Ten tips to ace your Happiness Engineer trial

The Happiness Engineer trial can be daunting, but with the right mindset and tips, it is possible to ace it! I know this because I was a trial myself and made it through the chaos.

During my first week in the trial, I was completely clueless about working here at Automattic. But a few weeks later, my trial buddy said, “If I was in the hiring department I’d recommend ending your trial now and have you start working full time as soon as possible!”

Later, during my second time practicing live chat, a customer said, “Success! I’ve been trying to use the word awesome somewhere in this dialogue… it fits perfectly right here! AWESOME … you are in the right career field – Happiness Engineer. Thank you!”

I got lucky, you’ll say; I agree! I was able to create my own luck by learning from the wealth of experience of my trial buddies and that of other Happiness Engineers. I believe that with the right mindset and tips, we can all create our own luck. Here are ten tips that’ll help you create your own luck and place you on a path to ace the trial. 

  1. Ability to follow instructions – The first few weeks of trial often come with a series of guides and instructions. Don’t be in a hurry to rush through the guides and jump into answering customer tickets or trying out live chats. You’ll find yourself being tempted to skip some of the guides because you feel they’re irrelevant and contain information you already know. Trust me, it’s in your best interest to slow down and follow all the guides, courses, and instructions to the letter. Skipping could result in missing vital information or assignments.
  1. Understanding others – People sometimes say that empathy is the holy grail of customer support, but how can you even show empathy for a customer whom you don’t understand? Your ability to understand a customer sets you on the path to helping them. In fact, I believe once you understand a customer, you’ve automatically solved 50% of their issue. Not taking the time to understand a customer’s issue always leads to miscommunication and can result in the customer getting angry.
  1. Validation – Validation is a great way to acknowledge that you understand a customer’s question or need to ask for more clarification. One of the ways to do this is rephrasing a customer’s question in your own words to ensure you’re on the same page. Doing so tells the customer you’re giving them the necessary attention and you’re trying to understand their issue so you can better assist them. Validation is so important in customer support and when properly used, can help you turn an angry customer into a happy one. 
  1. Clear communication – Your ability to clearly communicate to a customer is so important that it can’t be overemphasized. Simply put, no matter how knowledgeable you may be about the company’s products and services, if you’re not able to clearly communicate this to customers or colleagues, you may really not make headway. I’ve found that being able to communicate with customers in simple sentences and words is more helpful and preferable to using complex grammar and highly technical terms. Since our customers come from so many countries and cultures, it’s best to use English that will be understandable whether the customer’s primary language is English or not.
  1. Quality of conversation – When you’re starting out in the trial you may find that you’re concerned about the number of tickets or chats you have. You may try to have enough conversations with customers to meet the high expectations set for full-time Happiness Engineers. I’ve found that this isn’t really something to worry about. This is because the number of conversations just naturally grows as you get familiar with the company’s tools and products. Instead of worrying about the numbers, I’d recommend focusing on the quality of responses which is a major determining factor of you pulling through your trial.
  1. Ask for help – You’re not expected to know everything during your trial, or even as a full-time Happiness Engineer. Even the best of Happiness Engineers ask questions to get further clarification and assistance on issues – and so should you!  Don’t be shy about asking questions as it helps ensure you provide quality help to our customers. You may be surprised to know that the hiring team takes into consideration your ability to ask questions and problem solve in collaboration with others. 
  1. Help others – If you’re getting help, it’s just natural to give back. Plan to help your fellow trials when you can, and full-time Happiness Engineers as well. Did I say, full-time Happiness Engineers (HEs)? Yes, that wasn’t a mistake. You’ll find there are times other HEs simply want someone to help take a look at a link and share what they’re seeing to help them confirm they’re seeing the same thing. I’ve found there’s no form of help that’s too small or too big here. Sometimes, you’ll learn one or two things you didn’t know while trying to help a colleague.

  2. Build confidence – It’s natural to be nervous the first few weeks of your trial. However, ensure you’re consistently growing and building confidence. Learning to use the company’s tools and improving on your product knowledge will help build confidence with tickets and chats. Never stop learning as this is indeed the key to building confidence!

  3. Grow with feedback – The major success factor to my growth as a trial, and as a full-time Happiness Engineer has been feedback. During your trial, your buddy will randomly pick your conversations to review to find ways you can improve your customer interactions. These reviews have the power to change your support game. To get the most out of this feedback take time to explain what you were thinking when you sent that reply to a customer. Then, implement the changes your buddy suggests. My tickets and live chats improved after every review.

  4. Schedule breaks – One of the keys to being productive as a trial is choosing a schedule that works for you. We all have periods where we’re more or less productive. During my first week of trial, my schedule was straight 8 hours, but I later realized this was so stressful for my body and often resulted in me feeling so overwhelmed. Breaking my schedule into 4 hours in the morning, having a long break so I could rest, then working 4 hours in the evening helped boost my productivity. The perfect schedule sometimes takes a while to figure out, so, feel free to experiment with different schedules to figure out which works best for you. 

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