On Zipling and Customer Support: What Two Passions Can Learn From Each Other

The sun danced through the wise, old trees as the familiar ‘ziiiiiip’ hummed all around me. In my head I did a quick check. I had sent four people across the cable and had four more brave soles huddled on a platform around the trunk of our tree 100 feet above the safe, sturdy ground. I followed the caribiners and webbing anchored from the trunk to the harness of my next zipliner and looked in to her eyes, smiled, and said ‘How about it?’.

Sometimes that would be met with an eager ‘Hell yeah!’, sometimes a quiet nod and fairly often a look of ‘why did I ever let you take me up here?’.

That moment where you connect, trust, and move forward together is why I’ve felt called to guide through out the last couple years. This has looked like guiding ziplining trips in the Tongass rainforest, climbing mountains in Colorado or kayaking in the Northwest. Currently, it looks like being a Happiness Hero for customers at Buffer. I think these adventures are quite one in the same in terms of the fulfillment I receive!

I see guiding as taking something you really love and enjoy and helping people, if they’d like, get to that same place.

With Buffer I like to think about it a bit broader than helping people go on that one time adventure, like ziplining might be, and focus more on teaching people to move from their call for adventure to planning, preparing and setting off on their own trip. Perhaps something like moving from ‘It would be cool to have a way to tweet overnight’ to ‘I’m going to use the power scheduler in Buffer to share this blog post four different times and hit different audiences’.

I’ve also found that a number of lessons aren’t exclusive to mountaintops or rivers. I’ve seen that listening can prevent things from snowballing — listening to the darkening clouds peeking over that ridge line as well as the tweets coming in reporting a similar bug. I’ve learned how remaining fully engaged can be a powerful tool for connection— whether that’s looking someone in the eye as you hold them on a cable in the sky or emailing a customer back as you would an old friend. I remind myself to be humbled often as the learning goes both ways— the unadultured giggle of someone getting splashed in the face by a wave on the river reminds me to stay passionate as does the very, very kind and excited emails from customers as they just discovered a tool that frees up half their day.

Listening, full engagement and humility feel like really powerful ways to connect with people and teach on how to feel comfortable with Buffer. I by no means get these right all the time and feel lucky to have encouragement as I work on these skills.

As I write about all of this, I’m curious if anyone else has pretty different passions that are driven by similar motives? While helping someone rock climb for the first time looks a bit different than walking someone through connecting their twitter profile to Buffer, I feel driven by hopefully opening up a whole new world to people(sorry Aladdin).

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