The Support Automation Show: Episode 2

The Support Automation Show: Jeffrey Breunsbach

We’ve launched a new weekly podcast called The Support Automation Show, hosted by Justin Schmidt, VP of Marketing at Capacity. We host conversations with leaders in customer or employee support who are using technology to answer questions, automate processes, and build innovative solutions to any business challenge. Tune into this episode to hear from Jeffrey Breunsbach, Director of Customer Experience at Higher Logic.

Listen here!

Justin Schmidt: Welcome to The Support Automation Show a podcast by Capacity. Join us for conversations with leaders in customer or employee support. We’re using technology to answer questions, automate processes, and build innovative solutions to any business challenge. I’m your host, Justin Schmidt. Hey, Jeff, how’s it going?

Jeff Breunsbach: Going well. It’s sunny and cool down here in Charleston, South Carolina, so I keep playing enough.

Justin: Wow, I was just going to ask you where this podcast finds you, I love South Carolina.

Jeff: Yes, this is my favorite time of year. It is not too hot yet, and as soon as it hits July, August, September, you’re looking for ways out, but right now you’re looking for ways to stay and be outside. Definitely, my favorite time of year, especially if I can go outside to find a beer somewhere at a brewery or something like that. It’s been fun.

Justin: Yes, St Louis, Missouri, which is where we are is a very similar weather situation where you got three or four nice weeks out of the year, but otherwise, it’s you walk outside in the heat and humidity, and you’re just like, What am I doing with my life? [chuckles]

Jeff: That’s very true.

Justin: Thank you for coming on, Jeff, really appreciate it. Tell me a little bit about Higher Logic and your role there.

Jeff: Yes, so Higher Logic is an investment platform. We were really born in the community space, and have helped organizations and associations build online communities for a long time. Subsequently, we’ve also added email as a part of that engagement, and potentially subsequently adding other things over time as we start thinking more about what that means in the digital age, but really focused on driving engagement for our associations and for our customers, and thinking about community, how it’s rooted in the sense of bringing peers together, bringing learnings, how do you have events and hold discussions together. That’s what Higher Logic does.

Then my role is, I’m the Director of Customer Experience. I’ve got a couple of areas that I’m playing in right now. One is our customer community. I play a big role in trying to bring our customers together and drives in that peer engagement. I play a role in our education and training. We’ve got a great team. We’re always trying to find, how do we help our customers, make sure that they’re getting the information they need to be successful on our platform.

Then the third part is really around scaling our customer success strategy. How are we engaging with customers as we start growing? As much as I’d love that we can have really one-to-one type interactions. It’s just a necessity of our business, in the way that we’re growing, that we need to find ways and strategies that we can automate, that we can drive some efficiency, and hopefully still keep up a very high level of engagement and a very high level of effectiveness doing that. That’s my role right now in those three buckets.

Justin: Yes, that’s very interesting because when you look at the impetus for enacting change in any function within the business, but customer-facing roles, especially, you have great success is an impetus for change to and adapt and keep up with the growth. Then you have the opposite end of that, where you have to adapt to a less friendly change in the business. It’s always good to hear people who are on the journey on the upper trajectory, and very exciting to hear and super excited for you guys.

When you think about how you got started in customer support and the facilitation of doing it at scale, especially, what’s the story there? Was this something you sort of fell into? Was it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity thing, or is this a plan? Just curious how you got into the world?

Jeff: Yes, I think I backed my way into it, so to speak. I was very much an analyst data behind the scenes, really love to be looking at AB tests or how you’re doing things. I think what tended to happen is that I really had to become good at architecting stories. Data is one thing, but being able to tell a story with that data and help bring people along and the journey is, I think, where I really started to push those skills and that, I think in turn started to get me to be a little bit more customer-facing.

I really went into roles that were maybe more akin to a customer success manager into roles like an account manager. That’s where my career’s been for a number of years. I think when we– Jamie’s my business partner and I, we had our consulting firm. Those skills continued to happen. You’re helping customers, and then you know, even today, I think the best thing or biggest thing about my day is trying to engage as many customers as possible.

