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The Goal is to Keep the Customer Using the Software Solution

This realization hit me strong after the supportdriven.slack.com conversation on about 2015-10-09, where one person wrote that they focused on a strategy of (how many customers requesting)+(whether the customer will stop using)+(how much money the combined customers are paying), and reported this to their boss as a way to leverage a feature request to be added/included.

For a Software Support Engineer (SSE) here’s a goal. The goal is to get each customer to keep using the solution.

In other words, my goal as a Software Support Engineer is to message with the customer so their concern is addressed in such a way that they are more likely to keep using my company’s solution and really what this means is that they renew their license subscription.

This is simple, and direct, and core to my mission as a Software Support Engineer.

Sometimes Software Support Engineers and their colleagues say things like A.) the SSE’s goal is to “keep the customers happy” or B.) the SSE’s goal is to “help the customers”. Then the SSE is stressing out about those cases where the customer isn’t happy and where they don’t seem to be helping the customer. Either of these goals is less effective because they will lead to the SSE in some cases being set up for failure — those cases when when the SSE can’t help the customer, or when the SSE can’t make the customer happy.

The first goal — acting according to what is most likely to keep the customer using the solution — is more effective. Often there’s a scenario where an SSE can’t help the customer, and also can’t make the customer happy, but that doesn’t matter because it’s a scenario where the customer will keep using the solution. The SSE and their colleagues will be more effective when they help the customer and keep the customer happy, but only in the context of them using the SSE’s company’s solution.

Sometimes SSEs and their colleagues say things like 1. an SSE’s goal is to make the technology work for the customer, and also 2. an SSE’s goal is to act in such a way that it will benefit the SSE’s company’s shareholders/stockholders.

These are good, and could be taken as they are, or, could be made even more concise and focused by combining them. There is a more concise goal that combines keeping the customer happy and to helping them keeping using my company’s solution. The more concise goal is act in such a way facilitates the customer renewing their license subscription.

But remember, another take-away from the strategies above is what a SSE can stop doing. They can stop doing these: (I.) If if an SSE truly can’t help the customer in the given situation, then the SSE can stop trying to help them. (II.) If the customer is asking for something that they want but without it they will keep using the app, then the SSE can stop trying to help them.

In summary, an SSE will do well to focus on those cases where both the SSE can help the customer, and the SSE helping the customer results in the customer keeping using the solution.

Edit: This post was previously published at: w̶i̶e̶l̶d̶l̶i̶n̶u̶x̶.̶c̶o̶m̶/2016-06-06-engineer-keep-customer-using.php

[2019 edit: Moved to: https://investorworker.com/2016/... .html.]