What I learned at Support Driven Summit 2018

Support Driven Summit 2018

The Support Driven Summit was my favourite conference in 2018. This small conference managed to engage a very diverse set of attendees around a topic that is industry-agnostic: How to create/maintain/scale successful customers support operations? This question has many layers, and the keynotes, case studies, and lightninging talks highlighted many different aspects of the role customer support can play within a company.

These talks were just the starting point though. The bigger value of Support Driven Summit is its ability to connect people and start a conversation. Each case study included little breaks to discuss a specific situation with the people sitting next to you. Each day included an hour-long break-out session with just enough structure to get us talking about specific aspects of how to lead and thrive in customer support.

Prompts to get ahead of small talks

Most conferences include some kind of networking event – usually an alcohol-infused after-hour event. More often than not, conversations at this kind of events cover little more than your name, where you are from, where you work and what you do there. Learnings are far and wide between and mostly accidental. Business cards are exchanged, but you don’t end up with real connections.

The Support Driven Summit had a different approach: each case study presentation had little pockets to discuss available options with the people sitting next to you. Breakout sessions encouraged participants to discuss specific challenges, sharing experiences and teaching each other. Our challenges were remarkably similar (scaling, scheduling, productivity, team engagement), so cutting out the small talk we had more time to share and extrapolate solutions.

Bigger is not always better

The summit was an almost cosy conference. There was one single track with amazing presenters. For once, I did not suffer any FOMO (fear-of-missing-out) or ended up second-guessing the choices I made based on a multi-track event. I did not have to expend any energy on deciding which talk was more interesting, so instead, I could invest that energy in connecting with those around me.

Even on a small summit, it’s not possible to meet everyone, and that is not the goal either. However, you end up recognizing more people as time goes by. For introverted and shy people this reduces the stress of the unknown considerably. Paradoxically, this also means that the setting feels much less intimidating and it is easier to actually talk to people. Since everyone had seen the same talks and case studies, starting a conversation felt almost easy. As a result, I feel I have really met more people on that summit than on any other conference this year.

Thank you, Andrea and Scott, for making this possible!

Background: Support Driven Summit is a networking event/conference bringing together leaders and managers working in Support to share experiences and challenges, and grow together. Organized by the team behind Support Driven, this was a unique opportunity to connect with other leaders invested in stellar customers support.

The event took place on October 29/30,2018 at the HubSpot Headquarters in Boston, for the full list of sponsors and participating companies, check the website (and sign up to not miss the next edition).

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