A Human Tech Team to Solve Your Website’s Technical Problems

No one wants to encounter problems with their website, but how they're resolved can change everything. And the last thing anyone wants is to struggle with a support bot— you want a human tech team to help you with your website.

Here at Valet, we feel strongly about how our clients experience their technical problems. And we know that our team plays an important role in making it a good one.

What does that mean for our team?

While every support ticket that comes in for us needs different resolutions, we keep in mind the same key principles and core beliefs. Every client on the other end of a ticket deserves a human tech team.

Three Core Beliefs Of A Human Tech Team 

  1. Not just Sympathy, Empathy

We have a lot of sympathy for clients experiencing technical problems. But working with websites both professionally and personally, we’ve encountered our own website issues, and this gives us empathy. 

Having empathy means we can understand our client’s feelings, even though they are not our own. We know exactly how we feel when having technical problems and can therefore really put ourselves in their place. We can then help them with a deep understanding that we otherwise couldn’t. 

This informs and guides our responses to support tickets. Empathy isn’t what solves our client’s problems, but it gives us the tone we hope resonates personally with them.

  1. There Are Humans On Both Sides

In an age when so much communication happens virtually, it can be too easy to forget the human behind an email. Valet always remembers the person on the other side of a frustrated support ticket.

Our team strives to be aware and conscious of the humans on both sides. In every email we send, call, and interaction we have with our clients, we remain mindful of the fact that we’re all humans. Humans with feelings, thoughts, opinions, and beliefs— humans who have good days and bad days. 

That includes not only remembering this for clients but also what kind of individuals and team we want to be for our clients. We want to be empathetic, friendly, kind, understanding, supportive, and helpful because that’s what each client deserves. Our relationship with each client matters to us.

  1. Clear Communication

Clear communication is an important key to being a human tech team. And for our team that means being honest, always setting realistic expectations for our clients, replying to them promptly, and keeping them informed.

Honesty

Clients expect honesty from us in everything from the fact that we never have hidden fees for our services to the fact that we will own our mistakes. 

If we tell a client the price of a certain development project, that’s the price. They don’t have to fear any unexpected extra fees being tacked onto their bill later. 

And if we make a mistake, we’re going to be straightforward about it. Our clients won’t hear excuses or catch us hiding something we broke. While we of course strive to never make them, they do happen. And clients deserve to know the truth about anything and everything happening with their websites.

Setting Realistic Expectations

When a client comes to us with a project, we're always sure to set realistic expectations for it. We never want to promise things we can’t bring to fruition. 

If a client receives a date for the estimated time for a project, our clients can trust it. If we say we’ll have something done then we will.

Prompt Replies

From onboarding to monthly maintenance our clients are always up to date on the status of their website. 

Clients never have to wait two weeks to hear back from us while they sit and wonder how their project is coming along. We’re prompt in our replies. 

Staying Informed

We don’t want our clients to ever feel left in the dark. We’re always available to answer their questions or explain things to them. 

When a client wants information on our processes or wants to understand better what’s happening with their website, we believe they should know what’s going on. Too many times we get clients who have no idea who is hosting their website, or if their previous tech team was updating properly. At times they don't even feel they can approach their tech team with their doubts, questions, and concerns. That doesn’t happen under our watch.

Do you need a human tech team?

Instead of waiting till something breaks and you’re frantically writing into support chat boxes with automatic canned responses— make our team your team. We can provide you with monthly maintenance services, e-commerce maintenance, support and development, audits, and assessments.

You won't need to worry about all of your WordPress website errors, problems, or issues anymore. You’ll have peace of mind knowing your website is backed by our team of WordPress professionals who provide you with the best website services.

Weekly WordPress Update- March 27, 2020

Here is your quick Weekly WordPress Update from Valerio. If you would like us to cover something specific, please let us know!

Hello and welcome to the Weekly WordPress Updates by Valet.io for the week of March 27th.

I'm Valério and I'm part of the WordPress Maintenance team here at Valet.
On a new world working remotely, we at Valet - being a remote team - have some useful tips for new remote workers to stay focused throughout the day!
We love to over-communicate, and that's what makes our team great at tackling WordPress support from around the globe.
Maintain Regular Hours.
Stick to a schedule.
It's easy not to know when to shut off.
Feed your pet before start working! If you don't want your cat to jump into your laptop, or hearing the dog chewing on the furniture, feed them early!
Find your most productive time of day and use it for your hardest work.
Set a timer to get up and move!
Don't use that comfy couch all day long!
And if you're a coffee or tea lover, always have a cup ready.

What are you doing to stay productive? Let us know!

