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As a support manager it’s exciting to work for a company that’s experiencing the kind of growth we have with BigCommerce. But with that growth also comes change – increases in support personell, changes to infrastructure to meet demand and changes in the way we want to service our growing base of clients.
In this post I want to cover two parts of our growth strategy for support – our growth in support personell (our support ninjas) and the upcoming change to the hours our support team is available.
New Support Ninjas
If you called into technical support recently, you’ve likely heard a new voice or a new name. Over the last few months we’ve increased our technical support team by 75%. Our goal is consistency – I want every support ninja as knowledgeable and professional as everyone else on their team – even the newbies.
We work hard to find the right people to become our support ninjas; combing through stacks of resumes to find the right skill set and matching potential candidates with the hours of time required for our interview processes (yep, plural).
The typical BigCommerce support candidate experiences 4 to 5 hours of interview time. They’re asked to build their own BigCommerce store and must be able to express and expound upon their store in technical detail. If they make it through phone and in-person interviews in our Austin office, then they have a final interview with Mitch and Eddie, our founders.
If the interview team is 100% in favor of the candidate then we move forward to the hiring process. Typically around 7 people are involved in the interview process, so even if just one says no, we don’t bring the candidate on board.
The Training Process
Once hired, the training for new support ninjas is extensive. For seven to ten days they’re fully immersed in BigCommerce; learning every detail of the BigCommerce control panel, configuring payment gateways, tax rules, product variations, etc.
They do hours of side-by-sides with their mentor and trainers, daily quizzes on the topics of the day, etc – and all the while building a new BigCommerce store to demo to the existing team in a live webinar fashion. At the end of it all, they must pass a 100 question test and score a perfect 100 on it. If they miss any questions we work with them on their problem area and allow them to retake that portion of the test.
After a celebration at our local burger shop (mmmmm, Mighty Fine) for completing the training, the new support rep is ceremoniously transitioned onto the support phone queues, but still has side-by-sides and will continue to work with their mentor and trainers. They’re never left alone out there on a proverbial island.
Next time you talk to one of our new support ninjas (Matthew, Mark and Kris are all recently graduated ninjas), feel free to congratulate them on passing the grueling test!
By the way, all BigCommerce sales consultants (our sales samurais) have the same technical training and take the same test and must also pass with 100%. Our goal really is amazingly consistent technical knowledge whether you’re talking to one of our sales samurais or support ninjas.
Expanded Support Coverage
As a company we’re still growing – and at a rapid pace (we recently passed 7,000 clients in just 12 months). To make sure you continue to get excellent support, I’m happy to announce our expanded hours for support, starting Monday September 27th as follows:
- Old Hours: 8AM-6PM central time, Monday thru Friday and 9AM-1PM central time, Saturdays
- New Hours: 7AM-9PM central time, Monday thru Friday and 9AM-2PM on Saturdays
This is really the first phrase of our plan to get to 24/7 support setup in the coming few months. In this phase we’ve expanded from 10 hours coverage to 14 hours coverage a day, Monday thru Friday and of course we also have 5 hours each Saturday.
In closing, I want to assure you that in each of our growth phases we’re staffing our team with the same high-caliber people regardless of the time of day that you call us – and we do absolutely zero outsourcing. That takes a little extra work and planning on our part to achieve, but that’s my job and I’m committed to accomplishing that.
I’ll provide more information in next month’s post on the second phase of our expanded support coverage and a timeframe for rolling that out.
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