When to Start Building a Support Team
Before we get to what it takes to form a support team, let’s first answer a basic question: should you build one? Hiring people too fast can be just as bad as hiring too slow. Handing off support too early can elicit a chain of problems in the whole company. It’s an important question to answer.
Are you Doing It YOURSELF?
Throw this over to the Captain Obvious column if you will, but many founders actually screw this up. They’re not doing support themselves.
Starting a company means doing a little bit of everything yourself in the beginning, growing and hiring people better than you in each area. This includes support. If you’re doing this, you’ve got a pretty good pulse already on what your support needs are.
Are you Feeling the PINCH
You shouldn’t just think there’s a need for a support team, you should really be feeling it. You need to feel the pinch. Here are some flags that might indicate it’s time to consider building a support team.
- You spend more time than you’d like answering support tickets.
- More tickets are coming in than you can get to in a timely fashion.
- You sometimes find yourself getting easily frustrated with customers.
Get to know the pinch. Learn to love it. If it’s not there, maybe think again about hiring. If you do decide to hire, make sure you can afford it.
How To Set Them Up For Success
We’ve written before about how bad employee onboarding can seriously undermine your entire organization’s potential.
There’s simply no better time to get people the tools and support they need than the first few weeks before and after their first day.
- Set clear expectations for what success will look like in this role. This could be a set of metrics you design or they design. Just make sure you get something on paper.
- Keep in touch informally a lot. Put their desk next to yours, have coffee breaks together and make small talk about how things are going, make it clear that they can come to you for help.
- Set a schedule for a formal check in on new hires every week or so to see how they’re progressing. You can also keep tabs on any lingering issues through regular one-on-one meetings.
- Set them up with an onboarding buddy. Partnering new hires with a senior team member can help them navigate the company more easily, and give them someone to lean on when things get confusing.
Building a proper support team, when the time is right, will keep you sane, will make your company successful and make you successful. It won’t be easy. But when the time is right, it might be the most important hire you make.
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