First full time support hire

Hi everyone. I head up a CS team for a small UK startup with 2 CSMs reporting to me. In addition we have a part time support agent that handles US (pacific time) hours. Up to now we have managed the entire post-sale customer lifecycle including support. 

I am now at the point where I want to hire a full-time support role in the UK. We currently use Zendesk (support, chat, guide) and receive a few enquiries through those channels each day but clients are still send a lot of support type questions to CSMs via email. I am keen to change customers' mindsets so that they send the majority of questions to support and the support rep escalates to the CSM if required. I want the new hire to handle these enquiries as well as having ownership of our knowledge base and its content. We also may ask them to help with user training and customer education if we need extra capacity.

Has anyone else made a similar change recently? It would be great to learn what has and hasn't worked as well as the profile of candidate I should be looking for. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me - Richard


  • Ben Francis
    Ben Francis Member Posts: 5
    Name Dropper First Comment
    Happy to chat about managing a small CSM & Support team in the early-stage environment. 
    I am bringing a Support Agent into my first FTE CSM and will have a team of 5 in Support. 
  • Richard Brereton
    Richard Brereton Member Posts: 8
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    Thanks @Ben Francis. Are you free this week?

  • marelize
    marelize Member Posts: 1
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    I am currently in the position you are describing.  Once you have trained the clients to work via Zendesk the process flows so much better, you have better oversight of your clients needs ect.  I am obsessed with Zendesk and the whole process. Marelize
  • Clay Telfer
    Clay Telfer Member Posts: 6
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    I've had to do this three times before. Assuming you've already sent some kind of message to your customers letting them know there's a new address to reach out to, I had the most success by having the CSM forward the email to support, then reply to the customer and say:

    "Hi Richard, I forwarded your email to [email protected], and they'll get everything taken care of for you! I'd recommend emailing them directly in the future because it'll be a lot faster, especially if I'm out sick or on vacation. Thank you, and have a great day!"

    After 4 weeks of that, most folks had made the switch. At that point you can look at the remaining customers and decide, based on number and profile and so on, whether you want to reach out and say "hey we really need you to stop emailing the CSM directly" or just keep forwarding their emails over to Support. 

    Happy to chat more about this if you like, just let me know!
  • Richard Brereton
    Richard Brereton Member Posts: 8
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    Thanks @Clay Telfer , we have had the support address for a while but are still in the habit of just replying to the emails that come in rather than forwarding them to the support address. I plan to send a message to clients and then take the approach you have suggested. Are you around next week to talk about this more? What is the best way to contact you?
  • Clay Telfer
    Clay Telfer Member Posts: 6
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    @Richard Brereton absolutely! Email me at [email protected] and we can set up some time to talk!

  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 151
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    edited October 2022
    Redirect with a warm hand-off, connecting the user to support directly, and wean them over time from going to directly to the CSM team. If you have a ticketing system have the CSM enter the ticket and then let the support rep follow up. It can include something like "Your CSM let me know of your issue..." when the issue is resolved add "feel free to come to us directly and enter your issue/email us (whichever applies) directly for quickest resolution." Concurrently have the CSM  clarify that urgent, break/fix issues need to go to support. It's the only way SLA can be tracked and will get you a prompt resolution. There is no magic solution but most customers are happy to follow the rules. Do not treat all as if they are a problem. So many do that and create a lousy customer experience. 

    Do not set hard and fast dates with customers or introduce draconian absolutes. Treat them with respect and kindness in every interaction.
  • kimikocatherine
    kimikocatherine Member Posts: 1
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    Hey @Richard Brereton , have you got this solved?

    We've had years of experience handling issues like this and would love to help with the best practices we found to have worked. We're happy to chat! 
  • Richard Brereton
    Richard Brereton Member Posts: 8
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    Hey @kimikocatherine. Not yet, this is a project for the next few months. I'd love to chat about your experience of this

  • Jeff Breunsbach
    Jeff Breunsbach HLAdmin, Member Posts: 277 admin
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments Photogenic GGR Blogger 2022

    A few things to consider:

    • Make sure you create a way to inform all of your customers that there is a new way to submit support tickets
    • You have to consistently educate customers on this - so send a monthly cadence reminder of how to submit support tickets and when to use the CSM
    • Make sure your CSMs "forward" on support requests but make that known to reinforce the behavior for customers
    • Update your Knowledgebase with common questions so that customers go there first and then it becomes natural to submit a ticket
  • Richard Brereton
    Richard Brereton Member Posts: 8
    Second Anniversary 5 Comments Name Dropper

    Thanks @Jeff Breunsbach. Very helpful.