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SSCS Support: A Personal Connection

It’s not enough for a customer to know your company is committed to support; they need to feel it.

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It’s challenging to put into words what makes our support department so effective, even though our technicians have been one of SSCS’s greatest competitive advantages for over three decades. That’s because words are just words. Phrases like “they go the extra mile,” even if factual, are clichéd. Who wouldn’t say that about their support department?

Support means teamwork.

Support means teamwork.

Still, it’s important to get across what makes our support department so special, because of the prominent role they play in our success. So here’s another attempt.

Perhaps it’s best to start at the beginning: our first day at SSCS, just over 10 years ago. The day we walked into headquarters for the first time, green, knowing next to nothing about the company that had just hired us.

We walked past the support department. It was energetic in all the best ways. For the first time we heard the combination of cordiality and effort in the phone conversations that are a hallmark of our team. In more than one case, we witnessed SSCS professionals huddled together in groups of twos and threes, conversing via speakerphone, collaborating on a problem with a customer.

A little voice went off in our head. “That’s why this company is so successful,” it said. We could feel it.

Our friendly support administrator makes sure calls get routed to the right technician.

Our friendly support administrator makes sure calls get routed to the right technician.

Turns out our instincts were correct.

That we could physically walk by the support department was a clue. They’re right here, under the roof of our Salinas headquarters, steps away from our engineers and quality assurance personnel. We’ve written before about the importance of having synergy between departments. You can’t underestimate the importance of free and easy informational exchange. Those people I saw huddled around desks? Turns out they weren’t just support personnel, but QA staff and programmers, too, everyone chipping in to get a customer an answer. The sum of our expertise is more than the total of its parts. Customers calling in don’t get access to a department; they get access to several departments, if needed.

Development and QA work on solving a problem.

Development and QA work on solving a problem.

In addition, we believe it’s important that the customer doesn’t just know about our commitment, but feels it, just as we felt it on our first day of hire. It’s a challenging goal, because our customers aren’t under the same roof as us, so for starters we make sure our customers talk to a human being right of the box. They always get a live voice as their first support contact, the initial step we take to make our customers feel good about our company and create a personal connection that, in general, is becoming increasingly rare in the customer service game.

The personal connection doesn’t stop at first contact. It’s reinforced by the fact that the very same technicians providing phone support travel onsite to facilitate the installation of our solutions. They’re out there in the store, in the trenches, getting a feel for the specific use cases of the individual site, making sure our solutions are aligned with the needs of that particular operation. They help customers set up their computer software and perform additional required tasks such as scanning merchandise on the shelves. It’s a face-to-face association that often develops and continues for years to come. And backing our on-site team is headquarters support, which provides several days of phone follow-up after the installation to ensure our customers get off to the right start—just another way we build our relationship with them.

Getting to the bottom of an issue in the SSCS lab.

Getting to the bottom of an issue in the SSCS lab.

Of course, this relationship-based model would mean little if our support department were plagued by rapid and consistent turnover, but SSCS is unique in that the great majority of our support professionals are tenured, some for more than a decade. Stability in staffing not only lends itself to a personal connection, it means our technicians have put in the time to learn the ins and outs of our solutions thoroughly, enabling them to handle even the most arcane technical issues.

Scattered throughout this article you’ll find some pictures of our support, QA, and development staff working together to solve customer issues, fleshing out the words that we hope have given you a little bit of insight into one of SSCS’s most treasured assets: the support department.

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