Our Service Operations team lead, Marc, introduces this crucial team and the Smartlies that ensure that we’re renowned for our best-in-class technical support and distinguished customer service. Oh and, if you’ve had your eye on this team for a while, you’ll want to read through until the very end of this post.
Service Operations can be a confusing name – even if you google it, you won’t find an accurate definition for it, but what our team’s work boils down to is scaling our customer support system. Everyone at Smartly.io does support work, and Service Ops builds the tech and the processes to sustain this. We pride ourselves in being close to our customers and close to our product. Support puts all of these into practice.
On a daily basis, Service Ops engineers build automation to provide a top notch quality of service to our customers and to make the life of Smartlies offering support easier. For example, to make sure we never drop the ball when a customer reports a bug, we build a NodeJS script to link up Intercom API and JIRA API, build native ReactJS dashboards to display the support load and balance it across employees, or build and maintain a Chrome Extension to make support easier.
The Service Ops team has always been a bubbling hot bath of talent. Today we are a team of 12 spread across Smartly.io offices in New York City, Helsinki, Berlin and Singapore. But our history is very rich and many of our team members have progressed to Software Engineering positions or taken on team lead positions and grown to be amazing leaders.
Here are some of them:
Among our first members was Suvi. When I started at Smartly.io, I personally thought Suvi was superhuman – she was juggling so many support chats at the same time I remember wondering what her secret was.
After a while building her technical skills, Suvi continued to engineering and even led the biggest engineering team at that time (Middle Management, a team dedicated to Facebook campaign creation and campaign management). Now she’s changed teams again, and she’s currently maintaining a very complex reporting system built to support data and visualization of all advertisement channels.
“Service operations was a great place to learn about how our product works as well as how it should work. Working with customer problems forced me to dig deep into peculiarities of our codebase and learn it inside out. Besides learning a ton about pitfalls of writing software, I also learnt the importance of design. It’s not enough that the product works, it also needs to be designed in a way that the users know how to use it.” – Suvi
Johanna was at the very beginning of Service Ops – in fact, she’s one of the founding members! She used to be a Software Engineer before joining, and she has played many different roles at Smartly.io. Today she leads the training organization, and she just launched our brand new customer facing Academy for customer training at scale.
“Service Operations team is at the core of Smartly.io and provides a great view within the company. Scaling Smartly.io support from 10X to 100X customers taught me how to build systems that stand the test of time and scale.” – Johanna
Another important figure of Service Ops is Olli. Olli was my predecessor as a team lead for Service Ops. Like Suvi, he’s been with Smartly.io since the beginning and he’s taken Service Ops to the next level, from automation to live dashboards which we are still using to this day. After spending some time in Managed Service and running campaigns for our biggest customers, Olli recently moved to a new mystery team that will develop tech for supporting the next channel we will offer.
“Service Operations is a team where you maximize learning by solving customer problems in our in-app chat and then take those learnings to develop our product and support processes to the next level to work Smartly.io. For me, personally, the team was also a place to improve my product and technical skills." – Olli
Another Service Ops Engineer who went on to do miracles as a Software Engineer is Okko. He took it as his mission to automate the customer communication of bug fixes. Okko understood that everybody has bugs, but the difference between SaaS products is not how many bugs they have, but how fast they move to fix them. Okko built a full-blown tool to take care of the mass communication to our customers, linking JIRA API and Intercom API. We are also still using this tool coded in React, using a NodeJS backend.
When I joined Service Ops, Okko was already on his way to move to team Top Gun, where he would use his wizardry to continue building our feed management infrastructure. After doing this for a while, Okko decided to take a break and pursue formal education in software engineering from Hive.
"In service ops I learned that a lot of debugging is just hunches. Intuitive hunches. But intuition comes only through a lot of repetition, practice & learning. Then you gotta confirm your hunches. But despite not being 100% sure about the causes when solving customer problems, most of the time the hunch was the path to follow. It was not about knowing everything, but rather learning to find out.” – Okko
One of the most iconic Service Ops engineers we’ve ever had in the team is Fran. A master of troubleshooting and automation, Fran has had a strong influence on the ways of working of Service Ops. One thing that doesn’t translate in this blurb is how helpful this team is, and Fran is definitely one of those who set an incredible example for that with his humility and selflessness, always putting his peers above him, and by helping everyone to maximize their learning. Following his 3 year stint at Service Ops, Fran joined team Aether, and now develops Smartly.io’s user access control.
