CPay Talks: Q&A with Head of Support, Elias Vilochkin
How did you end up in this profession? How did you realise what exactly you wanted to do?
Initially I started working in Finance, but it was too routine for me so I decided to try something different. I chose marketing, a sphere that allows you to combine creative and analytical skills. So I started digging deep into marketing theory, because I wanted to get a better feel for consumers in general. Work in the support department of a leading social network was ideal for this — I got in touch with different people from all over the world, I got to know their interests, desires, and their way of thinking. However, very soon I realised that customer support is a more complex and profound element of the product than it seemed to me at first. So what I initially saw as a step on the way to the goal, turned out to be the goal itself. As they say, it’s not the destination that’s important, but the journey.
Do you have any rules that help you work productively?
Sure, I do. With everything I do, I know that proper preparation is key. Before taking on something, I must completely emerge myself within the subject, concentrating solely on the task I have, while clearing my head of any distractions. Only that way, in my opinion, can work be done qualitatively from the first try. Also, it is very important to carefully manage multitasking. If there is any long-term project and, while I’m working on it, I need to solve smaller problems simultaneously, then I split the project into stages and take on something else only when a given stage is completed. This way, at any point of time my work always has a finished product. I am convinced that a person who does several things at once has a great chance to never finish any of them and in fact will simply spend time at work, rather than actually work.
What brought you to Cryptopay?
At first, I was invited to Cryptopay for a consulting position on a part-time basis. There was already a support department in the company at that time, and quite a good one, to be frank. But, for the most part, it was being developed on the fly. No developed growth system, no agreed-upon processes, not even a formulated general idea. After my first days of work on this project, I realized that an advisory role would not be enough. Almost every part of the department structure had to be built from scratch. This task became truly mine, so I couldn’t imagine myself just organising main processes and moving on. I was interested in developing the Cryptopay support as my own product and till today I keep growing, just as the whole department does. And that’s one of the things I like the most.
So how is the whole working process of the Cryptopay support department organised?
At the core of our internal processes, as well as, in my opinion, at the heart of the whole blockchain community, there are two basic things — common sense and freedom. Without them, everything else is just pointless.
In your opinion what are three main characteristics of a successful support department?
The human approach. Support is the main channel to contact the Company through so it must be human. This concept is important not only to answer clients’ questions, but also to feel every client. After all, every person really needs to be communicated not by a soulless machine, not a mannequin, but a human being. A model support agent is capable of understanding a person’s needs, sympathising with the problem or even just laughing together with the client.
An optimistic outlook. There must be no chance for users to feel blamed for something or limited in the possibilities. Nothing is impossible. All answers containing a refusal in any form, or any other undesirable news from the user’s perspective, should be provided with empathy, compassion and sympathy. A great support agent can be in tune with a user when they’re feeling down, but at the same time can provide a positive perspective for them no matter how dire the situation.
Immersion in the product and the industry at large. Only by a thorough understanding of the service, is it possible to prove an adequate support for our users. And only by knowing the supported service from A to Z our support specialists can really become competent guides for it. Last, but not the least, only by realising the main values of the blockchain community, can you communicate with its representatives and stay on the same page with them.
How do you recruit people to your team? Who is the ideal Cryptopay support specialist?
I recruit people for my team same as the watchmaker selects each detail. They can be different and perform a various set of functions, but only together is it a capable, coherent mechanism. During the whole recruitment process I am guided by several objective criteria and flair. As for the qualities, it is hardly worth talking about such skills like literacy and critical thinking — these go without saying. The main thing that I want to see in a candidate is that they are capable and that they have the desire to do more. I do not want to waste my time and the company’s money on those who consider support work as negligible or low-skilled job. I want my people to grow with this company, because support teams traditionally have a great level of camaraderie at IT-companies.
In what circumstances would you say your best thoughts and ideas come to you?
In conversations with people who have some level of expertise or a different perspective than that of my own. It is generally very important — to surround yourself with people, to the level that you want to strive to. This doesn’t let you relax too much and keeps your thoughts in a tone. By the way, this is an important addition to the previous question — the person I’m hiring should be better than me in something. Only in that way can my team constantly continue to develop and grow.
Can you remember the best day at work? Maybe the worst day? How was it?
The first thing that comes to mind — is the worst day. I remember it like it was yesterday.
I was on vacation in Thailand. In the morning I received an email stating that our card program had closed. In accordance to Murphy’s law, I was on the other end of the island from my hotel, having only my phone on me. From the very first words of the email, I realized that my vacation had come to an end. Suddenly I physically felt bad. It wasn’t panic — just my brain, accustomed to a measured tropical life, suddenly began to work at a three-fold speed. I threw away the onigiri and coffee, my planned breakfast, jumped on a bike and rushed to my hotel as fast as possible, disregarding all possible traffic rules. While I was on my way, I managed to call my deputy, our head of marketing and several other colleagues, so that by the time I got to my laptop, we had already drafted a master plan, and by the end of the day everything was done. Truly my worst working day.