Dhara Shah, A customer support executive at Tyche Softwares is with us today for an exclusive interview so without further ado, let’s hear it from the woman herself.
WPJuicer: What is your background, & how did you first get involved with WordPress?
Dhara: If you would have asked me anything about WordPress in 2017, then I would have simply walked out on you. That’s how far I was from WordPress & the web development field in general.
So I hail from an accounting background, having done my majors in the field of Chartered Accounts. Right until the end of 2016, I was giving my exams to become a Chartered Accountant. It was only in the second half of 2017, that I was introduced to WordPress by my husband, Dhruvin. That’s been one of the best decisions I took. Since then there has been no looking back.
I spent my initial 6-8 months exploring WordPress, learning the basics, making myself comfortable with it & deciding if this is something I would love to work on or not. Once I was convinced about it & after I had explored WordPress enough, I got an opportunity to work with Tyche Softwares. They are a plugin development company focussing on niche WooCommerce plugins. This was the first step of my professional journey in WordPress, something that I never imagined I would step into.
I started off as a Support Ninja at Tyche. So I would provide customer support for our plugins on the WordPress.org forums & via our internal support tools.
I love talking to people & engaging with them. So the role fitted perfectly with my personality. I started enjoying more as I would gain immense satisfaction when I helped them solve their problems.
I fell in love with WordPress & it’s been growing ever since. <3
WPJuicer: What should readers know about all the stuff you’re doing in WordPress these days?
Dhara: My core job has always been helping customers find solutions to their problems in the quickest & most efficient way. So a typical day would involve answering pre-sale questions, then looking at any urgent customer queries, helping out my colleagues & so on. We also have a live chat option, so I would also handle those as & when they would come in during the day.
These days my time is split between providing customer support & analysing customer feedback across all our plugins. The analysis involves looking at things like how can we speed up our response times, updating our product documentation, checking why are customers asking for a refund, or looking at how to automate a certain task using the tools at our hand. These things help in taking some important decisions on our plugins with regards to new features.
Apart from that, I like getting involved in translating WordPress core and our plugins. As I became more familiar with translations & how WordPress was being used in various languages, I felt like WOW, this is such an easy way to get more people onto the platform.
That’s when I said to myself that I must do more to make WordPress, the platform & it’s plugins available in more languages, so people from various cultures can join us and be a part of this amazing community.
Oh, and WordCamps! Hello there. 🙂
At Tyche, we try to attend different WordCamps. So at WordCamp Vadodara that happened in 2019, I applied as a volunteer & the organizing team was kind enough to give me that opportunity. That entire day, I was taking video bytes of the attendees, helping with registrations, and running around just trying to talk to as many people as I could. I barely got time for my lunch or time to spend time at the Tyche sponsors booth. 🙂 Trust me, at the end of the day, I felt like I am just made for this! I enjoyed every bit of this experience.
Taking a cue from this, I applied to volunteer at the first-ever WordCamp Asia, that was to be held in Feb 2020 & my application was accepted as well. Unfortunately, COVID-19 struck just at that time & the event couldn’t take place.
I am definitely looking forward to helping the community in all the ways I can.
WPJuicer: You currently work at Tyche Softwares as a customer support executive. What are your responsibilities there? Could you share any interesting stories?
Dhara: I was wondering when this question would come up, as I love answering this question. 🙂 Why so? Because I am literally in love with what I am doing at Tyche.
My core work at Tyche is to help customers facing any issues with the setup of the plugin or helping them solve the bugs related to our plugin. While doing that, I ensure that the whole process is as smooth as possible. And when you love talking to people (like I do), it makes this work so much easier. It makes it enjoyable.
I have to interact with the customers and at the same time, I have to check and make sure that our development team fixes issues & rolls out new features as per the estimated time that we have promised to the customers.
As a customer support team, we keep on sharing important findings with our team about our customers. One such instance happened during this pandemic. Many store owners were struggling to keep their businesses afloat. Our Delivery Date plugins were the need of the hour that would help them by controlling their order deliveries, and also because those plugins are useful to businesses that sell food, groceries & deliver other essentials at their doorstep. We shared this with our team and they decided to provide 50% off for all our delivery plugins. This way we were able to do our bit in helping them when they needed the most.
There are many such interesting stories that we face daily as we get to interact with people from different countries.
WPJuicer: Could you tell our readers about your experience with an irritating customer. How did you handle it?
Dhara: I am glad you asked this question. One thing most companies forget is that customer support is a human-to-human interaction. I will tell you my perspective.
If we are talking about irritating customers, then I never see them as irritating or annoying but yes there are many instances where they get very impatient.
One tip I would like to give to all who provide customer support is that if we ourselves get annoyed, then we are entering an infinite loop. The customer will never get satisfied and the resolution time for their issue will just keep on increasing. Avoid the loop.
It’s difficult to deal with such customers but trust me, you will be more satisfied when you resolve their issues and make them happy.
