How to Hire Your First Customer Support Agent as a WordPress Solopreneur — Freemius

Product-Market Fit Relies Heavily on Initial Customer Support

  • ‘How did you hear about my product?’
  • ‘Why did you decide on <Awesome Plugin> instead of an alternative solution?’

The Tell-Tale Signs Your Solo Support Days Are Done

  • Look for repetitive issues, fix the bugs, and then add those updates to your documentation so that you can easily direct users to it.
  • Find common questions that can be solved with updates to the UI/UX and place these fixes in your documentation.
  • Create saved replies in your support tool to save time on repeat questions. Help Scout has this feature and it continues to work really well for us at Freemius.
  • On the subject of support systems/tools, you should commit to using a leading platform from the beginning so that the infrastructure is in place when you need to hire. I elaborate on this in the next section.

Systemize Your Support: A Pre-emptive Decision That Pays-Off

Defining What You Need From Your First Customer Support Agent Hire

1. Analyzing Your Support Tool’s Analytics

  • Tier 1: Simple tickets, such as licensing, feature requests, or billing queries, that don’t require a call being opened and can be handled relatively quickly.
  • Tier 2: Fairly complex tickets that require a rudimentary knowledge of coding or to jump on calls to troubleshoot, answer specific questions, or resolve issues.
  • Tier 3: Tickets that call for somebody to dig into the code to fix bugs or make updates require a person with support and development skills/experience.

2. Prioritize Patience, Empathy, and Level-Headedness

3. Look for Fluency in the Language(s) You Provide Support for

4. Invest in a Proactive, Practical, and Out-of-the-Box Thinker

What Awesome Candidates Look for in a Job Spec

  • Flexibility
  • Opportunity for growth
  • Responsibility and ownership
  • Good people
  • Mental stimulation
  • A comfortable living wage
  • Job title: Make sure the title is clear and aligned with the job description. A good practice is to find out what names your competitors give to similar roles. If you are looking for somebody with corporate-level experience, avoid using informal titles like ‘support superstar’ or ‘helpful heroes’ as these can be construed as condescending and may even confuse candidates as to what the role actually is.
  • Job description: Provide a summary of the tasks that you expect the rep to perform on any given day. List the tools, platforms, and systems in place and the communication channels they’ll be using to get in touch with customers (live chat, email, phone, Slack, etc.). If there is a technical aspect to the role, don’t forget to include the specifics, such as troubleshooting or actual coding.
  • Applicant description: It can be tempting to build your perfect customer support rep by listing every skill and quality (and preferred IQ/EQ level!) but this will most likely deter or dishearten many potential candidates because they’ll feel they don’t qualify for every requirement.
  • Company and culture: What core values sit at your heart as the founder? What will make your future team special? This is your chance to get people excited about your mission and vision. One of the primary reasons I joined Freemius was that we consist of a truly global team from six different countries — that’s super exciting and offers the opportunity to learn more about the world and the people in it. I also bought into our mission statement of helping people turn their passion for coding and development into their careers — it gives me the sense that my work has a genuine purpose.
  • Make applying simple: Be clear about what the next steps are. If you want the applicant to fill out screening questions, be clear about how they can do that. If you’d like a cover letter and a link to their portfolio included in the application, let candidates know!

How to Get Your Job Spec in Front of the Right Candidates

  • Defined your ideal candidate? ✔
  • Created an appealing job spec to get candidates excited? ✔

3. Your Own Community

4. Newsletters, Social Channels, and Recruitment Portals

  • MasterWP: £50 classified ads for a block of two issues.
  • wpMail.me: $19 for a job listing.
  • TheRepository: Offers four types of ads — issue sponsor for $250; sponsored post for $200; traditional ad for $150; and sponsored link for $50.
  • Post Status: Requires a subscription to the Post Status Membership Club for $99 a year. With it, you can list your job in the newsletter and on the website’s Job Board.

Assessing Submissions, Screening Questions, and Conducting Interviews

1. Assessment

2. Screening Questions

  • Easy question: I’ve added your app to my website but I only see the rating. How can users leave comments?
  • Answer: RatingWidget does not have comment functionality and users can only leave ratings.
  • Trickier question: I installed your plugin on my WordPress blog and it doesn’t work. Can you please help?
  • Answer: Here’s the link to our most common plugin issues, that should help you resolve it.
  • Complex question: I’ve installed your JavaScript ratings today — looks great! How do I integrate the ratings’ Rich Snippets?
  • Answer: You are on the free plan, this is only supported for paid customers.

3. Conducting Interviews

  • What do you think makes you different/exceptional?
  • Why are you interested in being a customer support agent for a WordPress business?
  • Is customer support your aspiration or do you see yourself moving into other areas/pursuing other interests or talents you may have?
  • At , we invest in the growth of our employees, which means we’re looking for a commitment. How does this sound to you?
  • How many people did you hire and for what purpose within the team?
  • What was the hiring process like?
  • What challenges and hurdles did you overcome during the onboarding process?
  • What’s the Number One thing you learned from this experience?

Onboarding and Establishing KPIs

1. Laying a Foundation for Your Rep to Succeed (i.e. Not Tossing Them Into the Deep End!)

  • How does their average time to resolution compare to the existing indicators?
  • How are users rating their performance in comparison to previous feedback?
  • What is the rate of response and is it as thorough as the customer service that’s come before it?
  • Dislike promotional content and being marketed to
  • Loathe wasting time
  • Abhor arrogance and patronization
  • Honesty, transparency, and professionalism
  • Optimization and automation (in code and life)
  • Creating with code because they are passionate about it

Moving Forward and Growing Your Customer Support Operations

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