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When customers need help, they expect swift answers. Customer support engineers provide top-notch service while simultaneously improving the overall customer service process. Their job is to technically understand a company’s entire product and service offering so they can handle escalated support requests. They are empathetic, technically skilled problem solvers with a knack for digging to the root of problems and offering solutions. Customer support engineers regularly engage with other support technicians and colleagues in engineering, sales, and marketing. Their role is to work with other departments to ensure that a business is truly meeting customer needs. Many customer support engineers work full-time or part-time in an office or remote working environment.
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Customer Support Engineer Duties and Responsibilities
While a customer support engineer’s day-to-day duties and responsibilities are determined by where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these include:
Provide Technical Customer Service
Combining technical expertise with customer service is their primary responsibility. Customer support engineers serve on the front lines by answering questions and troubleshooting technical problems through phone, email, and chat. They assist customers with onboarding of a company's product or service and also guide clients through installation and updating issues as needed.
Lead Issue Tracking
Customer support engineers track issues and incoming requests across different teams. They analyze how their company's audience is using support documentation in order to quantify opportunities for customer improvement. Their position shields other technical departments from disruptions and stagnation.
Oversee Customer Service Improvements
Customer support engineers are also tasked with following up on customer service interactions to measure customer happiness. They improve customer support quality by studying and re-designing processes, setting up and communicating service metrics, monitoring and evaluating results, and implementing changes. They track and report on all service escalations to create improvement plans.
Recommend Product Improvements
Helping with product improvement is another key task of customer support engineers. With expert guidance, they identify patterns and contribute to product and system improvements. Communicating with managers to report suggestive takeaways is another responsibility. Support engineers help to improve processes and systems at the companies they work for.
Write Support Documentation
Customer support engineers own and create all product and service related technical documentation. They author text and build new tools to increase support flows. On any given day, they may update a website, add help tips to internal support apps, or update phone scripts for customer-facing help centers. Customer support engineers make sure that their company onboarding guides are useful, convenient, and easily accessed both internally and externally.
Customer Support Engineer Skills and Qualifications
Customer support engineers are energetic self-starters with a basic technical background and excellent communication skills. A technically related bachelor’s or associate’s degree and a minimum of one years’ customer service experience is typically sought out. Employers also prefer candidates who possess the following abilities:
- Customer service - customer support engineers monitor and respond to phone requests, email, or chat about technical cases for new and existing customers
- Technical troubleshooting - every day support engineers handle technical support cases to ensure issues are recorded, tracked, resolved, and follow ups are done in a timely manner
- Data analysis - support engineers develop insights from multiple data sources and advocate for actions that benefit both the customer and business outcomes
- Writing skills - drafting technical documents, manuals, resolution steps, training materials, and technical support FAQs is a key responsibility of this role
- Communication skills - customer support engineers must communicate clearly to both technical and non-technical people
- Analytical skills - conducting root-cause analysis for technical issues is a key component of this role
- Organization skills - customer support engineers must multi-task and prioritize multiple support requests under time constraints
Tools of the Trade
Customer support engineers work in an office environment and are comfortable using the following software and equipment in a typical workday:
Computer Hardware (Windows PC and Macintosh)
Customer Support Software (Zendesk, Help Scout)
Microsoft Office (including Excel and Word)
Customer Support Engineer Education and Training
It is common for customer support engineers to have a bachelor’s degree or associate’s degree in a technical field. Employers look for a minimum one year of experience in a technical customer service role such as: software, network databases, hardware or desktops. Normally, having additional technical support certifications makes a candidate even more attractive.
Customer Support Engineer Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median hourly wage for customer service representatives is $15.81. The lowest 10 percent of workers in this field earn less than $10.27 per hour. The highest 10 percent earned more than $26.12 per hour.
Industry employment of customer service representatives is predicted to grow 5 percent through 2026, which the BLS notes is about as fast as the average for all occupations. Some customer support engineers who work full-time get additional benefits such as health insurance and 401(K).
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