Sometimes, it also happens that they want more and some features are not possible with our plugin and they keep on asking about that. During such times, be honest and tell them that this would not be possible. At times, I also try to give some solutions like you can check an alternate plugin which might help.
And 95% of the time they are thankful and give good feedback. This creates a trust factor with the customers and they tend to try out our other products.
Simple mantra I follow is: When you begin a chat just take a deep breath and smile and say in your mind: yes, I will help him/her. You will be able to focus more and this will turn into a fun game.
Try this out. Like me, you too will never find customers as “irritating”. 🙂
WPJuicer: What do you do when your customer points out major issues reading any product or service?
Dhara: This happens many times that customers pointed out some bug in the plugin or some mistakes from our part in the documentation. The first thing I do is I thank them for pointing that out and inform my team to rectify that as soon as possible.
We coordinate with our development team as well and try to convince the client on a particular date to complete those issues.
Oh wait, did I mention that sometimes we also have to convince our own development team? Yeah, that’s a thing too. The developers also have their schedules packed as per their plans. So at times, they may need some business perspective as to why a particular issue is important to the customer. It works most of the time. 🙂
So, I consider this as a positive thing and try to make our products and services better and better.
WPJuicer: Name five people who have inspired you the most?
Dhara: Can I skip answering this question? 🙂 The whole community is so inspiring, that it’s difficult and would be unjust to name only 5 people.
I have attended many WordCamps and also volunteered some of them and met many people from different walks. So let me try my best to answer this one.
The first & foremost is my husband Dhruvin. He has always been my source of inspiration. He has been working with WordPress since 2012, and he was the one who also encouraged me to take up WordPress. When it comes to my work, he has always guided me to ignore all the noise & focus on what matters most – delivering nothing short of excellence.
Other than that, it is Vishal Kothari, he is the Founder of Tyche Softwares. From reviewing my responses to customers in initial days to giving me new opportunities, Vishal has always encouraged me. Then there is Vito from WPFeedback, who has grown his business amazingly in just a year of span. Then there is Nidhi Jain, who is currently working at Idea Box. She is so helpful and I love that quality and I aspire to be like her. She guided me in the volunteering process in WCAsia.
Rob Hope would be the next one. I met him at WCEU 2019. He has extensive knowledge about Landing Pages. He has been creating curated landing pages for more than 10 years. He has a wealth of knowledge in that area and can be used to create Landing Pages in your WordPress sites.
WPJuicer: You attend WordCamps and conferences. How do you think these occasions creating an impact on WordPress communities?
Dhara: YES! WordCamps & conferences have a HUGE impact.
I love attending WordCamps. I began attending WordCamps in 2018 and my very first WordCamp was WC Mumbai 2018. Since then, I’ve been going to as many as would fit in our schedule every year. I learn something new at every WordCamp, we deepen existing relationships and start new ones.
We’ve hired team members based on relationships that started at meetups and WordCamps, and so have most of our friends. We’ve had work relationships with a couple of people who got introduced at WordCamps. So the possibilities are endless.
WCEU 2019 in Berlin was a memorable one which will be in my mind for ages. I realized that it’s so much fun getting to meet people in real life whom you have only known on social media. WordCamps have also been a great chance for me to learn from others and collaborate on ideas surrounding WordPress.
WordCamps have also been a great opportunity for me to travel and/or meet up with old friends, and make new ones. Of course, I also love the learning aspect of WordCamps. I look forward to learning new things and to speakers challenging my way of thinking, and seeing if there are ways I can improve my workflow or productivity or as a person.
The WordPress community has taught me that it’s ok if I don’t know everything, nobody does. We are all good at certain things and that’s totally fine!
WPJuicer: What do you look for in a managed WordPress host?
Dhara: I would admit I have never dealt with anything to do with hosting. But a managed WordPress host must definitely be able to load my site quickly. That is the primary requirement.
They should have good customer support. Why not! 😉
I am not even getting to the point of saying that it should have zero downtime. That’s a basic need. We can’t afford our site to be down, not even for 5 minutes.
Lastly, I think the host should be able to handle high traffic volumes during peak sales periods like Black Friday/Cyber Monday, Halloween, etc.
WPJuicer: Who should we interview next, and why?
Dhara: I think you should definitely contact the following amazing people. They will surely add a good value to your site.
WPJuicer: We have talked too much about your professional life. Let’s tell our readers about your hobbies and interests. What does Dhara do other than work? (Can we have a pics)
Dhara: Sure, apart from work I love dancing, travelling, and meeting new people. This is also one of the reasons that I love attending WordCamps. I love spending time on social media and attending some interesting twitter chats. I have set reminders for some chats too. 😉
I love baking cakes and pastries. Before I started with Tyche, I had started a small homegrown bakery for making donuts.
Below are some pics about my travel and fun at WordCamps.
WPJuicer: Any other thoughts or things you wish to mention?
Dhara: I am glad I was able to share my experiences with everyone.
Readers if you want to chat or connect with me then you can find me on Twitter.