Weekly routines of a Distributed Support Team Lead

Earlier this week, I wrote about my daily routines as the lead of a distributed customer support team. While I do have rituals and routines in my daily work, as a lead I’ve found it is the weekly routines that empower me to be productive and make sure I follow through on expectations and commitments.

With weeks that have more than a dozen one-on-ones (1:1s), multiple video calls, team and division tracking, and anywhere from two to ten P2 (internal blog) drafts to review, edit, and write, the week rather than the day is the time frame I most identify with for planning and containing my work.

When I first began as a lead, I struggled mightily with how to organize my time to make sure I could stay on top of everything. After a little over a year, Continue reading “Weekly routines of a Distributed Support Team Lead”

Daily Routines of a Distributed Support Team Lead

My name is Andrea Badgley, and I lead a distributed team of 12 Happiness Engineers (customer support professionals) at Automattic, the maker of WordPress.com, Jetpack, and WooCommerce. I am based in Virginia in the eastern US, and my 11 teammates are based in Canada, the US, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, and wherever they happen to be travelling in any week or month of the year (one US-based teammate is currently working and nomading in South America). All of us are within 3-4 time zones of each other, depending on who’s on Daylight Savings Time and when, and it only took me about a year to stop being jarred when our Brazilian teammates are wearing wool hats and winter coats while those of us in North America are wearing shorts and flip flops.

I’ve been with Automattic for three years, first as a live chat Happiness Engineer, and for the past 16 months as a team lead, and I’m so accustomed to Continue reading “Daily Routines of a Distributed Support Team Lead”

Take Control! Techniques for Efficient Live Chatting

I gave a talk this past weekend at SDX Portland on tips for controlling and ending chats. Here are the slides and script 🙂

Live chat is fast. That’s why it’s great for customers, and that’s why it’s a challenge for support professionals. Unlike email support, the customer is waiting for answers in real time, and unlike phone support, a live chat agent is often handling multiple conversations simultaneously.

If you watch the Support Driven Slack, you’ll see questions pop up about live chat at least once per week. Along with staffing, two of the biggest concerns with live chat that repeatedly appear are: Continue reading “Take Control! Techniques for Efficient Live Chatting”

SupConf: a conference organizer's dream come true

Photo credit Lance Conzett.

Several months ago, Scott Tran of the Support Driven community asked me some questions about an internal mini-conference I had organized for Automattic‘s annual meetup. He was thinking about organizing a conference for support professionals, and he’d never organized a conference before.

I was excited to share what I knew, as little as it was. I had never organized a public conference before, either. We laughed, swapped stories, and signed off of our call smiling and happy.

A couple of weeks later, Continue reading “SupConf: a conference organizer's dream come true”