WordPress.com to WooCommerce

April 2, 2019 marks one year since I started “officially” at Automattic. The past twelve months have been a terrific journey — speaking with thousands of WordPress.com users, seeing their challenges firsthand and working with developers on priotizing issues.

I can confidently say I love what I am doing here, but I figured I needed to experience other parts of support at Automattic as well.

Automattic has this process called rotations — wherein, you can jump to another team doing similar work with a different product. I will be doing just that in Q2 of 2019; I am moving from WordPress.com support to WooCommerce support for three months.

Rotations are not limited to Happiness (support) division, but there are rotations within product teams as well.

There’s also another process called support rotations, wherein new hires would start their first two-weeks in Happiness division. It does not matter where one’s core work lies; whether one is a designer, developer, working in finance, or working in any role, one would be spending the first two-weeks answering customer queries on email and live chat.

I have experience in working with WordPress sites (both WordPress.org and WordPress.com) but I cannot say the same about WooCommerce.

I have known WooCommerce as a plugin to build e-commerce stores at the outset, but it does have a massive potential to do things beyond simple stores. I am looking forward to learning more of WooCommerce extensions, WooCommerce apps, and bring back these lessons to my home team.

One year at Automattic

I cannot believe I have been here for one year already, time flies! While technically I started at Automattic only by April 2, 2018, I started on the Happiness Engineer trial process by Feb 21, 2018. That makes it one year at Automattic.

I am happy about what I have learned so far, achieved and I am thankful for the opportunity to be here.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

It started with a team meetup (yes, my second week of being a full-time Happiness Engineer was at my team meetup in Singapore) and has come a long way to having the comfort of working from anywhere — I have worked from home, visited relatives in various cities, friends, and traveled with colleagues to Vietnam for a localmatticians meetup.

One of the key reasons to why I am very happy with my job goes to the first line of the Automattic creed — I will never stop learning.

Being a Happiness Engineer has been rewarding with a lot lessons to learn every day. You get to chat to the millions of users, see what their problems are, see how you can address it and work with the product teams to prioritise them.

Outside of core work as well, there is a lot of time to invest in learning new skills, which the team, lead and the company is very supportive of.

Another reason why I am very comfortable at what I do goes back to the creed again — I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. In the span of one year, I have sent over 35,000 Slack messages and have done numerous internal blog posts!

What’s next for me? I have been learning to code and I hope I will be building my own Gutenberg block or WordPress plugin. πŸ™‚

Matt on distributed/remote work

Automattic’s CEO, Matt, spoke on distributed work and how we approach it.

My first job was at Freshworks Inc. and I jumped ship in approximately 8 months, in favour of remote/distributed work.

Primary reasons behind the change:

  • I get to work from the comfort of my home.
  • I choose my own work schedule. I initially chose to work from 10am to 6pm, but these days, I work from 5.30am to 1.30pm. See how it gives me the flexibility to focus on personal things during the rest of the day?
  • I am not really comfortable working/being around many people. A small group’s fine, but when there are many around, not necessarily talking to me, I find it tough to focus on my work. Traditional office spaces is a no-go for me.
  • I am also able to leverage my skills to the best – I am more comfortable with written communication/documentation over in-life communication. It’s tiny things like this that bring out improved work results, productivity and help one to do better at their job.

One of my coworkers also wrote on “Thriving as a remote worker“, which you should read.

There are tons of other benefits to distributed work – GitLab.com has put together an interesting handbook on how they manage their company, and a website on remote work on how others approach it.

Uber's example of proactive customer support

There are two kinds of customer support.

  • Reactive customer support
  • Proactive customer support

When you help an user fix their problem once they reach out on email, phone, SMS, or any other medium you offer support on, that’s reactive customer support.

On the other hand, when you identify product loopholes and reach out to the customer with a resolution before they notice it, that’s proactive customer support.

“We had wrongly charged Rs.28.35 in your previous trip because of satellite tolls, we have credited back Rs.28.35 to your charged card/account. If you have taken a cash trip please check for credits in your Uber app.”

Uber had sent that over email two days ago, and that’s a classic example of offering proactive customer support. πŸ’―

This infographic by Freshdesk shows how the two stack up against each other.

This also reminds me of this webinar I attended a while ago, again by Freshdesk, with best practices on how to offer proactive customer support.

WordPress is now 15 years old πŸ’–

🎁On the 27th of May, 2003, the first version of WordPress launched for the general public.
I didn’t use WordPress until 2010. I first discovered WordPress when I was in my 10th grade. That’s when I started using WordPress, for tech blogging.
It has been a beautiful experience since, converting my ideas to products and services, with WordPress. I am not a coder, but WordPress has made most of my dreams come true. These, otherwise, wouldn’t have been possible.
WordPress is not just a software. It’s an idea, an idea to help democratise publishing. “We want users, regardless of device or ability, to be able to publish content and maintain a website or application built with WordPress.” —Β accessibility page on WordPress. The community’s belief in this idea has made WordPress successful over the years.
In the past 15 years, WordPress has made many dreams come true. Many businesses thrive on WordPress. At the time of writing this post, WordPress powers 30% of the internet. 30% of all the websites on the internet run on WordPress!
Everyone’s success wouldn’t have been possible without WordPress. WordPress wouldn’t have been possible without the WordPress community, and I salute them.
πŸŽ‚Thank you, #WordPress. Thank you for changing my life. πŸ’–

I am joining Automattic

I have an exciting news to share today.

I am joining Automattic as a Happiness Engineer. Automattic is the company behind WordPress.com, Jetpack, WooCommerce and many other tools that you use every day. As a Happiness Engineer, I will responsible for creating happy, passionate and loyal customers.

Without doubt, this is a role that I have been looking forward to, for many months now. This is an exciting journey and I couldn’t be more proud of having come so far.

I am grateful for all my colleagues at Automattic, at Freshworks Inc, and my parents, for having been supportive of this all along. Thank you for being there!

Learn more about Automattic. We’re also hiring!
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Last day at Freshworks Inc.

Today was my last day at Freshworks Inc. While I had been anticipating this day to be the most exciting day, it’s not.
I wish I could take my team from Freshworks Inc. to wherever I am moving next on my journey.
To sum it up, I feel bad and sad about the last week at Freshworks Inc. I had a fun ride though, and got to work with the best talents in the industry. I will definitely miss everyone I got a chance to work with.
It feels lonely over here. But, I guess I will have to get accustomed to this now, if I am sure about remote jobs being my primary choice.