The Automatic mouthpiece posted a couple of days ago all about Happiness Engineers. Having been a HE, it is true that we really do seek to help you in the best way possible. But, having been a HE before Covid, the way we want to help has changed.
Automattic has provided HEs with a new mandate, as HEs you are now required as a factor of job performance, to upsell our products.
Obviously this compromises the support experience and introduces a sales angle.
Think Godaddy but by text chat not gaudy junk.
If you search ‘layoffs’ and many tech companies you will see the high numbers of people who lost their jobs. But if you search layoffs and Automattic you will find none. You might even find mention that Automattic did not need to engage in layoffs.
When a company is remote, when a company is relatively small, when a company is privately owned they can do whatever they want confident in the knowledge that exiting employees will not say the truth because they want to stay in the industry, and remaining employees stay silent in case the Eye Of Matt falls upon them.
There have been many people ejected from Automattic due to Covid and ‘streamlining’.
The post about Happiness Engineers is relevant for two reasons:
1 – there has been an active cull of experienced HE’s who were very well regarded by their peers.
2 – AI is on the way. The head of Support was recently given the job of bringing in AI. Specifically, the former Head of Support, whom has worked entirely in Support at Automattic for 99% of their career, is now Head of AI at Automattic. Surprising no-one, as a result of this career path, there is little experience in AI on the current Head of AI’s resume. In Automattic’s eyes, and indeed, at many other companies Support is seen as a ‘cost center’, and AI can solve that, by being cheaper to employ than a human support team member.
This Automattic post about how wonderful HE’s are is to reassure you that you are getting the very best, and for many years Automattic was one of the gold standards for customer support, but it’s now probably a bot, or some over worked Happiness Engineer who is worried about not hitting upsell quotas, and can’t really focus on helping you solve problems, because solving problems is no longer a primary concern for support.
Recently, the Automattic HR team answered a series of anonymous and not so anonymous questions. One question was about pay raises. Specifically asking if Automattic allows part time work for part time pay, (they do) then is there an option for HEs who want to work more than full time to get additional pay for extra hours?
This was the reply:
“If you’d like to make more as a HE, we’d suggest driving more sales and developing your coding skills. It is not clear that just answering chats or tickets will be as valuable to Automattic in the future.”
Look at the first sentence. ‘driving more sales’
Look at that second sentence.
Now read the post about HE’s again.