Aug 21, 2021

What Can the Wildfires Teach Us about Support Experience?

Many of you are probably aware, if not being affected by, the current wildfires raging in Northern California. One of our own SupportLogic employees was in the evacuation zone, but luckily left long before the evacuation notice. And that got me thinking. We can learn a lot about proactive support from how we are learning to better manage and contain forest fires.

First, we have to realize that like wildfires in the 21st century, support cases are just a part of our reality. We have to accept not only that they will happen, but prepare for them. We need to be proactive with firefighting – not reactive. And the same goes for support teams. We can’t have our experts just sitting idly by waiting for a red-hot customer escalation. We need to be diligent, and read the signals that tell us there’s some tiny embers of dissatisfaction, and snuff out those embers with proactive care.

Good forest management includes building fire breaks in our national forests, so that when fires inevitably break out, the damage is limited. It is all about limiting the “fuel” that feeds a massive wildfire. It’s also smart to clean out the underbrush – that dry wood and other debris that acts as kindling for fires to spread faster. And that is what we at SupportLogic do for our customers every day. We provide insights, alerts and intuitive tools for assignment and other escalation prevention and management. And we provide simple, effective tools for backlog management so teams can focus on the big problems instead of minutia. This reduces the “fuel” that escalations run on – ignorance of the customer’s growing dissatisfaction.

Another concept that bridges the gap between wildfires and customer support is the idea of a “Smokejumper.” In the firefighting world, a Smokejumper literally parachutes into the fire zone and with surgical precision uses his tools to fight the blaze. Similarly, a tech Smokejumper is a product or code expert who “parachutes” into a complex case or customer issue – aiding in the resolution process with their product knowledge or ability to patch code with grace and speed.

With both types of Smokejumpers – you need to have the right foreknowledge to use these resources properly. In the fire world – if you drop a Smokejumper at the wrong place or time – the results can be catastrophic. Similarly, in tech support you need predictive signals to know when to have your ‘Jumpers ready, know how many you might need, and which customer interactions to drop them in before an internal escalation becomes a total conflagration!

As noted above, our SupportLogic employee made it out of Tahoe long before the order to evacuate. He was able to read the signals – that the fires were progressing and not regressing, and took proactive, positive action. It’s a great analogy to the kind of reality you can create for your support organization when you leverage signals towards building a proactive support model for the organization.

So, when it comes to your support organization, which situation would you like to be in? 

Get started with a Test Drive today. Overtaxed, and battling fires that never seem to end? Or, would you like to be like our associate – working at the beachside and sipping a mojito while he completes his daily tasks with far less stress?

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Maybe I exaggerate in the comparison – but one thing is for certain: even when you take a proactive approach to support, the fires will come. But, you’ll be far more prepared and with far less collateral damage.

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