Listening, trying to hear what they’re saying, hear their challenges, the opportunities that are there. Just having those conversations is really a joy for me. Getting back to the root of your question, I think, again, the heart for me was finding architecting stories, and then really being close to the customer was what drew me towards this kind of customer realm and being involved with customers on a regular basis, daily basis interacting with them.

Justin: Yes, it’s interesting, when you think about the role customers play in an organization, you have, obviously they’ve of its own paramount importance that they are successful because if a customer is not successful business is not successful, but your customers are also your best source of product pipeline ideas, they’re your best source of incremental revenue for the business with renewals, upsells, et cetera.

Getting into that community. Getting into the business needs of these people listening to them, and bring that feedback in an organization is a part of the customer support experience, I think often gets, I wouldn’t say overlooked, but the average person sometimes thinks like, well, I need to return something to best buy, or whatever it is, and you really start chatting, or phone call, or whatever, but there’s a lot more to it than that. We’re here on the Support Automation Show and like to talk about automation and how it impacts support, and customers are one of the entities that deal with automation a lot. When I say the word support automation, what does that mean to you?

Jeff: I think when you first threw it out there, for me, I think it really starts to come down. I think about it, maybe two realms. I started to compartmentalize it as like, What does support automation mean for the customer-facing activities. How we’re making it easier for the customer to engage with us. How we’re making a better experience for them, how we’re making sure that they get the answer to what they need to quicker.

I think on the back end, that kind of means how are we thinking about some of our operational metrics that are even driving success, and are we being as effective as possible with the resources we have? Are we being as resourceful as possible, and so bringing it in from kind of both realms? That’s what first jumped into my mind, when you threw it out there.

Justin: Yes, it’s obviously at Capacity here, we develop products to help automate a lot of the both back-end workflows that happened within an organization, but also some of the customer-facing staff, whether it be AI chat, or whatever it is. One thing that’s been really fun for me doing this show and talking to leaders in this space, such as yourself is, there’s a lot to think about, there’s a lot to incorporate. There’s a lot of different tools out there, there’s a lot of different best practices. One thing you said when we were connecting to do this show that I thought was really interesting, and especially given your background with some of the communities you’ve run plus, with where you’re at a higher logic now is this concept of community.

When you think of automation and communities, there’s a little bit of dissonance there that naturally comes up in the mind. We’re like, “Oh, well, if we’re automation is using machines, and computers and software to do things that humans don’t necessarily have to do community is, by its definition, a very human experience, right?” I would love to hear how you see the opportunity for combining these two concepts, automation, and community what some of the challenges may be in this. It’s an interesting topic, and you’re uniquely positioned to explore it. I’d love to do that with you.

Jeff: Yes, I actually love the way you set that up, and just architected a nice picture in my head. I think, by and large, the challenge that comes, you know, when you start thinking about automation is that people’s immediate reaction when they start thinking about automation or scaling or technology is to jump to the worst-case scenario, which is, oh, my gosh, the automation is going to take over the world or technology, right, but there’s not going to be a role for a human to play.

I think the balance there are what you need to find right is how are you utilizing technology, or utilizing automation or scaling to help augment what the humans are doing right, what the person is doing. When I think about that for community, the way that we try and talk about that with our customers is thinking about, what are the most effective things you can be doing as a community manager? That is probably engaging with your members on a regular basis, it’s probably being in front of your members in videos, like we’re doing today or phone calls or things that require you to be there that you are kind of solely chosen to do, right?

Only you can really be doing that type of work. Then think about all the things that it takes to do that. Let’s just maybe take an example of throwing an event, right? If I’m going to throw an event in my community, that’s going to have 200, 300, 400 people, I mean, my goal would be to talk to every single one of them, that’s what I want to do, right?

Unfortunately, though, that’s, I mean, it’s time that takes for me to reach out and talk to all those customers.

When you start thinking about it is okay, if I’m going to bring people up to this stage, maybe those are people I need to meet, with maybe that’s 10 people that are coming onto the stage that I need to bring on and kind of have that human talk, human touchpoint with, but it for everybody else, we’ve got a great signup form where we collect the right information, and then that helps us still personalize the experience through some automation, right? We’re collecting, “Hey, why are you coming to this event? What are you hoping to get out of it?”

