Learnings from Stoplight Support Leaders Bill Burch and Chris Wiggins

This month is all about entrepreneurial spirit and the great resources we have here at Stoplight. We wanted to showcase important parts of our business that help accomplish our main goal: providing excellent API Design, Governance, and Documentation tools and education to improve and scale your API program. 

One critical way we do that is through our Support team. It’s no secret that Stoplight Support is continuously rated high, but we recognize as we continue to scale how important it is to provide a solid support program to our customers of all sizes. Bill Burch, Vice President of Customer Experience, and Chris Wiggins, Support Operations Manager at Stoplight, share how they’re shaping the Support program and what they’ve learned this year.

How Has Support Leveled Up at Stoplight in 2021?

One of the most important changes made at Stoplight this year was adding more support staff. One of the reasons why we made a hiring effort was so that the organization could be prepared for the volume of support requests that are coming in as we continue along our trajectory of rapid growth. These are the types of team members you may encounter when working with Stoplight support:

Support Analysts

Support Analysts handle the incidents, issues, and breakage notifications coming in from customers. They work with the customers to solve their problems, learn about the product, test, and research to stay informed about the space. Because the product that we support is complex, we hire Support Analysts who understand the API world, have some development and technology experience, and who have great customer service skills.

Support Operations Manager

The purpose of a Support Operations Manager is to bring different support initiatives over the finish line. The SOM is a project manager who also deals with monitoring tool and workflow performance, setting up processes and procedures, and making sure that everything is working for the analysts. They’re there to help streamline support operations and work in collaboration with the Technical Account Managers.

Enterprise Account Executives and Technical Account Managers

If you are an enterprise account client, you have additional support and account management needs. That’s why Stoplight has focused on hiring top talent to listen to specific Enterprise-level concerns, work with product and development teams to implement new features and fix issues, and help large organizations scale and improve their API programs.

With team growth, though, comes a lot of training, learning, and internal support. So another one of the major changes was developing more processes and procedures to better assist our customers. One example is our updated Status page, which embodies a solid process behind service disruption to make sure that our customers are aware when services are temporarily down and updates when they’re back as soon as possible. You can subscribe to the Status page to receive these alerts yourself.

This year, Stoplight began focusing on building out a comprehensive Knowledgebase and Community. The goal is to help customers have access to 24/7 self-service resources and to help each other solve problems.

Tips for a Successful Support Program 

Start with having the end goal for your support program in mind; know where you want to be at from the perspective of a support organization that's running on all cylinders and that provides value to the customers.

Get to know the other departments, understand what they've been hearing about the product and company in general. Lean into getting to know other departments and their problems so that you have more knowledge to share across the organization.

Realize that you may never have an end-state for support. Things are always changing, team members come and go, the product will change, but always strive to fire up as many cylinders as you can.

You Can Never Listen Enough to Your Customers and Community

Many of the plans for Stoplight’s support program for next year are based on feedback from customers including in-the-moment chat support and more. Hiring the right people, finding the right tools, and putting the right processes in place are critical to scaling. But, we pride ourselves in listening closely to our customers, and we know this is a need they have identified. Our goal is to deliver a support program that fulfills those needs.

In the meantime, the Stoplight Community can help each other by answering questions and giving each other advice. We chose Discord because of how easy it is to have conversations, and how quickly customers can get responses from both Stoplight moderators and other community members. If you’re a Stoplight fanatic yourself, we invite you to start having conversations and answering questions in the Community.

Use Sales and Financial Forecasts to Scale Your Support Plan

As you're growing a support team, sales forecasts are critical to stay ahead of the curve. You can very easily sink a great product with poor support. So, by looking at those sales forecasts and anticipating when to expect significant growth, you can plan for hiring, training, and ramp-up time so that the support team is ready to go when a new feature or major sales campaign launches.

Stay Connected to Product Releases

In order to best help customers, the support team needs to know what's coming up, what's being launched, and pitfalls that customers might experience in new product releases. Staying connected and educated about new things in the product can be a constant battle for everyone in an organization, but for support, it's particularly critical. 

Work with your product management, development, and marketing teams to stay ahead of what's coming down the line. In a continuous deployment environment, this can be challenging, but strong partnerships with other departments can overcome these challenges.

Stoplight Customer Support Resources

As we continue to grow and improve the support process at Stoplight, our team has a vision for more in-the-moment support in 2022 and beyond. There’s a lot to look forward to! 

If you’ve had a good experience with our highly rated Support team, we encourage you to leave a G2 review or email feedback@stoplight.io to let us know how we can improve. We'd love to hear from you!

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