“Service Operations is the only unique team where you get the freedom to decide where, how much and how you want to develop and grow. In the 3 years I was part of the team, before I jumped to the Software Engineering world, I got to be really close to customers, dive into product management, develop my leadership skills, and of course further develop my dev skills. One can leave ServiceOps, but ServiceOps will never leave you. It's changed my perspective for good." – Fran
Kai was the first technical hire in APAC. Early on, he had to wear multiple hats: he acted as a customer consultant on technical issues, held his own customers, and even pushed a multilingual improvement project to support our Chinese customers. Growing on his experience in the product, he is now a Solutions Engineer and works even closer with our customers, acting as the eyes and ears of the product team. He will soon move to join Pietu in Gradient.
"When my friends ask me about my job as Service Ops Engineer, I always find it hard to explain to them because the scope is so broad. From tackling customer problems to introducing small improvements in our tool, no two days are alike. If you fancy solving a broad range of problems in a fast paced environment, apply now!" – Kai
The latest one to spread his wings is Anton – though Milan, our Tech Support Engineer in Helsinki, likes to call him Papa. Probably because he grew up so fast and took Service Ops through an unprecedented series of technical changes including the migration of all our tech to Kubernetes, all our recurring scripts to Airflow, and many of our dashboards to Tableau, all the while coaching and educating other engineers of the team. Anton announced that he was moving to Team Aqueduct to further develop our cross platform feed management system. We’re sad to see him go, but we’re also eager to see who’s going to come and replace him…
“I couldn't have hoped for a better team than Service Operations to start my career in tech. It is really a team where I learned it all, from fullstack engineering to coaching & training, to creating data pipelines and analysing data, to becoming a technical support specialist. A true jack of all trades experience. With a can-do attitude you can really strive in this team and elevate yourself, your colleagues and our customers to a whole new level.” –Anton
When I joined Service Ops, Stella was in the team at Helsinki and she was doing a lot of Data Analytics. One of the responsibilities of Service Ops at this time was to plan, execute and analyse the bi-annual customer satisfaction survey and Stella was an integral part of that process. She moved to the performance team and joined the San Francisco office later this year, and went on to become the Global team lead of the performance team. Together with her team, she’s providing performance marketing consultation for the most advanced marketers on the planet.
“Service Operations was an excellent team to learn customer service as well as the ins and outs of our SaaS tool. I analyzed our customer support data, customer surveys, and our app usage data to spot the areas where the Smartly.io offering could improve to deliver a stronger customer experience. The Service Operations team is great for a hands-on person who enjoys solving critical and time-sensitive challenges!” – Stella
Sean also started at Smartly.io in ServiceOps, and he was one of our first technical hires in the Americas. He naturally drifted toward the more customer-facing aspects of the team, writing custom scripts & mini-services to solve problems. From there he moved to Austin, TX to help establish the technical expertise of one of our new offices, and then gradually moved through to managing clients, doing sales, and eventually to Technical Partner Manager, helping improve our core product through 3rd party technical integrations and commercial relationships.
“ServiceOps is like a motherboard - it’s the spine of Smartly.io that helps connect the product to the customers, and makes sure all of the different pieces can effectively communicate to serve our customers as efficiently as possible. It was a great place to learn because it gave so much exposure to each function within the company, which allows you to naturally move toward the areas that you want to drive real impact.” – Sean
And many others
There are many other Service Ops Engineers who’ve gained their first experience with the team before moving on to other duties:
Pietu moved to the team Gradient, who’s developing our creative testing.
Zak and Andrew from New York moved to Solution Engineering, who’s developing ad hoc solutions to help close new clients.
Justin, also in Singapore, moved to Technical Solutions to help day-to-day technical operations of CSMs.
Pekka, our 3 x ironman, moved to Managed Services as an Engineer to put some grease in the gears of the managed processes.
Travis, Toby and Malachy moved to the Technical Solutions team to support existing customers with technical onboarding and implementations.
Ian moved to the Training team and built a massive learning management system in a record time.
- Tuomas joined Service Ops as a Data Analyst and then moved to a new Data Analytics department focusing not only on support data but also product and customer data.
Riiko helped open our Singapore office and then moved to the managed service team. He recently joined team Graham as a team lead, building our campaign creation and management for Snap.
Patrik moved to the Data Science team which is responsible for the underlying algorithms behind Predictive Budget Allocation.
– and there are of course many more who went on to do more amazing things beyond Smartly.io!
We’ve saved the best for last: as it happens, our team is recruiting right now. Our objective is to plan the support system for the next increment of 1000 employees. If the challenge and the track record of above speaks to you, see our team’s open positions in London, Berlin, Helsinki and New York.