That allows you to start segmenting, and I think that’s where you really start to drive to the power of automation is that if you’re asking some of the right questions, and leading up to it, then you’ve got great ways to segment and then you can use your technology and automation to your advantage. Again, then your focus as kind of the leader of the community is then focused on the right activities, which is engaging members, is running the session, and you’re not necessarily worried about is the follow-up email going to go out? Is the pre you’re going to go out? How do people sign out? Right? Those are all the pieces that automation technology can take.

I just think for community leaders out there, I think that’s the question that we always challenge them with is, what is the thing that you’re solely qualified to do? Then the most important thing that you should be doing and then what are the other parts that meetups that we can really start to think about for automation technology scaling? How can that all get involved? I think that’s how I normally try and think about it and we try and bring that to our customers.

Justin: Yeah, you’re exactly right. The implementation of technology, and specifically doing scare quotes here is scary technology like AI, which isn’t scary at all. The Terminator movies are popular for a reason, right? Everyone always thinks, “Oh, no, my Alexa devices are going to take over the world.” I shouldn’t say that, because I just triggered one. What’s interesting to me, and you touched on this, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot the past week or so because I have experienced myself where I had a very esoteric issue with my internet here at the house.

I went on my ISP’s website, I was greeted with a chat bot. As someone who’s in this business, I know what I’m looking at. They did a good job of trying to get my question answered and figured out before they have to connect me with an actual agent but when I got on the phone with the agent, it was again, this is a fairly esoteric issue. I was on the phone with them for a little bit.

She and I had this great conversation, we connected about some things, we both lived in similar parts of the country for a period in our lives, it was just this really great sort of human experience. In a world where automation and these types of technologies are being implemented well, it frees up this agent that I was talking to, to have this kind of connection, and to be able to spend the brain cells that are required for a somewhat thorny issue like I was dealing with, she got it figured out, everything’s good.

In a world where automation is not part of these ISPs, I don’t know why I’m trying not to say the word charter here but in a world where this ISP has to, they have tons and tons of customers with questions all day long, they have to automate some portion of the process in order for the business to work. This is a great example of micro-scale of kind of what you’re talking about within a larger community. I was able to have a human-to-human connection with this person and in a world where I have to go to a live agent for every single thing, you end up with agents that are answering the same question over and over and over and over again.

They’re maybe frustrated from having to do that, the turnover inside the organization is higher because agents are frustrated. The way automation is brought into support experience, whether it’s for customers, or even internally with employees, definitely frees people up for the higher order tasks. You’re right, community is human connection at a larger scale.

If we can bring in technology to enable human connection at a larger scale then we’re winning. Fascinating topic here. When you think about the approach specifically at, and this is a really interesting question for you because of Higher Logic, both sitting sort of as an enabler of communities, but also, Higher Logic has customers who therefore need support. What’s the approach to automating support and what portions of support get automated at Higher Logic?

Jeff: Yeah, I think there’s a couple of different ways maybe that we’re thinking about driving from the customer experience for our customers around support. I think one is, we’re definitely trying to think about the intersection of community support, and knowledge base, and training, and education. I think there’s really a trifecta when you start thinking about those [inaudible 00:15:50].

I think the more and more we go in the future, I think about how those experiences are going to become one where I’m now going to essentially one place where I’m looking for these things, and I’m having kind of a singular experience. Whereas now, I think, just like the example you gave, and probably, there’s tons of others that I can think of is they all feel very disparate.

I go to a an education or training website that is different from the support base or knowledge base that is different from the community. I think first, that’s the future I envision. One of the things that we’re trying to do here is think about how are we unifying those experiences? Right now we’re doing subtle things, do we have the same menus and headers and footers? Can we just make the visual experience look somewhat similar so a customer feels like there is continuity in their experience?

The reason I brought that up is, we’re, one is that self service. We’re always thinking about how are we allowing our customers to get to the right area where they think they can find an answer, and how we make that as easy as possible for them. I think that is a different form of automation. I just think that is a really important critical part for us is that we need to allow our customers to themselves just go on and experience and search what they need to and hopefully find the right answer.

