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How to Turn a Life-Long Passion Into a Meaningful Customer Support Career

 
 

March 17, 2022

Olivia Schmitt

 

Some of us take a meandering path as we search for our passion. Others, like Vice President of Technical Support Amit Deshpande, find their passion early on.

“As I was growing up, I was always inclined towards the technical aspect of things,” Amit says. “I remember taking my family’s radio apart and learning to put it back together. I messed up a few radios along the way. But that’s where my technical journey started.” Since then, Amit’s entire technology career — for nearly 30 years — has been in support.

Connecting with opportunity

Amit also loves talking to people and solving problems, and his education as an engineer has given him many opportunities for both.

“Most successful companies thrive because they’re great in support,” he says. “It's one thing to sell the product, but to keep it running, you need top-notch support. Knowing that helped me find work I wanted to do and love to do.”

Before joining Salesforce, Amit worked at IBM, where he became intrigued with the cloud, what it could do, and where the technology was headed. Later, at the consulting firm HCL Technologies, he led the Salesforce support team. A few years later, he had the opportunity to join Salesforce, already as an acknowledged leader in cloud technology.

“A tech support leader at Salesforce reached out to me.” Amit recalls. “It meant I would have to change cities and move to Hyderabad. But it allowed me to follow my passion.”

 

Customers, technology, and culture

Having worked as a vendor for Salesforce, Amit already knew quite a few people at the company. He reached out to learn more about the organization, and several things stood out to him:

  • The customer-first philosophy. “Everything we do must first be for the customer. That really resonated with me because I love helping customers.”
  • The Innovation. “The future is the cloud, and Salesforce is already number one. Salesforce looks at what customers want and then delivers. A classic example is the way the organization created new clouds, like Vaccine Cloud and Safety Cloud to help during the pandemic.”
  • The culture. “As the support delivery leader, I have very close interactions with everyone in support, and it’s always fascinating to see how important employees are for Salesforce, and how the company wants to take care of them.”

Hiring not just more people, but the right people

Certainly, the move to Hyderabad came with challenges for Amit. A new city. New schools for his kids. Different routines. And a team that was growing at an ever-increasing rate, which increased the importance of recruiting.

“With an organization growing at a fast-pace, getting more people — the right people — at the speed and scale required to be successful at Salesforce is one of the most important tasks, something I continue to work on.”

Over the last year, while managing the APAC support team for Sales Cloud and a team of close to 1,200 for the Hyderabad hub, Amit has been overseeing a significant transformation in the way Salesforce delivers support. That transformation emphasizes ease and simplicity.

“Not only should it be easy to reach us,” he says, “but customers should be instantly connected to the right engineer who can solve their problem. Whatever process we have, the first things we ask ourselves are, ‘Is it easy? Is it simple?’ Then, ‘Who is it for?’ Is it for us or the customer? It must be for the customer.”

Customer support and customer success, joined at the hip

When asked about the relationship between customer support and customer success, Amit is quick to respond: “They’re joined at the hip — or they’re two arms of a single person.”

He points out that greater adoption of technology is a key to success, but it must be the right product in the first place. Offering the right product will automatically reduce support requirements.

“It’s especially important to have a feedback loop between developers, customer support, and customer success. That way we can constantly improve products and spot potential issues before they even reach the customer. The best support case is no case. A functioning feedback loop means we can reach out to a customer and resolve an issue before it actually happens.”

Making a difference by giving back

When not helping create a next-generation model for technical support, Amit enjoys giving back to his community. The Salesforce emphasis on giving back and its voluntary time off (VTO) policy were another aspect of Salesforce culture that won him over. Although in-person activities have dropped off because of the pandemic, he enjoys visiting elder-care homes and children’s orphanages.

“We are so privileged,” he says. “Even the small things we can do make a big difference. My kids also participate in VTOs, which we used to do quite regularly. At one girls’ orphanage, we would help with reading, writing, and learning English.”

When he needs to relax and rejuvenate, Amit’s two favorite activities are cooking and taking long drives with his family.

“In Hyderabad, my team is on 24/7. I work deep into the night. My sleep patterns are quite different from the rest of the family, so spending time with my family is something I cherish.”

Look for work that you love

Having worked at Salesforce for five years, Amit believes it’s a great place to build a career. He offers this advice to those considering a career with the company:

“It’s important for new hires or folks already in the company to identify their skills and strengths. Then look for roles that really interest you, that you really want to do. Salesforce is very fast-paced, and people need to constantly upgrade their skills so they can apply for roles that excite them. Salesforce encourages you to look for work that you love and that makes you happy.”

If, like Amit, you're ready for a new challenge, check out our open roles in Customer Success. Visit our careers site today to get started.
 
 

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