Support services are a linchpin in any technology based solution to a problem. Though the strides made in software and hardware are ever increasing (and in some cases staggering, given how quickly limitations are dismantled and relocated within technology) as of yet, one fact remains: Computers don’t tend to realise when they get something slightly wrong and they most certainly don’t want to talk about it. Even when they try to do so, they just tend to fail at the task miserably. Most people can relate to the frustration of having a technical issue that needs addressing, taking the step of calling/email chatting to try and find a solution and feeling the dread of realisation that you have been put through to an automated service. There’s a certain irony in attempting to get help with a computer problem only to be put through to a computer that itself is having problems understanding you. At best, you find yourself working around its irrelevant tangents and inquests to find any pathway to the information you require. At worst it can seem like you’re just having an argument with some binary that is attempting to protect its little brother by telling you really, it is you that is at fault. On top of this, personally, I would never feel too comfortable around somebody whose first port of call is to “shoot” their troubles.
This is where the most visible benefit of a support department is noticed. Giving a human point of contact for problems with machines is invaluable for making any user feel like progress can be made. The requester can feel assured that, at the very least, what they are experiencing (in terms of the frustration this issue is causing, not just the issue itself) is being truly understood. With this foundation, the very process of solving a problem is more relaxed and effective. End users are more likely to be willing to be an active part of the process which can be the deciding factor in tackling an issue both speedily and to an acceptable outcome.
However, stating that brains are better than circuits when it comes to supporting people is nothing too surprising. What I will try to highlight next is my own subjective experience of the benefit a good support department brings that I didn’t expect until I joined the Support Team at VUALTO. I will try and outline this with one single statement:
‘There is no better place to start than at Support’
When I was interviewed for the role of ‘Support Engineer’ all the typical emotional responses kicked in… lots of excitement, a bucket load of nerves at the task of seeming employable and a fair bit of shame for realising I had eaten more than I realised in the last year or two, making each of my suits feel more like a wetsuit intent on suffocating me than professional attire! However, there was another thought hidden a bit further back and it was placed in the stigma of “Support” itself. It’s easy to fall into a mindset that Support is synonymous in the world of employment with monotony or the feared “call-centre” environment. I am very glad to say that, upon accepting the position at VUALTO, it didn’t take long to find this association was far from the truth. I remember thinking, after my first day, “Well, that was pretty exciting actually! I could quite happily do that every day for work!” but even this concession was premature. The next day was nothing like the first day. The third day was nothing like the second. The fourth day was probably a bit of all the previous three, with a few teasers thrown in for where I would be concentrating my efforts in days 5, 6 and 7.
If you want a varying job role, Support can certainly deliver this. Whilst other departments were skilfully progressing within their projects and I could tell they were relishing their own challenges, I did feel somewhat smug that I had the ability to switch projects, clients and challenges on a regular basis. Within a month I had met and worked alongside practically all colleagues from all departments, as well as having interacted with the vast majority of clients. There isn’t a part of a VUALTO that is off-limits to the Support department and this allowed me as a new employee to quickly understand the workings and direction of the company. I’m pretty sure not many other roles would have you as involved, recognised and co-operating with the amount of people that I have been, all within my first month. The Support department has given me the basis to build confidence and experience within the company as well as a true understanding of how many areas I can progress in given more and more time working the smorgasbord of tasks that reach my desk any given day.
I imagine, after reading the conclusive proof of Support being the best department within a company to work, many of my colleagues will be requesting that we now switch roles! I’ll make a public statement here stating that I’m afraid this role is MINE… but I would be more than happy to give you some interview tips if you want to apply for a desk next to mine, and I may even give you some advice on the best (wet)suit to wear during the questioning.
Rather aptly… VUALTO are currently recruiting for a SOFTWARE SUPPORT ENGINEER (NIGHT SHIFT). Read more about how you could join our Support team here