Looking Outward + Robert Band, Finance Expert

Perspective is everything. This phrase is typically used to refer to an inward journey. The way we see the world colors everything we do. So, ensuring we have a healthy sense of what we are looking at or how we are seeing is important. Equally important to looking inward, is looking outward.

Looking outward involves taking a moment to look up from whatever you are focused on to see what's around you. Becoming an observer instead of the participant.

Outward and Upward

We spend so much energy and time in actively applying our skills, we sometimes forget to come up for air. This poor practice puts us in a very closed state of mind. We aren't absorbing anything new when we are closed. There is no growth.

Moving from a closed, participatory role to an observant one is important. As an observer your brain automatically switches to learning mode. This flexes different muscles in your brain than execute mode. As we get farther down our career paths we sometimes forget to exercise both of those muscles. Taking a moment to look outward, to become an observer, is more important as time goes by.

I found myself forced to look outward many times in 2019. Tackling projects outside of my realm of knowledge. Not having a very deep Finance background I found myself looking outward to learn from others who were more learned than I am. During this time I had the fortune of meeting Robert Band, a financial expert who had just moved to Colorado.

Robert was looking outward as well and that resulted in an exchange of thoughts around our respective industries. I really liked the idea of cross communicating about something outside of my normal WordPress and website sphere, so I asked him to do a quick interview. He kindly agreed.

Want to refresh your list of ways to find inspiration?

Robert Band Interview

You can find the interview below. Pardon the quality of the video. I figured a little technical difficulty of the day wasn't worth keeping the content from anyone.

You can view Robert's interview of me about Website Health here.

If you'd like to reach out to Robert, you can find him via the information below:

I'd love to hear about a time you have looked outward and found something unexpected and rewarding on the other side.

Valet is the Happiest Organization in Professional Consulting Services.

How do we know? TINYpulse told us!

We've been long-time users of TINYpulse, a workplace survey software that anonymously measures team happiness. TinyPulse has been a fantastic tool that has given our team the ability to provide feedback on issues that can be difficult to talk about, as well as give us questions to ask that we wouldn't have thought to ask otherwise.

TINYpulse has been featured in Inc., Forbes, and other top publications sharing tips on employee happiness and retention. They're a strong supporter of culture and clarity in the workplace.

We got a surprise email from Tyler a couple of weeks ago letting us know that we topped the list of Happiest Organizations in Professional Consulting Services in their database!

Image of man gesturing with an award for Happiest Organization in Professional Consulting Services.

My name's Tyler Adams and I work in PR in TINYpulse - and I have great news!
Valet won a TINYaward for Happiest Organization in Professional Consulting Services. TINYaward, big accomplishment; less than 1% of eligible organizations win. There's no selection committee, just stats - for your award, the criteria is simple: Organizations with the highest average Happiness Scores in 2018.

Tyler Adams, TinyPulse

Queue the party streamers! We got a fantastic badge from TINYPulse that we'll be sporting on the website soon!

This award means so much to us as a company. The best thing you can have to support your business is a happy team. I think we nailed that!

Every single one of our team members that took the time to fill out the weekly surveys has made this happen. By giving them a place to provide honest feedback and candid responses we were able to support a culture of honesty and happiness. They work so hard each day to be kind and productive, and as evidenced by this award, they are GREAT at it!

Cheers to the Valet team, who make our Professional Consulting Services great! This one's for YOU!

Facing Up to the Challenges of Face Time: A Valet Roundtable Discussion

It’s possible today to run a company and serve customers from totally unconventional isolated settings. You can be the CEO of a multi-million-dollar venture and oversee the whole thing from a spare bedroom in northern New Hampshire. Or you can be that firm’s bookkeeper and crunch its numbers from a solar-powered grass hut you alone occupy on a South Pacific tropical island beach.

For that, you can thank the Internet and the existence of software addressing every conceivable business activity or purpose. The point is lots of people like working in virtual offices. But a problem with that kind of arrangement is virtual office workers tend to be isolated from colleagues and customers. They seldom see and interact with one another face to face. Yet people instinctively crave what’s usually referred to as “face time.”

Valet's Remote Team and the Challenges of Face Time

Valet recently gathered its team for a discussion of face time and the challenges of fostering it in a virtual-office environment. Sharing their thoughts on this subject were Valet Co-Founder and CEO Kimberly Lipari, Client Success Manager Maureen Crist, Client Success Lead Eric Dye, Client Success Pro Milos Milosevic, Lead Developer Josh Shashaty, Technical Project Manager and Developer Daisy Olsen, and Site Health Pro Valerio Vaz. All of them work from virtual offices across the U.S. and scattered around the world.

VALET: How do you define "face time”?

ERIC: Face time is any communication that is face-to-face.

