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Connexer Spotlight: Achieving world-class customer support with Ethan Simister

By Sean Fielding

Published 6 October 2023

In honor of Customer Service Week, we had the pleasure of interviewing Ethan Simister, Head of Enterprise Support at Connex.

With over five years of dedicated service, Ethan’s journey from a 1st Line Support Engineer to leading our Enterprise Support team has equipped him with profound insights into the realm of customer service.

Amidst the celebration of our support team’s recent nominations for two prestigious awards, join us as we delve into Ethan’s career trajectory, his strategies for addressing enterprise support challenges, and his thoughts on how to provide effective customer service.

What is a typical day like for you as Head of Enterprise Support, and what are your primary responsibilities?

Ethan: There’s really no such thing as a typical day. As a framework, I spend the majority of my time coaching the team, doing odd bits of training, giving feedback in 1-on-1s, and making sure everyone is on track.

Besides this, I spend a lot of time with an overview of all our support tickets in my peripheral vision, ensuring things are being worked on and VIP customers are getting the responses they need.

When things get tough and there are sicknesses or other absences, I naturally step in and flex my technical muscles, resolving some of the more complicated tickets or escalating them to the appropriate department to be resolved as soon as possible.

 

Can you outline your journey at Connex, from 1st Line Support Engineer to Head of Enterprise Support?

I actually started my career as an apprentice at Connex, with no experience in the tech industry. I made it a point to apply everything I learned wherever possible, and I was able to rise through the ranks, eventually becoming manager of the Enterprise Team three years later.

I would attribute my success to a combination of opportunism, determination, and the support of my team and mentors. I have always been willing to take on new challenges and learn new things, and I was fortunate to have a team of experienced and supportive colleagues who helped me develop my skills and knowledge.

I’m now five years into my career at Connex, and under my leadership the Enterprise Team has grown by over 400%. I am proud of the accomplishments that we have achieved together and I also do not anticipate this growth slowing down in the future, which is pretty exciting.

 

How has your 1st Line support background influenced your leadership of the Enterprise Support team?

In my opinion, being on 1st line support was essential to my role today. Without the knowledge of the company, knowledge of our customers, and knowledge of the different people at Connex, I would be hugely disadvantaged in managing the team.

Because of my experience in the 1st line team, I have a lot of knowledge on the scope of support in general, and given my long tenure here, I have managed to build good relationships with the senior management team, integrating their goals with my own and pushing the team in the right direction.

 

What are some of the challenges your team faces in supporting enterprise clients, and how do you address them?

Naturally, our enterprise clients are the customers with more agents and more knowledge, with higher requirements and higher standards. These customers require a delicate touch, as one small mistake could cost them a lot of money, which also comes with the risk of tarnishing our reputation as a support team. This is something we avoid at all costs, with thorough checks, security measures, and rollbacks in place to ensure our enterprise customers are happy all the time.

Another major challenge that the company faced was the need to expand to 24-hour support in order to properly support our ever-growing global customer base. Enterprise Support was the first team to make this shift, with availability 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Although we plan to expand all of our support teams to cover night shifts, with the knowledge and experience my team is equipped with, they were the obvious choice to pioneer the 24-hour support desk worldwide. This expansion necessitated some personal sacrifices on the part of the team, such as shift changes to unsociable hours and increased responsibility for the individuals who lead our omnichannel support overnight, but many have risen to the occasion and thrived.

 

What skills and qualities make a successful support team member, particularly for enterprise clients?

The role requires equal parts technical ability and customer service ability.

Speaking to each customer in a way they understand is one of the biggest challenges of the job. This means avoiding using too much technical jargon for clients who are not as technical and not undermining the technically savvy clients by oversimplifying.

This level of communication expertise is crucial to living up to our mantra of providing the “best support in the industry.”

 

What tools and strategies do you use to streamline support processes and maintain efficiency?

A recent focus for the Enterprise Support team has been to become more closely integrated with our product and development teams. This has primarily consisted of the product team hosting a weekly call with all business heads during which they present all of our product’s new and upcoming features.

As our support teams use the Connex platform to provide support, it is crucial that they are aware of all the new features and enhancements as well as typical customer pain points. Connex’s support engineers have a level of expertise that is unmatched by any of our rivals, thanks to their practical experience using our own platform every day.

To maintain efficiency, I regularly conduct 1-to-1 meetings with my team to ensure there are no knowledge gaps and that any issues that arise are addressed.

 

How do you stay updated on evolving customer support technologies and trends?

Well, as I’ve mentioned, being both a user and representative of the Connex platform has helped me stay in tune with the landscape of customer support and how it is evolving.

Over the past 12 months, we have made the transition from using a third-party ticketing platform to using our own internal ticketing system for taking phone calls, emails, live chats, and noting down customer issues.

This change has greatly improved our ability to provide support for our customers, as we are intimately familiar with all the latest features and processes on the system, which I believe sets us apart from other industry leaders who are mostly continuing to use third-party ticketing platforms.

 

Can you share notable achievements or milestones from your time at Connex?

Any notable achievements for myself mainly revolve around the expansion and success of my team.

From the few original enterprise engineers to the large team we have now, we were the first of our support team to expand to 24-hour support, 365 days a year. This was a huge step forward for the company, allowing us to promise dedicated support engineers to our global client base around the clock, which was essential for attracting new business in the Americas and APAC regions.

Additionally, the Enterprise Support team has recently been nominated for “Best Client Support Team” at both the Engage Awards and the Prolific North Tech Awards. This is a huge achievement for my team, and it shows that we are recognised for our industry-leading standards across the board.


What do you find most rewarding about leading Enterprise Support, and what advice would you offer to aspiring support professionals?

Leading the team and growing with the company is rewarding in and of itself.

If I were not in this role, I would not have been able to recruit and train so many wonderful people and also give my feedback to the business on where changes need to be made to the processes.

I have contributed to lots of process changes that have had a clear positive impact on the team and their morale, which is satisfying to see as a happy team is a productive team, and a productive team contributes to the support department as a whole.

 

What are your goals for the Enterprise Support team, and how do you see the future of enterprise customer support?

My goals for the team are to continue providing the highest quality of customer support in the industry, growing the team with the company, and meeting our customer’s needs. I also intend to continue to look out for my team, raising any concerns and improving processes along the way if they are inefficient or need tweaking.

As Connex continues to improve and grow as a product, I will need to look at expanding the team and making specialised departments to deal with different aspects of the product in a “subject matter expert” approach. This will be a pretty big undertaking, but I am excited to see where the team will go from here.


On this year’s Customer Service Week, Connex would like to thank Ethan and the entire Customer Support team for their incredible contributions to helping our clients worldwide and their positive impact throughout our organisation.

To learn more about working at Connex or to apply to join our brilliant team of Connexers, check out the Careers Hub to see our latest vacancies and submit your CV for consideration.

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