Maybe I have weird interests, but I find it fun to imagine what it’s like to begin a job as the first customer support person for a small start-up. I mean, this sort of thing must be happening all the time. New products and companies are being started every single day, and as the founding teams grind away trying to find product/market fit, they’ll slowly start acquiring customers, and those customers will have questions and find bugs, which means they’ll send an email to the company asking for help.
In the early days, the founding team will figure out ways to stay on top of the inbox on their own. “We want to stay close to the customer”, they’ll add, because of course that’s what you do when you’re small and everyone is wearing all the hats.
Eventually, the inbox will grow at a rate that’s faster than the team can handle without occasionally being painful, either because they’ve started focusing their attention on other areas, or maybe just because the number of emails is piling up faster due to a bunch of new customers (good problems!). It’s at this point that the team decides to make its first support hire.
In another newsletter for another day, I would spend a good bit of time trying to convince you that this first support hire should be strategic, that you want them to have a good bit of experience so they can build a robust system that can grow to continue supporting customers with high customer and employee satisfaction as the company matures. But that’s for a different day. Let’s pretend that the founders decide instead to “get someone to do support” so they can get back to focusing on founder-y things. What is that person going to do and what does their support model look like?