KIMBERLY: I believe the definition of face time is subject to the purpose of the meeting. It could be an in-person encounter. Or it could be a video call.

Empowering-communities-advocate-Kimberly-Lapari
Kimberly Lapari
empowering-communities-hero-eric-dye
Eric Dye

VALET: But do video conferences really count as face time?

MILOS: Yes, they do. You can see the person you are talking with. And even better, you do not need to go anywhere.

DAISY: I disagree. Video calls are better than text-only for deeper communication, but they don't replace being physically in the same space with someone.

Milos Milosevic
Daisy Olsen

MAUREEN: I think it depends on whether the meeting is internal or client facing. Video conferencing definitely counts as face time for internal meetings. For client facing contact, video conferencing is better than no face time, but it's not the same as actually being there in person. Besides, many clients prefer to keep their cameras turned off or to dial into the video conference. In those instances, there’s no video and so it’s basically the same as a phone call.

Empowering-communities-is-what Maureen-Crist-does
Maureen Crist

JOSH: No. Video conferences do not count as face time. When you do a video conference, there’s the opportunity for you to do things that aren’t related to the discussion. Like, you could be playing solitaire while the other person is talking. That’s a distraction, and the other person wouldn’t know about it. But with actual, in-person face time, you can’t do that. Face time allows for no distractions. So, in my view, video conferencing isn’t really face time.

empowering-communities-voice-Josh-Shashaty
Josh Shashaty

VALET: But aren't video conferences valuable nonetheless?

ERIC: Sure are. The importance of face time is giving everyone the ability to read the visual aspects of nonverbal communication. This added element gives everyone an extra layer of context and understanding that is certainly valuable. These signals are exchanged whether this is in-person or via video conference.

KIMBERLY: Seeing someone's face and connecting with them using as many senses as possible are what make people feel connected. Video conferencing isn’t a substitute for actual meetings, handshakes, and the like. But, still, it can be incredibly powerful for relating and connecting. It stimulates the portions of the brain that store information and associate feelings of trust and emotion with the person on the other end of the conversation. So put me in the yes column.

VALET: What are the specific benefits of face time—and what are the actual, tangible consequences of neglecting it?

Valerio Vaz

VALERIO: I saw in the Washington Post where face-to-face meetings are the best way to capture a person’s full attention. There was research in that article showing that asking to meet with someone face-to-face is 34 times more effective than if you ask by email. It also said a physical handshake promotes greater success.

ERIC: Being able to communicate face-to-face adds a very helpful layer of nonverbal communication. This makes communication more robust. It also increases engagement between speakers and receivers. To be able to see one another's faces and expressions adds a human dynamic that easily gets lost otherwise. That Washington Post article Valerio mentioned also said that more than eight in ten executives prefer in-person meetings to virtual contact.

MAUREEN: Meeting with someone in person provides a deeper level of communication and develops a stronger relationship. You can read their body language, you can know when it’s time to stop the discussion and clarify confusing points—these are things that can easily go unnoticed during a video conference call. The consequences of neglecting face time are a lower level of engagement from both parties which can result in accounts and employees churning.

KIMBERLY: The human brain processes engagement with our conversational counterparts using various levels of senses. If you’re face-to-face, you’re using your full capacity to relate to and engage in conversation. As Josh said, no face-time allows for distractions. Plus, once the encounter ends, the memory of what you’ve been talking about fades and loses importance.

DAISY: I used to work for a company that brought all its employees together once a year for a face-to-face meeting. Then they stopped doing that. Morale across the entire company took a huge hit. Worse, interpersonal tensions increased.

VALET: What’s the biggest challenge a company encounters when trying to insert more face time into the picture?

VALERIO: The more spread out the employees are, the harder it is to overcome the problem of time zones. If everyone is at a remote location in, say, the Eastern time-zone, it’s not much of a challenge to coordinate schedules. But if you also have people in Australia, for instance, coordination becomes much more difficult, since morning in Sydney is yesterday afternoon in New York.

MILOS: A big challenge I see is the need for companies to invest in ensuring that remote workers have good, reliable connections and tools for online meetings. Another challenge is scheduling the right amount of meetings, whether online or in-person. If you have too many meetings, it diminishes their importance. Too few and you lose opportunities to make progress.

VALET: What about costs?

JOSH: If you meet face-to-face, you’ve got travel costs to deal with. And your productivity suffers because travel takes away time you could be spending at your workstation creating things or solving problems.

DAISY: Along the same lines as what Josh is saying, the larger and more globally distributed a team is the greater the financial and logistical burdens of bringing everyone together. Personally, I believe it’s worth the time, effort, and expense to be able to come together as a company once or twice a year in a designated physical location.