That way, we can start alleviating, hopefully, some of the, maybe the the tickets, or some of the challenges that come across our support teams desk. I think the reason I bring it up is I just think that is a really critical part for us is that if we can nail that first part right, I think this goes to your point, then we know when a challenge comes across our support teams desk, then we know it’s there for a reason, right?

They’ve kind of exhausted the first option they’ve looked, they’ve been there, they’ve seen those things, and it didn’t hit the mark in the first one. I think that’s maybe the first part. I’ll stop there. Then I’ll tell you maybe a little bit more about what we’re automating. Does that make sense? That kind of first unifying in part.

Justin: It makes complete sense because you have to– Planes are able to take off if when the runway is clear, right? There’s a lot of magic to be made by starting the experience off in the right foot. Something as simple as that. It’s interesting, just, it may sound simple on the surface but ultimately, having two systems look like it’s part of the same whole is not something that should be taken for granted. 100% agree with you on that. You got a part two, you’re getting ready to go into?

Jeff: Yeah, so I think there’s. I think the second thing we actually just worked through this quite a bit is we actually went back and kind of looked at how we were asking some of the questions on an initial form for somebody to kind of request, help from our team. Some of the things that we noticed was, it was just a little sometimes in some cases, there’s a little vague, we weren’t really asking for kind of clear, crisp, concise information.

Then I think we weren’t really asking maybe all the things that we felt like we could be asking, I think there obviously has to be a balance when you think about somebody filling out a form or survey of some kind, right? You kind of you think about, “Hey, is too many questions, are they going to stop halfway through and just exit because they’re frustrated?”

I think in some cases, we weren’t really asking, maybe the right questions, and so that kind of exercise for us was really helpful because the more specific we got, in some of the questions that we’re asking, it really allowed for some of the backend vision that we have. Thinking about, how are we responding in terms of just that first initial touch point, how are we getting better information for our team so that we can start thinking about solving cases, the fewer touchpoints that we don’t have to essentially bother the customer as much.

That kind of number of touches was a really big factor for us in thinking about, as in some cases, there’s sometimes automation can work against that, right? We might have automated emails that don’t really need to happen, then it kind of interrupts the experience that we’re trying to have. They kind of that form and then some of the ways that we were and then taking those answers and then we were using automation behind us to segment and route the tickets in the right way.

The second challenge I think we had after [inaudible 00:20:12] that form was, “Do we have the right people doing the right work?” so that form upfront is really valuable for us to get right because then we can actually start routing the right work to the right teams. For instance we have a support team and then we’ve got a support integrations team so if you’re trying to integrate with our system we’ve got a specific team for that.

In the old world what would happen is a ticket would come through, it would be for an integration but hit our tier-one or level-one support first and then we’d have to move it to the integrations team. It sounds minor, just moving one ticket, but think about doing that consistently. It just becomes a hassle and then we don’t have the right metric [inaudible 00:20:49] or we’re not using the right automation system to follow up, we don’t have the right SLAs attached to it, all these things that came out.

That was just one clear indication of how we could go do that better utilizing the form. I think the customer communications got clearer, our routing behind the scenes got better, and then the metrics that we could associate for different types of tickets and touchpoints that we needed was a lot more crisp. That was maybe one example of how we took that form and really tried to go through an exercise recently to help us drive a better experience for the customer but then also drive some of the efficiency behind the scenes for us that’s going to help us be more effective.

Justin: You just gave what I hope to get out of every one of these conversations I have which is something super actionable for the people listening to be like, “You know what, I’m going to turn around and take that into the team” and that is thinking about the design of what you’re doing before you just start toggling check boxes in your tech and buying new tech and overthinking the problem.

We do a lot of work with HR teams for BDE, employee-support type deals and I have a webinar I give occasionally on this topic and one of the things that we always recommend of our clients and I think anybody doing anything with software or rolling out a new vender inside the organization really map out the process you’re trying to do, “What are you’re KPIs, what are your goals?” and make sure that just from a procedural, manual workflow perspective you’re colleting the right data at the right time and then when you bring in technology on top of that you start really adding bandwidth to the whole process.

