How to Work with Your Engineering Team When the Heat Is On


Team management ideas, activities and models

When something goes wrong, you need to know that you’ve got the right team to handle any crisis. You need to make sure you build your team early with the right people in place, and have a place to meet when things aren’t going to plan.
But often, customer service teams and engineering teams don’t work together unless there’s a disaster, and need a way to communicate during such events.

It’s important that your team know how and where to talk to one another and also how to talk to customers about any unfolding events.
Sorry™ Guide to Weathering the Storm

Here are some suggestions for how to get your customer service and engineering teams on the same page when the heat is on.

Imagine for a moment that your business is actually 5-star restaurant

Engineers become the line cooks, each proudly taking care of their part of the meal, carefully chopping that database, or flambéing the web server configuration.

The customer service agents are the waiters, speaking directly to their customers, ensuring they’re happy and that the food and service they’re receiving is exactly as they expect it to be.

However in the heat of a busy lunch service so many things can go wrong, and as the cooks in the kitchen scurry around trying to extinguish the chip-pan fire, or find a way around the late delivery of groceries, communication between themselves and the waiters becomes frantic.

If your customers are having to tell you that your service is down, then you’re already on the back foot.

Sorry™ Guide to Weathering the Storm

Waiters feeling confused and frustrated fumble the way in which they talk to customers, who are left waiting for their food, unaware of how the chaos in the kitchen is truly affecting them – will they be able to eat before they have to head back to the office?
In a restaurant they solve this chaos with a Maitre’ D, who is ringmaster and public face of the restaurant – think of them as your Customer Service Manager.

The Maitre’ D will start each day with a full walk around of the kitchen and seating areas with an eye on every detail, from writing the specials board and memorising wine choices, to the seating of customers.

They have spent many years working with chefs, they understand their language. Organising waiters so they execute the delivery of their customers’ meals has become second nature.

How can you help your team run as smoothly as a busy restaurant at lunchtime service?

Nominate a ringmaster to be the public face for your business.

Have your Customer Service Manager spend time shadowing your developers so they can understand the engineering process.

Like knowing the best wine to drink with today’s special, have them turn complicated updates into easy to understand messages and communicate these into your organisation. This will help manage expectations and any disappointments along the way.

Together, the team and its new ringmaster will help keep tensions low and provide a friendly place to work. Your customers gain lasting positive and noteworthy memories about how seamlessly executed your service is.Webinar: Conquering the top 5 customer support mistakes

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About the author
Robin Geall

Robin is CEO & Co Founder of Sorry™, a believer that the best way to deal with a crisis is to get the word out there and talk to your customers directly - not hide behind canned responses, performance metrics or hollow excuses. Through the use of the Sorry™ status page platform, support and education Robin is helping companies open up, discuss their shortfalls and build up trust.

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