Pantheon is looking forward to a great WordCamp Raleigh 2019 on April 5th and 6th. I got the chance to interview Ben Meredith Senior Support Technician at GiveWP, about his talk “What Blues Guitar And Diapers Taught Me About WordPress Support.” Check out the full interview as well as some highlights and links below.
What is this talk all about?
While Ben wouldn’t give us any spoilers about the title and hook of his talk, he was happy to share the goal of the talk: Giving better support. No matter what they are trying to support, a plugin, a service, WordPress itself, Ben will lay out a framework to guide the interactions with users, especially difficult ones. He wants everyone to have the tools to level up their support game and wants to share the lessons he learned while supporting a variety of products over the years.
Why this subject?
Ben feels that support folks get a bad rap caused by many teams playing the “pass the blame” game. Plugin support blames the theme, the theme blames the plugin, WordPress support blames PHP version, and so on. At GiveWP, they found it is never constructive to just pass them off as “not my fault”, providing no resolution. This hurts not only the user but actually is worse for the company and the community overall.
His talk will give people better tools for communicating and helping resolve issues. This ultimately helps companies do better, as customers who received great support become evangelists for that product. In his opinion, support is not just an add on, it is an art.
Where can people go to find out more about this?
In the spirit of open source and helping us all do better at this, the GiveWP team has open sourced their Support Manual. Ben’s talk is actually focused on the tone guide. He doesn’t want just the folks in Raleigh to get the benefits of this. He uses this guide daily, along with the rest of his team, as a reminder for “are we doing what we said support does?”
What sessions are you looking forward to?
Ben shared his philosophy for picking sessions which is to seek out first-time speakers and ones that bring a different point of view. Two of the sessions that he is most looking forward to are Lisa Linn Allen’s talk “We are the gatekeepers – compassion in web development” and Adam Silver’s session “Podcasting to Grow your Business.”
Any advice for people visiting Raleigh?
For people like myself who are not familiar with the area, Ben shared a few essential tips. Folks should be aware that this is the height of allergy season and should plan accordingly for the high pollen count. For people looking for some night time fun, the downtown area of Raleigh is quite a happening place and not too far from the venue. It also is the time of year to dress in layers, since the morning is typically much cooler than the evening.
Like Ben, I am very much looking forward to the event as well. I am also very excited to be giving a talk on one of my all-time favorite subjects “Let’s learn Git. No more excuses.” If you are going, we would love to connect, let us know in the comments.
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