Poor job design, poor workflow design up front is not something that sprinkling technology on the top of it’s going to solve. Very astute observation on thinking about something even as simple as the intake form and how an optimization there has a cascading effect down the line on the operation. Great stuff.

Jeff: I think maybe to carry on that point, too thinking about some of maybe the things that I picked up in my career or the advice that I’ve gotten before that that still rings true for me is what you just mentioned. I think sometimes people try and automate too quickly and I actually think going through the manual process of, “Hey, What does it take today? What are the manual steps that we’re doing? How do we architect that? How do we still do it? How do we actually go consistently do it for one week, two weeks, whatever the timeframe is that needs to make sense?”

To me that does a couple of things. It like you said solidifies, “Do we have the right workflow before we actually implement technology?” The second thing that I think it does is it keeps you close to the customer. When you start thinking about some of the automation and technology you can put in place you’re actually putting a barrier between you and the customer.

Again that inhibits your empathy towards their situation and putting yourself in their shoes. When you start designing a process and thinking about the manual nature of it and start thinking about the touchpoints and the things that are happening you inherently have to put yourself in the customer’s shoes because you’re interacting with the customer most likely in some of those scenarios and so you are going to think about just like we were talking you’re already thinking about, “How does the intake form actually hit for them?” or “What does it look like? How do they go through it? Hey, what about our first-touch email or a second-touch email? How does that feel?”

Those are things that I think if you can get those right before you implement the technology that’s where I think you were getting at where it really becomes functional and it becomes something that’s really impactful. I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve done this myself, I’m being maybe the walking cliche, I’ve gone in and said, “I already know the answer, let’s just bring in this technology and we can automate X, Y, and Z” and then it doesn’t go right.

Then like you said there’s an element of change internally that you have to go through and you lose credibility quickly as a leader if you come in and say, “I already have the answer, I’m going to implement this technology” and then it fails. People start sitting there saying, “What does this guy really know? Does he really know what he’s doing?” I think you just as much as you can try and approach cautiously, think about design first, think about the customer experience, and then think about implementing technology after you’ve done those things [inaudible 00:25:16]

Justin: You’ve hit on something that’s near and dear to my heart and that is establishing credibility as a leader. I have people that I am responsible for their success. It’s an amazing team that we have here. I couldn’t be more proud of the work they do. They look to me as a leader and I have a responsibility to them to make sure they’re in the best position for success. With something like automation, if a frontline support rep hears that, “We’re going to get some automation tools. Does this mean I’m going to be put out of a job?”

“Well, no,” and it’s incumbent on the leader to ensure that there’s trust there, to ensure that the buy-in is there, and the credibility which is the word you used that stood out to me is paramount and making all those decisions beforehand on mapping out the process, thinking through your KPIs, et cetera, everything we just talked about is what enables that credibility to happen so that when you do bring in a new tool you’re not met with skepticism, you’re met with the feeling that this person has the best interest of the company and myself at heart here. That’s super important.

When you think about the future of support automation what do you see the world of support looking like in 5 to 10 years, based off of the trends in support automation and technology that you see today?

Jeff: Going back to the example I talked about a little bit earlier I really do see the functions of a customer community, education and training, and then knowledge and support I really start to see how those start to become more of a one-time experience where I can go to one place, search for and get multiple or various types of content so I go and search one time for moderation, now I’m getting an education five-minute quick-hit video, I’m getting a support for documentation article. To me that just becomes paramount to where I think everything is going, that that’s one unified experience.

I think the huge benefit when we start thinking about that or I see the next thing going is you start to track customers, that sounds like a bad thing, I think you start to get better analytics on customers and contacts specifically, so I can better understand, “What is Justin looking for? What is he specifically individually wanting to know?” I can tailor experiences so much better when I have that type of information and so I think what you’ll start seeing in the future is a unification of that experience, therefore, the byproduct is better individualized data which means then we can personalize the experiences even further than we have today.