MAUREEN: Agreed. Cost is the biggest hurdle to delivering more face time. Here at Valet, our annual gathering of internal employees has helped us develop a stronger bond as a team.

ERIC: Face time is always economically justifiable. It's whether or not you need additional tools to augment face time. Generally speaking, it never should be an economic stress to incorporate face time into an organization's communication toolbox.

VALET: How frequently should face time occur?

JOSH: At least once a year.

DAISY: You should hold a large-group gathering at least one time per year. For a smaller gathering, you should consider holding it twice a year or even quarterly.

VALERIO: Internally, in a virtual office environment, you should look at having face time once every day for 3o minutes. Once every two days would be good if the team is involved in long-facing projects.

ERIC: It's not about the quantity of time so much as it is about the quality. However much or little face time you’re able to manage, you need to make sure that it’s used as best as possible.

KIMBERLY: Face time should occur as frequently as possible. Since we’ve been referencing the article from the Washington Post, this seems like an appropriate juncture to cite the part where they quoted a public-relations professor who said the need for face time is universal across industries because, ultimately, everyone is in a business that revolves around people. And face time is all about making connections with people.

9 Questions About Gutenburg

This past March Maureen and I attended the NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference. We had the honor of participating in the WordPress Community Session: WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg, and the New Block Editor. It was an amazing time and I thoroughly enjoyed being on the panel. It was an incredible opportunity to be sharing Valet’s knowledge, understanding, and insights surrounding the new editor. As well as fielding questions from those in the audience.

As part of the panel preparation, we were given a set of questions to answer for the presentation and questioning of WordPress 5.0. And we thought it might be fun to share. Especially some of my initial thoughts on WordPress’ new block editor, aka Gutenberg.

What is your favorite thing about the block editor?

One of my favorite things about the new block editor is the ability to create and build additional layouts. These can be done without needing a Custom Page Template built. It cannot be done with nearly the complexity of a Custom Page Template. But it delivers enough power to provide a much easier way to present data all within the WordPress Editor. In fact, one of our clients here at Valet needed a basic page layout developed. And this is exactly what we used. Normally it would've required a Custom Page Template build by our stellar Development Team. Instead, our Customer Success Team was able to handle it. They had the ability to guide the client through the steps needed to build-out the page on their own.

What is one notable limitation of the block editor?

Unfortuently, the new editor relies heavily on contextual menus. This makes it difficult to easily see everything that’s available to the user all at once. Thankfully, the new editor is in its early stages and we should only see more improvements in the user interface. In the meantime, a lot can be learned by jumping in and “getting your hands dirty.”

What would you not know about the block editor unless someone told you?

Reusable custom blocks have got to be one of the most exciting features the new editor has to offer. And it's not only is changing how we solve problems within WordPress. But it's also providing more flexibility and power to the user. You can look forward to us sharing more about this in the near future.

What's one tip for someone transitioning from the old editor to the new one?

Give yourself space to re-learn what you knew previously and the opportunity to learn new things. Don’t be afraid to fail! This is how we learn (preferably not on a live website with a published page).

Do you recommend people transition their sites right now?

Only if your theme supports it. If you try new blocks, be sure to test them. We recommend testing them before publishing to a live site, as the styles may not jive. From a technical aspect, all Valet clients had their websites tested months before the new editor was released. This, to avoid any breaks that may have occurred. If you're a Valet client and want to do more with the new editor and are unsure, let us know. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Customer Success Team!

How does the new editor change how you would select a theme?

It’s best to ensure a new theme supports Gutenberg and checking to see if it supports custom blocks as well. If your new theme doesn’t support Gutenberg, I would recommend exploring other options.

How does the new editor change how you would select a plugin?

If you’re asking the right questions, to begin with, it shouldn’t have any bearing. Perhaps we’ll explore this in the future as well.

What are the benefits and drawbacks for 3rd party block libraries?

While these can be great shortcuts to creating new block types, understand what kind of dependencies you are creating. When the plugin is removed, you lose those blocks and the design styles associated with them. Choose wisely. Investing in a 3rd party block library has the potential of being as big of an investment as your theme.

What's the difference between a page builder (Divi, Beaver Builder, Visual Composer) and the block editor?

This subject can get deep really fast, so let’s keep this simple. These page builders are about building a theme template; whereas, the block editor is about customizing the page content.

Feel free to leave a comment! Whether it be for discussion or if you have a question. We'd be happy to answer any and all inquiries about the new block editor included in WordPress 5, Gutenberg. If you’re a client of Valet, you can also reach out to the Customer Success Team. We would be excited to answer any questions about what we’ve covered, here. Or anything else, really. We love hearing from you. 🙂