SSP is growing very quickly. Only three years ago, we were at 35 employees. Today, we are at almost 350!
We have seen a lot of positive changes as a result of this growth. One of those changes is that we can hire more specialized resources. A small organization can’t necessarily hire resources who “only” manage projects, for example, but our growth has allowed us to hire a team of 15 outstanding Project Managers who are on the front lines of some of our most significant projects. We have come a long way since Skye used to manage everything!
This goes for Support too. The time has come where SSP must build a brand new, dedicated team to handle all of our incoming Support tickets. We will talk about the “why” in this article, and the “how” in a future article.
As we have more and more significant projects, SSP’s technical experts must spend time doing what they do best: developing new solutions, implementing them, and getting our customers into the new technology. Getting pulled away from these projects to work on Support tickets can often be challenging, both for the employee who has to juggle multiple priorities and for our clients who expect dedicated time from them. This is precisely why we need dedicated resources for both.
Last year, we hired our first dedicated Support Specialist (Travis Jowell) and assigned a Project Manager (Javier Aguerrevere) to oversee the transition to a more client-focused Support process. This is so important – it includes not only keeping track of the issues that each client reports, but maintaining open lines of communication and building trust as well. In the past, SSP has used a variety of Project Managers to manage the current support contracts, but again, they need to do what they do best: manage projects. Support needs to be centralized and staffed by dedicated resources.
As SSP’s Support organization continues to grow and evolve, the ticket resolution process will grow and evolve as well. We envision Tier 1 resources who gather the initial information needed to triage a ticket and potentially resolve minor issues; Tier 2 resources who can dig deeper; and Tier 3 resources who include some of our most experienced engineers and who will engage when the first two tiers have done everything they can. From the client’s perspective, even if the ticket changes hands, one owner will track and communicate progress.
Our approach begins with our clients. We want to foster good relationships that begin with good communication. That’s why we will call this “Customer Success,” a term that is commonly used for proactive communication, partnering with our clients in a structured and organized way to achieve their support goals and prevent (as much as possible) critical issues from occurring.
As more clients need support, information becomes more critical. Everything needs to be in one easily accessible place: customer contact information, what products we are supporting, who in SSP installed it, where the code is, if there is an environment to reproduce issues, and if it is up to date (same versions, recent database, etc.), access information and so on. This exists today but must be centralized and managed by the Customer Success organization. This includes a Support Knowledge Base, which we are starting to build. This will make the Support process more efficient.
We know this will take time. It is not an overnight process. We will be reaching out to many of you over the coming weeks and months to learn what you need and want so that we can start to build out a Customer Success organization that is a true partnership.