I thought it would be great to change gears a little and talk about us support specialists instead of our users. Here’s a little background about myself and what I think makes a great support specialist in the WordPress community.
Before I started working at WooThemes as a Support Ninja, I worked at WebDevStudios and joined the team as a lead developer for around three to four years. And just to be honest, I’m definitely no “Nacin” or “Jaquith” and would not consider myself to be an amazing developer at all. But, I was lucky enough to be a “Brad Williams“, CEO and Co-founder of WebDevStudios, Padawan/Jedi-apprentice who taught me everything about proper WordPress coding standards and, most importantly, how valuable it was to be involved with the WordPress Community.
I’d really like to echo Siobhan McKeown‘s post on attending WordCamps: I Attend WordCamps: You Should Too. Within my first full year of working heavily with WordPress, I attended 6 WordCamps: Mid Atlantic 2009, Chicago 2009, New York 2009, Boston 2009, Miami 2010 and San Francisco 2010.
My own recipe
- is not only passionate about WordPress but also involved in the community and loves to give back wherever he/she can;
- If you have never been to a WordCamp, head on over to http://central.wordcamp.org/ and find the next one closest to where you live. I promise you will love it.
- Attend a local WordPress Meetup Group and if there isn’t one in your area consider starting one.
- If you are a developer: Head on over to WordPress Trac and see how you can contribute.
- If you aren’t a developer there are plenty of ways you can help out. Hanni Ross gave a great talk at WordCamp Norway 2012 this year titled “Be It”. She covered the WordPress Community and how you can contribute back in a number of ways. Definitely recommended.
- Stay up-to-date and read up on what’s happening in the WordPress ecosystem. Sites like WP Realm, WPCandy, WPTavern, and others are really useful!
- Make sure to check out make.wordpress.org too!
- is a “people person”, i.e. friendly and easy to communicate with and who can help even the most ungrateful person with a smile;
- It is curious that after writing my first support column article here at WP Realm about WordPress users not upgrading, I ran into SO many support threads/issues at Woo where the user was running into compatibility issues because they were running a few versions behind. One user, a very angry user I might add, had actually told me and confirmed they were running the latest version, we then went back and forth for a few days debugging the issue to find out they were a few versions behind. If you are involved with support, there will be lots of different scenarios where you deal with annoying issues like this. Being able to put these behind you and move on will really help you. You really can’t please everyone, but you can try to give it your best.
- Support is really about interacting and helping the user. It has nothing to do with the number of unreplied/unresolved/open threads in a forum. I can tell you that these numbers will always be high but if you are able to appreciate each and every question a user asks you and focus on it, one at a time, you are in good shape.
- has some sort of technical background & skills whether it be HTML/CSS, JS, and/or PHP. Knowledge of WordPress coding standards and best practices is a HUGE win.
- This has really helped me. With a stronger background in WordPress development and involvement in the community, I’m able to not only provide knowledgeable answers but am confident that they are up to par with WordPress coding standards. In other words, done the right way.
- Why do you love helping others in the community?
- What makes you, or others, great at support?
- Are you a developer who is more support oriented now?