Hi everyone! This may have been my largest stint between posts… two weeks! So much has happened in that time. I continue to learn, grow and work through the Trial. As I have just over a week left to go, I thought I would share my thoughts so far and perhaps my goals for the final stint. I hope this is a helpful post to those who are looking to apply soon… 🙂
Preparing for the Trial
After my first application, I did a lot of preparing before I applied again. (You can find an out line of that on my post: I Reapplied! – A Review of the Last Three Months.) But here, I thought I would list some skills one could work on in preparing for the Trial specifically. Of course, some of these would apply to other parts of the application, too. Consistent growth in these areas would definitely be beneficial.
While this may seem obvious, I can not stress it enough. Happiness Engineers are the experts of WordPress.com and all things Automattic. Since there is a ton of information you only have access to once you start the Trial, everyday is going to be full of learning new stuff. You don’t want to have to spend that time learning information that was already public to you before then.
There are a few ways to learn the ins-and-outs of WordPress.com, even before the Trial starts. These are my personal recommendations…
- Create a WordPress.com blog
- Going through every detail listed at https://learn.wordpress.com/ will give you a sold foundation to start on.
- If you have experience with self-hosted WordPress, then all the more, create a new site here and test it out! Figuring out the “limitations” and “possibilities” of the customer using WordPress.com, as opposed to self-hosted WordPress, will be invaluable.
- Understand the plans
- A solid understanding of the different features provided to each plans is a plus ( https://wordpress.com/pricing/ ).
- If you have the financial liberty to, (I didn’t ?,) creating multiple sites using the different plans would be another way to experience the differences of plans.
- Study the Support Docs ( https://en.support.wordpress.com/ )
- Often times, a Happiness Engineers will mention a support doc to a customer they are helping. These docs come with images and videos and the graphic representation of information can be so much more helpful to some users. Have a good understanding of these and where to find info when you need it!
- Sometimes the support docs will mention procedures that can only be done by Happiness Engineers, such as dealing with the error message below when installing plugins. That is the type of information you will be presented with once the Trial starts.
Have a Support Philosophy
Part of the pre-Trial application process is designed to see if you already have a strong philosophy of support. And for a good reason, too… You won’t have time to start making one from scratch once you’re in!
While on Trial, there is constant feedback and advice from your buddy (full-time HE assigned to help you out) and other employees of Automattic, not just HEs either. While everyone does seek constant improvement in their support skills and philosophy (there are internal resources about that, too!), the Trial is not designed to teach someone how to support a customer for the first time.
After the first few days, you are “let out into the wild”, per se. You start interacting with customers on your own right from the beginning. I have to agree to what another HE said: This is not an entry position into customer support. Any experience and knowledge you can have before the Trial starts will definitely help you through. (I definitely recommend helping out in the WordPress.com Support Forums as much as you can before the Trial starts.)
Every plan at WordPress.com comes with a free credit to use with a domain. You can purchase a new domain through WordPress.com or map a domain you already own. Helping customers with their domain-related questions is part of the Happiness Engineer job description. That is why any knowledge/understanding you can get about domains before the Trial starts will also be a big plus!
My first recommendation is to start by studying WordPress.com’s very own All About Domains support page. See all the links on that page? Click them and read them. If there are any concepts you’re not sure about, Google it. While there are internal resources that will help with understanding domains once the Trial starts, and some processes will become clearer once you encounter user errors or help them through the processes, I recommend trying to get a good head start before then.
Goals for the Final stretch
This is a brief set of personal goals I have set as I enter the final stretch of the Trial now. Hopefully, these will get me to that dream-job of working at Automattic…
- Improve customer interaction quantity
- Improve on-the-go bug investigating/reporting
- That is, figuring out what the customer is facing while talking to them
- Learn from my own mistakes so far, applying those lessons to new scenarios I face
- Continue to communicate with others
This Trial could literally be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. One way or another, it’s ending soon. Despite all the pressure (I am putting on myself) and stress (I feel), I want to be able to enjoy the experience and come out a better ME as a result of it!