I’m a rock star, WordPress is my instrument
I’ve been called a rock star, a genius, a hero on numerous occasions; and if I had a dollar for every “thank you” that I got, coming from the depth of a human soul, I’d buy a tropical island. I’m not a star, my IQ is pretty average and the only things I save are files.
I do tech support for an awesome company that develops WordPress themes and plugins. Some companies like Automattic (the people behind wordpress.com) call people like me “Happiness Engineers”. I like that term, I like the idea of crafting happiness. But in all fairness, I just do tech support.
I always imagined being the tech support guy sucked. You sit in a cubicle and answer the same questions over and over again, the highlight of the day being when a customer, obviously from a different universe, asks some mind-blowing question and you get to tell the story to your team.
To add to that I imagined the number of irritated customers who talk to you like it’s your fault that something doesn't work on their end, because obviously you are more than just a random guy answering calls/emails, you’re part of the board of directors and you make decisions…so yeah, who would want to be a tech support guy?
I guess this issue still exists in different companies. Nobody considers tech support as a career, it’s something you want to do until you get promoted or you finish that coding class you signed up for and you get a junior developer position, etc.
I think that if you’re in the right place, it’s the best job in the world and if I were to do tech support for the rest of my life I’d say it’s not too bad. (Obviously I want to be a professional traveler who earns his living by writing on his travel blog, but let’s get back to real life.)
So, how come I think that tech support people will save the world?
Tech support people are the modern-day working class heroes. They do much of the “dirty” work so designers, developers and other employees can focus on their things.
If you’re a CEO (or owner, or equivalent) you don’t want your developers to deal with every little thing that comes up on a daily basis. You can’t afford having them at the front desk, you need them in the engine room. So you hire fairly skilled, friendly people who deal with customers and entry-level technical issues. Everybody’s happy.
Ok, nothing new about that one, call centers and helplines existed since the middle ages (I guess?).
One difference is that today everything is an app or some kind of software or at least has an app or some kind of software associated with it, it’s how the world works. Can people keep up with all that? Do people have time to keep up with everything? Not really…but do they have an alternative? Quite frequently they need a person to help them to stay afloat.
Another difference is that everyone can speak up and everyone can see that, it’s the world wide web after all. If your support is crap, people will find out; also, if your support is awesome, people will find out.
In a world of fierce competition, happiness engineering can make a difference.
Support can hold the lines while issues are fixed in the background, support can suggest intelligent workarounds to achieve something that is not readily available; and of course support gives instant solutions to various issues.
So having motivated and helpful support staff is essential for your business. Sitting in a cubicle, following a script and trying to get rid of a customer because you’re supposed to deal with everyone in 10 minutes to meet the daily target doesn't help.
Companies do realize this and they treat support staff as essential members of the team. Even if they work remotely, even if it’s an outsourcing company we talk about, support adds great value to your product, so technicians are a highly valuable resource.
We deliver quality services, we craft happiness and we must do it with an honest smile on our faces.
Frankly, it’s not even about the money, I don’t need a developer paycheck, I know that I’m an all-rounder, I know bits and pieces of everything but I’m not a specialist in anything; a vibrant, motivating work environment can do magic. Give me the opportunity to develop, keep me connected to the industry and I will love my job.
I’ll be the rock star, the genius, the hero your business needs.