At WP Engine, Technical Support Isn\’t A Dirty Word

It’s easy to think that being on the Technical Support team at WP Engine means days and nights spent troubleshooting WordPress sites. And while as a company we do indeed do that 24/7, that’s nowhere near the charter of our Support Teams.

 

At most companies, Technical Support is looked at like a call center. That is, you’re there to answer calls, chats, or tickets in a certain amount of time and you have a quota of how many you need to respond to by typically following a script or automated prompts to provide the exact same information over and over again. Therefore, you’re not strategic to the company, but rather a necessary evil required to keep the lights on, and a department to be treated like a machine versus a group of passionate human beings. It’s robotic and lacks a human touch. And, frankly, it’s why many approach the term “Technical Support” with skepticism.

 

At WP Engine, Technical Support is exactly the opposite. Our Technical Support– our service — is a big part of our product (and one of our clear differentiators in the managed WordPress hosting industry). Providing a world class experience is part and parcel of our business, and we include our support as part of that experience.

 

It’s always true that, all else being equal, lowering the cost of service is good, because it increases profit margins and reduces waste (we all hate waste, don’t we?). WP Engine will live or die by our ability to deliver a better experience to our customers, including better support, faster websites, more scalable websites, high-uptime websites, and secure websites; NOT by our ability to take an ever-increasing number of customer calls, chats, or tickets by an untrained staff because it helps the profit margin.

 

For us, Technical Support is an investment area, not a call center.

 

And the people and teams we’re investing in support something amazing! Need proof?

 

WP Engine serves more than 2,000,000,000 (yes, that’s 2 billion!) requests daily from thousands of servers in 13 data centers world-wide. We block 150 million malicious events and transfer 2 petabytes of data every month. We deploy 100 to 200 code changes every week, safely, at scale.

 

And we’re still growing frighteningly fast, which means the challenges never stop coming. It’s hard… but exciting. Scaling our business sees rare events become commonplace and requires an amazing group of individuals possessing the passion and ability to understand customer’s needs before our customers do. Ensuring we’re investing in the right people is what creates this incredible scale and growth.

 

Managing growth is a whole challenge in and of itself. We offer so many opportunities for our Technical Support team members to grow personally and professionally. Our Subject Matter Expert (SME) program, for example, currently consists of 15 subjects for which members of our Technical Support team own responsibility as the expert in that specific subject. We have SMEs on several topics, including CDN, MySQL, GeoIP, SSL, and Staging, just to name a few. These experts are our internal specialists, and ensure our teams continue to grow in knowledge of each subject and assist in the most challenging technical support requests. They also represent our customers when our Product and R&D teams are innovating on that subject. And it’s not just these experts who contribute to the innovation of our business. Every single member of our Technical Support teams can create “suggestions” in our R&D system that are acted on, sometimes in a matter of days! And for those support techs brave enough to want to help make their suggestions reality, we offer a mentor program to help them develop the code and make their dreams become live on our platform!

 

But, we’re not content to just scale the current business. Innovation is the heart of any successful tech company. If you stop innovating, even to the point of disrupting yourself, then you start withering. This is true in our Technical Support organization. Our Support Operations team also works with our Technical Support teams to leverage new technologies ranging from the latest cloud systems to brand new uses for WordPress using the WP REST API. Our world class service requires all kinds of people, including developers, admins, restaurant servers, and even professionally trained chefs (yes we have one on the team).

 

A lot of companies claim to provide the best service. Our customers tell us every single day that we do, just check our Twitter feed!

 

We’re collecting amazing metrics around quality and satisfaction that are brand new to our industry so we can’t write about them yet , but at our scale, these great metrics can’t be achieved without amazing people volunteering their best from our Technical Support team. We all are necessary parts of our success.

 

Finally, we actively support contributing back to WordPress (naturally) and other communities, including Ansible, HHVM, Hadoop, nginx, and anything else we use. Contributing code is one way (our own John Dittmar and Anthony Burchell are WordPress Core Contributors) we support the community, along with speaking at events (our Technical Support team gave more than 15 talks at WordCamps in 2015 alone!) and attending other events across the globe. Some companies say they contribute to their communities, but for us it’s our Fifth Company Value — “Committed to Give Back” — so we really mean it, and we invest time and money in it. It’s not just lip service.

 

So if you’re in Technical Support or love providing amazing customer service, and it sounds like a breath of fresh air to be treated as an investment, then you should apply now and see whether WP Engine might be your new home.

 

The post At WP Engine, Technical Support Isn’t A Dirty Word appeared first on WP Engine.

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