their experience with a product or a store. Professional critics can lead us to try food, listen to music, and read books that we might never otherwise have given a second look.

It’s important that you and I share our thoughts and experiences with others. In a world that seems to be increasingly overrun with bots and algorithms the opinions of real people matter more than ever. You probably won’t be the only voice in a given space, but that doesn’t mean your voice won’t be heard by other individuals.

Hat tip to James Hatch and Rohan Rajiv for the inspiration.

Recognizing Bias through Self Reflection

“Your personal experiences make up maybe 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world but maybe 80% of how you think the world works… We’re all biased to our own personal history.” - Morgan Housel

A huge challenge working in teams is overcoming bias. No matter who we are or what our background we have some bias. It’s hard to make good decisions when bias gets in the way.

How can we recognize our own bias? How can we make good decisions despite it? Look out for times when you think of someone as “the other.” When a thought like this crosses my mind I try to immediately reframe the situation. Would that statement seem reasonable coming out of my mouth? What about someone I deeply respect? Would I have the same reaction in that case?

Examining our feelings can help us to understand where our comfort zone ends. That’s where our work begins. Self reflection is the first step to creating a more inclusive and vibrant team.