Winning in Last Place
There has been a major transition in my work over the past 3 months that is worth noting and applauding. We had some goals in place last year that I would be able to remove myself as much as possible from the day to day support tickets. For a variety of reasons that goal wasn't met by the end of 2019, but with a new year we've had a lot of developments that have moved the needle dramatically.
The first big change is Meredith Fierro taking on the role interim Customer Support Manager. Meredith has been an incredible asset to Reclaim Hosting since she began as a student intern 3 years ago. Today not only is she using her wealth of institutional knowledge of the ins and outs of the business to manage our support infrastructure, but she's also risen to the challenge of learning how to manage people, time, and projects in this role and we couldn't be happier.
The second change was bringing one of our part-timers, Gordon Hawley, on a full time customer support rep. Gordon works Afternoon-Evening 5 days a week covering one of the weekend days as well and his quick rise from part time to full is testament to just how awesome he has been on the job. The hosting industry has a lot of quirks since you're essentially dealing with computers and computers can be complex odd beasts on occasion. Gordon works so well with customers, he's patient and works through issues that come up with what on the face of it might seem like relative ease. Most important for me, he's not afraid to ask for help and so I'm seeing a growing community of sharing and learning within the team that makes me very happy.
Third would be having another UMW rockstar Chris Blankenship working under me as a Junior Linux Systems Administrator. Chris was actually promoted to this role back in September after working as a part time support rep for 3 months (are you seeing a trend here? When we see people doing good work we're quick to lock them into full time jobs so they don't leave!). Having someone work with me on the technical side of our growing infrastructure honestly always felt like a football we would kick down the field with plans to address another day, it feels surreal to be there now. Chris is super smart and a scripting wizard. He's helped script out our provisioning process for new schools to the point where we can almost setup an entire custom server environment in a matter of hours with the majority of the work happening in the background while we play pinball in the office ;). Chris has also been running point on some of the escalated issues that come up in support tickets, putting another barrier between me and support.
And as if all of this wasn't good enough, we managed to steal the talents of Katie Hartraft who is a senior at UMW and currently working at the DKC as well. She's been working part time with us covering the other half of the nights/weekend shifts and rounding out a powerhouse team of folks that get the job done on support each and every day. I've been super impressed with how quickly Katie has managed to learn and master the various tools we use like WHMCS to be responsive to tickets as they come in.
So the whole reason this post was brewing was due to me checking our stats on ticket load given I've definitely been feeling the relief and sure enough it's a milestone moment. I have never held that last place spot, pretty sure since we began the company I've almost always been at the top of this list or fairly close to it. Instead you have a support team that is striking a balance to relieve me of that burden. Not to mention just look at those first response times across all hours and days! And I can imagine the next step when Jim moves back from Italy will be reduce his involvement as well.
It feels really good to build in structure to this company. I can remember the early days of folks being super concerned that Reclaim was essentially just Jim and I and what would happen if they sign a contract and then we bail? Well not only are we still around but these days I can honestly say we have redundancy and an entire team keeping this ship running day in and day out. It's a welcome change of pace that has allowed me to more acutely focus on the arcade venture and will help Jim and I both ensure that Reclaim Hosting can sustain itself beyond some passionate founders. Here's to 2020 and beyond!