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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Support Warriors And Troubleshooters, part 1: a bit of history

First of all - who am I?

For those of you who don’t know, my name is Jim and I am head of the support team here at Umbraco. And just like many of my talented colleagues already are sharing insights from the HQ, I’ve also gotten inspired and want to share some stories and happenings from the support team called S.W.A.T.

And despite having a great fear to write something publicly and possibly facing the fact that hundreds, maybe thousands (😱) will read this, it has now become time for me to grab that virtual pen and put down some words, about the crazy and exciting ride of the past 2 years.

What was it like two years ago?

When I started working at Umbraco HQ back in July 2016, I didn’t have that many colleagues. And just like all other teams in HQ, the support department was very much in the making. In fact, me and Georgs got hired as the third and fourth person in support.

Georgs was introduced to the chat channel on Cloud and myself to the email support.

And that was it.

The 2016 support team - Me, Georgs, Rune and Dennis.

We didn’t put much thought into documentation, videos or online webinars at this point. After a little while when Georgs and I got settled, we felt more and more like a small team with a lot on our minds. We started to look at numbers so that we could plan our days and with this, our opening hours, shifts etc.

We started to track relevant information like where do our lovely customers come from and what time of day did they need our help. And again, all for the purpose of planning our days and making sure we were there for our customers when they needed us - which, for example, meant we had to extend our “opening” hours.

It didn’t take long for us to realize that we needed to be way more than 4 people for us to be able to perform as well as we wanted. So very soon after, we started to look for more people, and we truly got lucky when we hired Sofie - a great addition back then and indeed indispensable today (maybe you have read one of her blog post about documentation lately? Or one on Umbraco Cloud? Or watched a tutorial video with her?).

Many amazing colleagues have jumped onboard since then. In fact, right now we are 11 support warriors, and our business hours go from 08:00 to 21:00 CET - 5 more hours than back in 2016!

SWAT teamThe full 2018 S.W.A.T. team (almost 😉)

So as you can see, a lot has happened since then and it has been an amazing journey.

So what else has happened? How about the name “S.W.A.T.”:


How did we ever become S.W.A.T.?

S.W.A.T.?

Isn’t S.W.A.T. the Special Weapons and Tactics division from the US law enforcement? 🤔

Yes, they are.

But even more so, S.W.A.T. is also the Support Warriors And Troubleshooters here at Umbraco HQ. A lot of you have already been in touch with us, as we are first-in-line when it comes to customer engagement on both emails, chat and calls.


But from where did the name S.W.A.T. emerge? Well, it kinda came out from nowhere at a time where we started to realize how much we wanted an identity for the team. As you might know, the Umbraco HQ communications and marketing team are called COMA: Communication and Online Marketing Astronauts. Freaking brilliant if you ask me!

Our HQ developers got the D-Team name (yeah, maybe not the most creative name - but at least it’s a name!) and even our “financial department” got this super cool identity of Sea-Bass (also known as Poul) leading the Excel Fishtank.

Boy, we needed an identity so much!

And as this writing most likely reveals, I am not artistic nor creative kind-of-guy and I didn’t have a clue as to what identity the team should have.

We came across everything from pirate ship to circus, and it might sometimes feel like a circus but then again, it just didn’t feel right. After some weeks going back and forth it appeared right out of the blue and just felt right for all of us. So thank god for my talented colleagues in the team as their brainstorming and many discussions resulted in both the S.W.A.T. name (Support Warriors And Troubleshooters) and a super cool logo.

Woohoo 😄 We now felt like a real team.

swat in swagS.W.A.T. proudly showing off the S.W.A.T.- swag 😎

From 4 to 11

Steve Jobs once said:

It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do”.

I love that as I truly believe that we have only hired people who basically from the very beginning shines through with their strong personalities, different backgrounds in culture and passion for the open source world and the products and services we offer. To scale the team has indeed been one of the most exciting tasks for me in the last years.

So how do we find these wonderful and talented people?

With a great collaboration between the local school, University College Lillebaelt, and us, with some good old groundwork and dedication, we have succeeded in hiring talented colleagues for our internship positions.

And even more so, we have been very lucky that all internships have ended with full-time hires.

But that’s not really a surprise to us.

Because whether we hire interns, student assistance or full-timers, we always consider this a long-lasting relationship where we right from the start are keen to put up a serious and ongoing onboarding program, that will teach products, culture, communication and proactivity. And then we make sure all newbies get to do “real work” fairly quickly.


And what does all this mean to you?

S.W.A.T. has grown rapidly over the past two years (and we are still growing!) and we are very proud of the identity, the spirit and the layers of structure and knowhow that has been added.

We truly believe in what we do, why it makes sense and the value that we bring, not only to Umbraco HQ but most of all to all of you guys who from time to time need a helping hand. And luckily, by the feedback we get from our customers, we can see that the many efforts are paying off!

Sofie helping out

This also means that today I don’t hesitate to guarantee you a professional, yet friendly and open communication when you reach out to SWAT.

I promise you, that no matter from where in the world, if it's under a palm tree, from the top of the Himalayas or the South Pole, we will get back to you within 24 hours. In fact, due to the numbers we are now tracking, we can see that 70% of all of you will hear from us within the first hour of submitting a question and that all received issues within business hours get a responds the same day. So we are by far much better than our 24 guaranteed response time.

In our culture and in our DNA we have giphs and unicorns floating around. We love to have fun and be personal with you. We treasure the moments where we have learned your names, your story and what you are going to have for dinner. But above all, we want you to experience a great service where you feel like you get the help and guidance you were looking for - and then some.

I hope that you now have an idea of the journey that I, and the S.W.A.T. team, have been on for the past two years - and the road we are on now.


Next time I want to deep-dive into the onboarding program for our new warriors and the continuous training that we give our friendly support warriors to make sure they feel capable, competent and confident to not only give you the help you need but also that little something extra that you didn’t expect… Maybe it’ll inspire you? And maybe you’ll finally find out what a Frøsnapper is? 😉



Umbraco support teamWhen you reach out, one of these friendly faces will be behind the other screen.

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Sofie’s Docs Diary Vol. 10: 1000 contributions and a very special fest! 👏

As the headline of this blog post reveals, there’s a lot to celebrate in this update! Celebrations that have a lot to do with you - so, yes, this is also an encouragement for you to go shoot off some confetti, enjoy a cold beer, eat a tasty cake or simply, give yourself a pad on the shoulders. Maybe even get yourself some new Umbraco swag? Now, let’s discover why you deserve to celebrate:

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