Then the thought that comes to mind is, “Justin goes, he does a search, he looks at an education article, he looks at support, he goes to the customer community and looks at a thread. You know what? He has to put in a support ticket.” Now when I pull up the support ticket it shows me all the things we’ve already done to go look at and start proposing solutions that are not those you’ve already done. I think about how that unification, that experience though is where maybe the [unintelligible 00:28:51] sources live today.

There’s some of that experience that I just mapped out, there’s some of those things we can currently do, ready to do some AI, based off of what I’ve looked at maybe in the knowledge base or what I’ve done but again [inaudible 00:29:07] great experiences is where I see the future going. Then that’s where I think that automation and some of the AI abilities on the frontend of the customer experience side can get really, really good and do that even better.

Then I think on the backend maybe and some of the internal things we’re doing I think about, I don’t know the right answer, I just think it’d be the challenge or the thing that we see today or when you go into growing and steering organizations is typically a different support tool than the engineering tool. The classic example is I have Zendesk maybe for my support team and then [crosstalk] I’ve got Jira, so I think about, “How does that experience get better?” so that when a customer inputs a ticket and maybe it’s a bug that needs to get passed engineering and [unintelligible 00:29:57] Jira, how does that whole experience just become better because in today’s world, it’s two systems talking to each other.

It’s two different teams also thinking about different processes. Bugs in engineering work differently than support was working with maybe a ticket and we need to figure out what that experience is like. I don’t know the right answer, but I just think there’s got to be something that maybe starts to happen where those are starting to intersect maybe more and there’s some solution that again, thinks about putting the customer first and bridging the gap between those two systems. Those are a couple of things that come to mind.

Jeff: You touched on something that made me think about my experience with the unnamed. We already named it with my ISP last week. It’s actually really interesting because there’s no reason they shouldn’t know that I unplugged the router, waited 30 seconds and plugged it back in before I called. Clearly, if that worked I would not have called. Yes, there’s– Technology should enable these kinds of things. You also touched on something that just is very topical and I don’t know how much you’re following the Apple and Epic trial and iOS 14.5 and the do not tracking permissions for all that stuff and Android and [unintelligible 00:31:23] iOS yesterday, they talked a little bit about it.

Tracking does have a negative connotation, but when you start watering down the glue between systems unable to pass data back and forth to each other, you can create potentially worse experiences by not enabling that. It’s not all just advertising, there’s other things that third-party cookies or whatever rely on. That’s maybe another podcast, but very interesting you brought that up.

That’s a good point too because I think the– Like you said, it does get a negative connotation, but there’s some really good value and I think that’s where unfortunately the cookie gate of 2021 is overlaying yours, maybe playing a bigger role across some of the good value that can come out of some of that.

I just think about personalization so much because I can’t tell you, I worked in digital marketing for about 10 years of my career as well and that tracking against, that things sometimes work against you but at the end of the day, I’m always just like, ”Hey, I’d much rather get it around actual relevant ads, know something that’s actually relevant and meaningful and what if they used a little bit of my data to get there? Because I just think at the end of the day, if it’s personalized for me, that’s a lot better than just getting generic ads left and right pumped into, listening to things that won’t really impact me.

Justin: Depending on the age of the person I’m talking to. The example I always give is, do you remember back in the day when you’d be on a website and you’d see an ad that says punch the monkey and win a free iPod or whatever, and there’d be a little radical and you’d have to click at the time without cross-site tracking personalization, you’re going to start seeing a lot more of that stuff good stuff. We’re going to end with the, I don’t know if I want to call it the fab four, even though if the old Michigan basketball team I think might have that trademarked or the famous five, but the Nathan Latka show, if you’ve listened, it’s good podcast for entrepreneurs. I don’t know what I’m going to call this segment quite yet, but we’ll figure it out. Just some quick fire round some questions.

Jeff: Okay, cool.

Justin: What is the book you most often recommend to people?

Jeff: Probably The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni. It’s a framework, a management framework to run teams and really it’s for leaders of businesses. When we were running our consulting firm there was something that was close by because it was a very simple way to call it the framework to point the team in the right direction and make sure everyone’s on the same page. I’d say, The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni is probably number one. I’m actually looking at it right here next to me.

