Meet The Bakers: Pris, Eliska & Marin–The Wonder Women of BudgetBakers
What started as one man’s dream to develop a tool to manage his finances has now become a full-blown startup, BudgetBakers, employing a motley team of talented individuals, all working towards helping the world lead a richer life.
Who are we, really? Many of us began our journey with BudgetBakers, like you, as users of Wallet. As a team, our users mean the world to us, and we would love for you to take a peek into our life at BudgetBakers. So we present to you an interview series called Meet The Bakers to let you in on a little more about each of us here.
This week, we’ve the Wonder Women of Wallet, our three-member support team on the hot seat. You may already know them from your interactions with them, still it’s always great to put a face to their names. Meet Priscilla ‘Pris’ Havelkova, Eliska Klimtova and Marin Mannies, our support angels, who serve as an important link between our users and the rest of the BudgetBakers team. So listen in to this freewheeling chat to get an inside view on their work and to get to know them better.
Hello girls! This is one of the most well-decorated room in our office, I must say! Flowers, a photo board, origami, a motivation corner…phew! So do all these add that special zing to your work and keep you going, considering that customer support is a pretty thankless job?
Pris: Yes, of course! We try to keep things colorful and positive around here to keep us going. We also have some motivational processes in place, because our job is to keep our users happy and we need to stay energetic and motivated at all times to do that.
Eliska: Yup, we definitely do need some extra color out here!
Marin: I agree! It’s easy to feel burnt out and start feeling negative when you handle too many queries a day. So we have set up a sort of structure to even our breaks.
So tell me about a typical day here at work…
Pris: Hmmm… We start off making sure that we know where each of us are at in terms of the work we are doing. Usually, we begin with Google Play and App Store reviews. We make it a point to not just respond to the negative ones or complaints, but also to thank the users who write good things about the app. Then we move on to our Support tickets and issues reported on social media.
Because we are such a small team, we just roll our sleeves up and get all in to get stuff done! And. depending on the workload each day, we force ourselves to take frequent breaks to be charged at all times.
Marin: I love this about our team. For me, when we take short breaks, it is like taking a power nap. It recharges me to face the rest of the day.
Eliska: For instance, every day we have our 3:45pm Music Video Break. We play a few songs and take this time to just flex our muscles. We are constantly sitting for work, so we use this time to do some physical exercises, something like push ups or stretches or even wall sits, to kind of wake us up from the afternoon lull.
Marin: Yes, it’s the best way to wake up in the afternoon. I have found that if you have some structure to your breaks, it works better.
Great! Now that’s something I should probably pick up from you guys! So let me take you back a bit. How did you guys come to BudgetBakers and why customer support?
Pris: Before I joined BudgetBakers, I was working with a corporate firm. I wanted a change of scene and wanted to work with a smaller team, like in a startup. I wanted to get a taste of the startup experience and was interested in working with an app like Wallet. I was attracted by the fact that the team is smaller which meant I would be more involved in what i did and my work would have more of an impact.
About customer support, I don’t know! I don’t think anyone starts out thinking that they want to be in support. Over time, I have realised that I have people skills and that I am a good listener. That’s how I gave this a try and found that I actually enjoyed doing this.
Eliska: As for me, this is my first real job. I wanted to start off with a small team, just as Pris mentioned, to be more actively involved in the workings of the company. BudgetBakers was perfect for me because this team turned out to be really friendly and open.
And, because I was new to this field and didn’t have a lot of work experience, customer support was the best fit for me. Because, here it’s more about your personality and communication skills. So it was a good place for me to start off with. Once I started doing it, I found that it is such a rewarding experience to hear users say that we have helped them solve their problems.
Marin: So, I’m the newer one on the team. And, I heard about this opening through Pris. I was very excited about it, because I was a freelancer and I wanted a change from what I was doing. I wanted something with more structure and I had some experience in customer service which was what I did back home in the USA.
Earlier, I used to do in-person and on-phone customer service operations. I was pleasantly surprised at how rewarding it felt to do this again. It was like flexing an old muscle that I hadn’t used in a while.
What is that you like the most about your job here?
Marin: For me, what keeps me going here is the environment in this company, the close-knit team we have here, where we work and whom I work with. I think I have noticed that irrespective of when you joined the team or what you do here, you can freely voice your opinions and suggestions. Like even if you don’t know anything about programming and development, you can still give your ideas and everyone listens to you and takes it seriously. This is a very open and transparent space to be in.
Pris: I agree with Marin, of course, I love our team. I also like the fact that we are the ones who represent the team to our users. We are the ones who are in touch with the users. And, we do have some super users who are waiting for every new release to give us so much constructive feedback. We love the fact that our users are so keen to make Wallet better with us.
Eliska: Honestly, there has never been a day that I haven’t wanted to come to work. Even after weekends, I feel happy to get to work. I also like that here even your job profiles are fluid in a way. You can start off in customer support and then learn about other teams and their workings and even move between teams if you feel ready for it. I like this flexibility that BudgetBakers offers.
Wow! That’s great to hear! But I’m sure there are some times that are not as pleasant, too. Could you share some weird support request you have got or any strange interactions you’ve had to go through?
Eliska: (laughs) In fact, we get quite a lot of that. Recently, there was this guy, I think he was from the UK. He asked us something and I responded and he said something like, “Oh thanks! I almost thought you were sunbathing by a mosquito-infested river.” After that, he started getting abusive. It was both funny and strange.
So how do you keep your cool and handle these kind of interactions?
Marin: First of all, we don’t take these personally.
Pris: Yes, I always tell them that if at all it gets too much, we just talk to each other, vent out our feelings and then get back to work. Venting is important. It helps to take out anger or hurt and be as nice to the user as possible.
Eliska: Yeah, we just respond as shortly as possible to people like this. In fact, in this case, we did respond to him and he did get his refund as well.
Marin: This is one good thing about having email support. Because, you don’t have an angry or abusive user waiting for you on a phone line. Here, you do have at least the time to compose a calm, professional email whatever the case may be.
So what are the biggest challenges that you, as a team, face?
Pris: One of the biggest challenges we face is that we come from non-technical backgrounds. Of course, we know the app inside out, but most often when there are technical issues or bugs, users expect that it can be fixed as soon as they report it. But it takes some time because we report the bug to our dev team and they fix it and then get back to us. We, then, get back to our users. And, of course, the other issue being that we’re a small team. However, we’re expanding now and we’re hiring! Just in case, anyone based in Prague would be interested!
What was the one feature that brought the biggest number of support tickets?
Pris: When we introduced changes in categories. That was a huge change and it was one of those times when we got much more tickets than we could handle.
So what do you do outside of work? Hobbies…?
Eliska: I do yoga and I like to Instagram, especially about cafes in Prague and coffee.
Marin: I am a part of an improv group called Creative Differences and I love to read.
Pris: I’m a very social person. I like meeting people and also I love to do some crafts in my free time.
As users of Wallet, what are your favourite features in the app?
Eliska: I am lazy to track my expenses, so I really like the bank connection feature. Wallet does all the work for me and even categorizes my transactions.
Pris: For reasons similar to what Eliska said, I really like the Import feature. I like it that it gives me full control and flexibility in inputting my data.
Marin: I like to see my total balance and my cash flow. It gives me a clear picture of where I stand with my finances. I also like the chart widgets on the Dashboard.
— BudgetBakers (@budgetbakers) September 5, 2017
Also published on Medium.