I can’t quite believe that I’ve been here for just over a month now! It has absolutely flown by, I guess that saying holds true – time flies when you’re having fun. It has been such a wonderful experience to be welcomed so warmly and openly into the HowNow team, plus the work itself is really interesting and enjoyable too.
I thought it might be a nice idea to write about five things I’ve learnt in my first five weeks here at HowNow. So, here it goes…
The reality of remote onboarding
Starting a new job can be quite a nerve-racking experience, even more so when you’ve got to do it all remotely! No one could have foreseen that the whole world would effectively be locked down, so it isn’t like there was any handbook to follow.
However, some companies have adapted quickly and seamlessly into this new virtual world, and I believe HowNow is one of them – the fact that we’re an intelligent learning platform may have given us the edge. From the HowNow Intro Course, which included pre-recorded introductions to each team member, to donuts – virtual coffee meets that randomly pair you with different colleagues each week. Donuts have been a great way to get to know colleagues who aren’t in my direct team and mimic the coffee room chats you would have if you were in the office.
How to use the platform and my favourite features
I’ve been here for over a month now, and I’m still learning new things about the platform all the time – it’s an ongoing project, really. I am still amazed at how easy HowNow makes things, and there’s so much you can pick up in a matter of days. Like the little gems of knowledge you can save as Nuggets – whether they’re my original thoughts or external articles, I can share them with my colleagues in a couple of clicks.
For example, if I found a really interesting article on Customer Success best practices I could turn it into a Nugget, using the Browser Extension, and share it with the Customer Success Group. The Browser Extension is such a great feature as it really speeds up my work. I can be Googling something and it’ll surface any resources, from in the platform, which are relevant to my search. I can also create Nuggets through the Extension and request from my learning budget – it really eases my workflow.
Speaking like a ‘real person’ and tapping into the HowNow voice
Part of my training included learning the HowNow Voice. The team believes in cutting out any unnecessary jargon, formal tone and technological terminology. I haven’t worked anywhere with this relaxed style of communication, so it took me a couple of attempts to get right. Now that I’ve cracked it, there is no going back! It is so much more natural, way easier to build rapport, and the client knows they aren’t talking to a robot.
I began by practising my tone to client responses in Intercom – I would draft my reply, and Alfie would then review and amend anything. *Special shout out to Alfie for virtually holding my hand throughout the onboarding process!* Then, I was able to send it off to the client. This system worked beautifully; the fact that I could draft my response and get near-immediate feedback allowed me to learn quickly and effectively.
Loom recordings and learning to love my own voice
Alongside Intercom, I was assigned multiple tasks, including recording my first ever Loom tutorials. I created a video demonstrating how to use the Skills tool effectively, so that you make the most of what the feature has to offer. No one likes hearing their own voice on a recording, but it was a big milestone in listening to how confident I sounded and how much knowledge I had picked up in such a short period of time.
I was also trusted to respond to clients without having to run my drafts past Alfie, which was another big marker in my learning progress. I can feel and see how much more confident I am compared with when I began five weeks ago. Here are some spicy stats for you – I’ve had a total of 80 Intercom conversations assigned to me, of which 63 have been catered for and closed. My customer satisfaction has been rated ???? or ???? so far!
Catching up, virtual socials and maintaining the culture remotely
Every Monday and Friday morning, the whole team meets for half an hour to catch up on the weekend or week. This has been such a great way for me to integrate into the team, I really got a feel for everyone and got to see the group dynamics. HowNow also has a ‘Happy Hour’ every Thursday afternoon where the whole team come together for a social. These are great for building team relationships, having a bit of fun and winding down towards the end of the week.
Seeing as we can’t all head to the pub for a drink after work, this is a great alternative to the social aspects of work that we’re missing. In my fourth week, I volunteered to host the social and put together a few quiz rounds, including the very well received ‘Overheard at Waitrose’. The fact that in my first month I hosted a social is testament to how comfortable and confident I feel around everyone, but also how welcoming and easy-going the HowNow team have been.