Justin: Very cool. What’s the best productivity hack or productivity tip that you’ve ever heard and implemented?

Jeff: I want to give you two.

Justin: Yes. Go for it.

Jeff: One’s really goofy, but I’m a procrastinator at heart and one thing that I’ve done recently, I tend to have to do a lot of presentations. I do a lot of things like this, but I do a lot of webinars and things. If I’m struggling to put pen to paper, so to speak on what I need to do in terms of building slides, I’ll actually unplug my computer. I’ll go downstairs and then I make myself a game where I say, “Okay, I have until my computer dies to fill out the slides and then whatever’s done is basically what I’m going to present.” And that has forced me to flip. That’s quite a goofy one too.

Justin: No, I like it.

Jeff: I like to throw out there. The quick second one that I think is a good productivity hack for me is I do something every morning called the three things. I just call them that. They are not really that impressive. Every morning I have a little whiteboard and so I go write three things on that whiteboard and those are three things that if I can accomplish those today, then I call today a good day.

They can be work. They can be personal, they can be– But it’s just the three things that I just know are going to cause stress, cause whatever else and if those are on my board and I can center and focus on those, then I get those accomplished, it just has made my days feel a lot better. I feel a lot more productive, even if I’m not accomplishing so many things on my list. That’s something that I do every morning when I have my coffee at my desk.

Justin: I love it. I like your homemade version of forcing constraints on yourself with the laptop battery or whatever. As laptops get more efficient, you’re going to start giving yourself more time to doddle there but the sentiment is awesome. I love it. I have a feeling, I know what the answer’s going to be here I’m going to challenge you to list two. If you could recommend one site, blog, slack, community, LinkedIn group, et cetera, for support leaders, what would it be?

Jeff: The clear and obvious one. We started a community last year, so [unintelligible 00:36:30]


Justin: Pretty name by the way.

Jeff: I appreciate that. We had some fun naming that thing. The second one that I’ll give you is and it is two guys that I’ve come across, Dave Derington and Adam Avramescu. They’re really great education leaders and I just think when you start thinking about ways to alleviate some of the challenges and constraints, I always just think about education and training fjirst your customers and I’ve picked up a lot of great things from there. They’ve got episodes or podcasts they do [unintelligible 00:37:07] every once in a while, appreciate that, I’ve learnt so much.

Justin: Very cool. If you could take one person in the world of support out for coffee, meet them for lunch, or go have a beer with them who would it be?

Jeff: First it’d be you. Give you a beer in St Louis next time I’m there. Then I would probably– I think I don’t know who this person is today. Maybe just describing I would love to go talk with whoever leads support at one of these vendors. So similarly, like you mentioned, we’re a community company and we’re at an interesting intersection. I would love to go talk to the Zendesk, the Freshdesk, the support leaders of those organizations to see, have they really souped-up their automation and their technology.

How did they use it to their advantage? I don’t necessarily know the names of those people right now. I’m thinking who are the leaders of the CS operations or the customer support leaders of those types of organizations? Because I’m always intrigued like, “Hey, if I peep behind the curtain at Zendesk, at Freshdesk, I need these tools. Are you using your tool and is it hypercharged, way more than us?” That’s exactly what I’m always curious about.

Justin: Exactly. I once asked a account rep of ours, at Salesforce, what the Salesforce instance of Salesforce is at Salesforce, what it was like and she said, “It’s very well run,” and that made me feel a lot better because– For the obvious reasons. Jeff, this is a great conversation. I really appreciate you coming on today and for our listeners out there, if you’re looking to build and leverage community within your organizations, Higher Logic is the place to go and Jeff is the man to follow. Thanks so much for your time, Jeff. I really appreciate it.

Jeff: Thanks, Justin. Enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to helping you all get this word out and really appreciate the podcast you guys have. It’s awesome.

Justin: Much appreciated. Thanks.

The Support Automation Show is brought to you by Capacity. Visit to find everything you need for automating support and business processes in one powerful platform. You can find the show by searching for Support Automation in your favorite podcast app. Please subscribe so you don’t miss any future episodes. On behalf of the team here at Capacity, thanks for listening.