A Non-Developer’s Guide to Understanding Software Developers: On Coders and Climbers

I am not a developer, and until I started with iDoneThis as its Chief Happiness Officer, I’m pretty sure I didn’t know any.

It’s taken me some time to understand how to relate to developers. It’s part of my job — I work with them, I’m immersed in the tech world, and many iDoneThis teams are developers. I need to be able to relate in order to understand their pain points, what makes them happy in their work, and what they need from a tool like iDoneThis.

Trying to relate to startup developers through the prism of my earlier profession as a former lawyer didn’t really work. The startup world couldn’t be further from Wall Street law firms and junior attorneys.

So here’s what finally did work. I found the connection through my greatest love, a hobby-turned-obsession: climbing. And coding, I’ve realized, is a lot like climbing.

Continue Reading

Don’t Copy and Paste Your Customer Support

don't copy and paste your customer support

Have you ever had no idea what you were doing, so you just copied people around you?  It’s how I learned a lot of things — how to ski, fill out important government forms, drink tequila. On the other hand, it’s a terrible way to learn to drive, manage your health, date other human beings — and learn customer support.

Like many people at startups, I felt like I was new at everything. So I’d let my past experiences at the receiving end of customer support inform the way I did my job. I took cues from all the interactions I’ve had with call center operators, bank tellers, airline employees, cable company employees, and insurance people — pretty much everyone’s least favorite human interactions of all time. It was like copying all the answers from the kid next to you in class, even though you know he’s getting them all wrong.

So why did I do this? With no prior experience in customer support, I felt safer copying others and sometimes found myself slipping into a weird robotic customer support mode without even realizing it.

Continue Reading

5 Ways to Transmit Awesome Customer Service From the Inside Out

No customer service is an island. You just can’t deliver great customer care alone.

These days, customers are tech-savvy, creative, and communicative. Some customers may want to build extensions and plugins to your service. In fact, we owe many of our iDoneThis “goodies” to ingenious users who built them to better suit their workflow. Others request features or find ways to adapt your tool to their company culture that you never initially considered. Still other customers ask highly technical questions. They all use multiple channels to communicate a volley of varied issues.

The worst customer experience is to wait forever for an answer, only to receive a meaningless response. That’s bound to happen when you isolate your customer service team. Ill-equipped to substantively deal with issues, they leave customers hanging while running around asking developers for assistance.

customer service

The best customer experience is prompt, personal resolution of a problem, and this starts with a foundation of strong internal team connections and communication. The better your team is at communicating and supporting each other, the better the customer service results. Customer requests will have a faster turnaround, your responses will be more substantive and helpful, and your customers will simply be happier.

Here’s some key ways and tools to connect your team internally for excellent customer service:

Continue Reading

10 Socially Conscious Startups on How They Find Happiness and Motivation in Changing the World

What’s the secret to happiness at work? Recent studies show that it’s not how much money you make, but how much progress.

We’ve written before about the progress principle, an idea developed by Harvard Business School Professor Teresa Amabile and psychologist Steven Kramer, who found that the greatest indicator of happiness and motivation at work is incremental progress toward a meaningful goal.

Meaningful goals can be anything from the team’s stated objective, to a personal goal. It can be tangible and specific, like tackling the bugs in a program, or more general, like ensuring customer happiness.

We were curious about the progress principle in action, but meaningful goals are so personal and variable that we didn’t know where to begin. So we approached startups that served a social good. For these companies, their meaningful goal was collective, explicit and already built into the job description.

We asked each of these startup founders:

Your startup works towards a meaningful social good everyday.
How does your goal motivate your team’s hard work and happiness daily?

Here are their responses:

Continue Reading

Leverage the Progress Principle with iDoneThis

Teresa Amabile the Progress Principle

We’ve written before about the secret to happiness and motivation at work. Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile and psychologist Steven Kramer wrote a whole book about it called The Progress Principle. They found that the number one driver of a positive inner work life, the key to motivated, engaged, and productive employees, is making progress on meaningful work, even if that progress is a small win.

In a recent 99U conference talk, Professor Amabile shared the best way to achieve those small wins and leverage the progress principle in our daily lives: keeping a work diary. We’re so pleased that she suggested using iDoneThis as an online work diary tool, and we thought we could break down how iDoneThis contributes to the four benefits of keeping a work diary that she identifies:

Continue Reading

17 Startup Leaders Name Their Modern Day Heroines

A lot has been said about the scarcity of women leaders in the tech startup world.  As the lone woman in a tech startup company*, it’s a subject that fascinates me both personally and professionally.

Working with iDoneThis, I have long noticed that there are vastly more men than women in the startup world.  Often, the individuals who can exert great influence over your startup’s future are men.  The people you network with, get advice from, collaborate with and befriend are also men.  And once in a while, the people you have to say no to, who you have to argue with or tell something they don’t want to hear, are also men.

This intimidates me, but I’m not entirely sure why.  I’m not intimidated by law, medicine, corporate business, or any other traditionally male-dominated career paths.  Could it be that I never had any role models in tech?  I decided to ask leading women in the tech startup world this simple question:

What woman in tech startups do you look up to, and why?

I got an immediate flood of responses from CEOs and founders who were eager to applaud and promote other women startup leaders.  Their responses were personal, insightful and full of pride at other women’s achievements.

Continue Reading