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”

A day in the life of a live chat Happiness Engineer

I lead a WordPress.com live chat team at Automattic, and as we expand our live chat offering into the weekends, I work a couple of weekend days each month. Today is one of those weekend workdays for me.

On weekends I do more customer-facing-support and less team-lead stuff than I do during the week, and I’m excited to share my experiences in direct support to help folks who are looking to become Happiness Engineers see what the day-to-day job is like. Continue reading “A day in the life of a live chat Happiness Engineer”

The power of self-demand

People in general, and knowledge workers in particular, grow according to the demands they place on themselves… If they demand little of themselves, they will remain stunted. If they demand a good deal of themselves, they will grow to giant stature.

— Peter Drucker, The Effective Executive

I’m spending the morning under a blanket, transcribing underlined passages from professional development books into a notebook I can carry with me in my laptop bag. As our daughter challenges herself to baking a new type of cake, and piping a new type of frosting, this quote from The Effective Executive resonated with me.

Originally published on Butterfly Mind, December 2016.

Tools I use for task and time management

This week’s SupportDriven writing challenge focuses on tools, and specifically on the tools we use for time and task management. When I moved into a leadership role this summer, my day-to-day work changed significantly, and in any given week I’m trying 2 or 3 different tools to find an effective combination that helps me get the right work done on the deadlines I’ve committed to.

This past month, I think I finally found it. Continue reading “Tools I use for task and time management”

Ecologist to… Happiness Engineer? The evolution of one career in support.

Growing up, I did well in math and science — areas I was told repeatedly I was special to do well in. I felt a sense of rarity, and thought, “If I’m good in these, when others struggle, then this is where I should direct my life.”

By the time I arrived in college, it did not occur to me to study anything other than science. Continue reading “Ecologist to… Happiness Engineer? The evolution of one career in support.”