Selling a financed car to someone who will also be financing

Recently, as part of a cross-state move, I sold my car. The car, which was financed, was being sold to a friend, who was also going to be financing it. This seems like it should be a relatively-common scenario, but, apparently not—I could find no car-buying or car-selling advice about what to do when both parties are in their 20s and do not have “buying a Honda Fit all at once” money. So, here’s the low-down that I wish I’d had three weeks ago, with the caveat that my experience is unique to Georgia and other states probably have their own horrifying, paperwork-laden versions of this particular experience.

The first step is, of course, to find someone to agree to buy your car. I accomplished this by texting a former work-friend who’s now just a friend-friend and saying “I’m selling my car. Do you want it?” This technique may not work in all situations.

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Support Your Customers Better and Faster

I’m quoted in this article from Zapier about automating customer support:

“It’s important to automate as much support as you can,” says Trello support agent Emily Chapman. “Not in terms of responses, but in terms of auto­tagging, moving cases into appropriate folders or buckets, and reducing the amount of manual monitoring required.”

Let the robots do the work, y’all.

Read the rest on Zapier’s blog.

Forecasting the Weather in Ruby

I’ve just finished my first month of the three-month SkillCrush Ruby on Rails blueprint. That means that I’ve just finished learning the rudiments of Ruby and Git—next month we’ll move on to simple Ruby web frameworks, before rounding out month three with an immersion into Ruby on Rails.

As my capstone project for this first month, I’ve written code that asks you for your zip code, and—using the Yahoo Weatherman gem—tells you the weather conditions, high, and low for the next five days. It’s not the most exciting app in the world (what learning-to-code project is?), but it’s more code—and specifically more Ruby—than I would have ever thought I could write this time last year.

Check out the weather forecast script on Github.

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UserConf Portland 2015: In Defense of Tiny Data

A few months ago, I had the incredible good fortune to speak at UserConf Portland 2015, a conference dedicated to customer service and customer support. I spoke on the Tiny Data, based on my blog post about the same. I’ve uploaded the presentation so that anyone who’d like to see it can watch:

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 12.06.26 PM

How 15 Minutes Each Week Keeps Our Distributed Team Connected

I’m quoted in a blog post for Trello, discussing the advantages of our get-to-know-you weekly video chats:

“It helps me build personal relationships with people who I need to work with to do my job but who are on other teams. And that’s invaluable when I need to ask folks to do something or soothe over a difficult discussion. Plus, it gives us a space to talk about something other than work.”

Read the rest of the article on the Trello blog.

Send Emails, Update Trello Using Trolly and Mandrill

Recently, I’ve taken on some additional tasks at work. Chief among them has been reaching out to users for interviews—I ask them about pain points and favorite features, record the sessions, and then write up notes.

The start of every one of those sessions, however, is emailing a user to see if they’d be interested in talking to me. It only took sending a few of those (basically identical) emails for me to wonder if I could automate the process—it turns out I can.

I’ve written a bit of Python that takes a first name, last name, email address, and company name for a user. It then substitutes that information into a stock email script, sends the email through Mandrill, and makes a card on a Trello board containing the user’s name and company (to which I’m assigned as a member). It uses Trolly (a Python wrapper for Trello) and Mandrill’s official Python wrapper.

I’ve uploaded a Gist of the script here (you can ever see the script that I use for the emails): interview-request.py. Continue reading

Want Loyal Customers? Improve Your Workflow!

I’m quoted in this OfficeVibe piece on avoiding support agent burnout. Engaged agents means longer-lasting agents means less employee churn and a more educated front-line workforce: everybody wins.

Personally, I like writing documentation. At my last job I wrote the documentation for how to do Twitter support, and the training guide.

Now Ben McCormack (Head of Support) is encouraging us to work on our programming skills, so I’ve been spending time going through Learn Python the Hard Way with the team. When we co-work we usually try to do something with that, and we’ve written a few internal Python scripts that we use for various reminder emails.

Click here to read the full piece.