Written by Sean Valant
Monday, July 22nd, 2013
The HostGator offices are populated by very diverse and creative individuals. We have talented artists and musicians and practitioners of virtually every other creative pursuit imaginable. We’re an interesting bunch, and from time to time our creative interests intersect with our workday.
We’ve been periodically posting videos on our YouTube channel of Bobby, one of our front-line support agents, mystifying and astounding his fellow gators with his own brand of up-close magic; Magic Mondays it has come to be known as.
Our YouTube channel has lots of videos, from the educational to the entertaining. Help pass the time this Monday and go check it out, maybe even subscribe in order to get the latest video content from us! In the meantime, we wanted to share the most recent Magic Monday video with you right here:
Do you have any requests or suggestions for video content we can create to share with you? Leave us a comment and let us know!
Written by Sean Valant
Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
We had another blog post that we were planning on posting today, however late last night there was something in the air here at the HostGator Houston office. There was an undeniable rhythm permeating throughout the building. Deciding that we should seize the moment, we did the only reasonable thing that we could possibly do: we made a Harlem Shake video.
It’s worth noting that this was created very much in a “flash mob” style; there was no premeditation and no one in the video knew that they were going to be in any video when they arrived at work last night. All props were gathered from throughout the building and from employees’ cars out in the parking lot.
We sent out a broadcast via out internal IM system, stating a time and place and requesting the presence of anyone within the building who was available to participate. And this is what happened:
Written by Sean Valant
Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
Please see Part I, right here. As our story continues, I am now on the chat floor speaking primarily on the phone with Customers, though also taking random chats as well between calls. Starting to get into the swing of things, but still not completely at ease. I’ve managed to not break anything or anger anyone, so I figure I’m doing well enough. Many of our Customers are familiar with the email@example.com email address, which is directly read by Management and is intended for use any time anyone has any complaints or praise about anything at all related to their HostGator account or the related support they’ve received. Thus far, I have assisted a few Customers who took the time to email in to let my Supervisor know about the quality of my work. It’s always nice to have nice things said about you by strangers.
Having never provided technical support to the general public in any capacity before, those first few days were interesting and full of constant learning. I wanted to do the best I could and maintain HostGator’s stellar level of support, but at the same time I lacked the actual experience which is what ultimately leads to complete confidence. Time would solve this circumstance, but time takes time. I can honestly say that working on the chat floor was fast-paced and exciting and there was truly never a dull moment.
I decided to query some veteran Gators on their initial impressions from when they were brand new Hatchlings, fresh out of training. The consensus seems to be pretty similar to my own experience. Presenting, in alphabetical order, some initial impressions from my fellow Gators:
Cody (presently a Linux Admin): “When I first started as a Chat Tech, I was kind of overwhelmed by the huge amount of information, but very excited by the huge learning opportunity in front of me. I did all I could every day, studied the KnowledgeBase, and life got easier and easier each day.”
Dominic (presently a Sales Representative): “It felt like my first time swimming. I was scared, splashing around trying to quickly find answers to questions I just learned. As I was flailing wildly, I held on to whomever was there: Quality Assurance, Level 2 Chat Agents, Supervisors… whoever didn’t mind that I had a deathgrip on their arm”
Kristi (presently a Retention Specialist): “I was so nervous. Fortunately the resources, tools and overall assistance provided allowed me to quickly grow to where I became much more confident and comfortable working directly with the Customers.”
Russell (presently a Linux Admin): “I felt overwhelmed at first, but the more I worked with customers, the more knowledgeable I became and the easier and more enjoyable the job became to me.”
Zach (presently a Linux Admin): “It was like playing that lightening reaction game: each time you start a new chat it’s panic until the Customer describes the problem… and then you realize that yes, you can actually fix this.”
It seems that almost all of us start out with a certain degree of cold feet, but ultimately we have all risen to other positions within the company and made room for dozens and dozens of new Hatchlings that will follow in our paths. Speaking of new Hatchlings, this is a picture of our Austin Training room on the day this post was written. Behold, the future generation of HostGator, likely presently feeling that initial nervousness of which we’re speaking:
It should truly go without saying that most of our interactions with our Customers are overwhelmingly pleasant, but anyone providing front-line support will always have an interesting or unusual interaction. One of the Customers that sticks out for me was an individual who initially took a shine to me and began requesting me each time time they called. This particular Customer wound up calling up to discuss a myriad of topics, including their recent doctor appointments and on-going health issues. Another call was to request my assistance in repairing a hardware issue on their home computer. We have a very soft “scope of support” here at HostGator, but troubleshooting home PCs (or doctor appointment visits) is simply not a service we can really provide, with our apologies.
Before too long, I would be promoted to a position where I no longer actively accepted telephone calls, thus was the end of my interactions with that particular Customer… at least as of this writing, but one never knows. As for the position to which I was promoted, we will certainly come to that as we further speak on this topic.
Once again, if you have any questions at all about our front-line Agents, or anything at all that has been discussed up to this point, please leave your question in the comments section and I’ll be happy to elaborate.
Written by Sean Valant
Monday, December 24th, 2012
As the year comes to a close, not only should we all reflect upon the successes and any failures of the year in order to grow from the lessons contained in each, we should also set aside some time to simply celebrate. Celebration has manifested in multiple forms here at HostGator this year, and we’ve had a lot to celebrate. It had been a truly great year, full of very positive change and we’re all looking forward to what the new year will bring.
We had our annual holiday party recently, but before we get into those pictures I wanted to share with you the tree that was set up in one of our Houston buildings last week:
Every tree needs a topper; some sort of symbol or designation that sets the tone for the season and for the tree itself. Apparently for a HostGator tree, that symbol is Darth Malgus, of “Star Wars: The Old Republic” fame. It’s starting to look like this tree was decorated by, well, nerds. There’s the aforementioned jack-o-lantern again. Also, we see an Ethernet cable and a network switch; further supporting this nerd theory. And is that a telephone receiver? Let’s take a further look:
Yes, that is indeed a telephone receiver. We also now see a couple of HostGator lanyards. No tree would be complete without Snappy, but is that also a more realistic gator there on the left? Yes, it does appear so. Below, we’ll find a rubik’s cube and a keyboard:
And what nerdy tree would be complete without a couple of O’Reilly books underneath; always give the gift of learning:
Now that you’ve seen this amazing tree, we’ll move right along to the company party. The Houston party was held at Dave & Busters, a Texas-based restaurant and entertainment complex.
The series of pictures will best tell the tale of the company party; we ate, we drank, we played games. It went something like this:
It’s safe to say that a good time was had by all. We came together as a company to celebrate our successes and share some time together. Thank you, from the bottom of our collective heart, for allowing us to have such a great year and we look forward to serving you for many, many years to come. Have a safe and happy holiday and new year from all of your friends here at HostGator!