And the Happiness Manager | 101

Have you ever met someone who’s paid to ensure that the people they interact with are happy? Emma is just that person and she shares some helpful tips for those of us interacting remotely with our family and coworkers.

Emma’s Twitter:
Emma’s site:


music by Dyalla Swain
Ocean Waves by Enrique Hoyos:


hello and welcome to parking thought I’m
Jacob and I’m glad you’re here today in
this episode we have this very wonderful
awesome opportunity to talk to you Emma
from system and you guys probably
don’t know who she is or what she does
but she’s one of these people on the
well I’ll describe how much I absolutely
am a fan of hers as we have this
dialogue but Emma would you like to say
hi and introduce yourself a little bit
to the team hi I’m Emma you can find me
on twitter at social happiness
I am a happiness manager at system
in charge of a customer service and
technical support team and our team is
called the happiness team and my workers
are happiness engineers so we basically
just speak with all of the customers at
system and make sure everybody is
happy and solve problems all day so and
Emma and I have been exchanging just
kind of you know DMS on on Twitter back
and forth and and every once a while
tagging each other in a tweet and just
having a lot of fun and so it was like
okay well let’s get on a call and then
oh if we’re gonna get out a call it
might as well record it because some
part of this will probably make for a
good podcast episode connecting us today
right because we could all use a little
bit of dose of that right and and
positivity one of the things I’ve been
sharing with the audience is positivity
doesn’t mean that things are always
perfect right you can have very
imperfect things and still manage to
find ways to be positive about them and
my experience with your company is
actually one of those things I’m not
sure if if this story might be
embarrassing and if so I’ll leave it out
but but when I was in Afghanistan and
looking for a computer you know I was
listening to all the jb shows it was my
outlet right I was I was able to get all
the jb shows and you guys were sponsors
to that so thank you for being sponsors
so we could have that content you know
as part of that experience
but but your advertising worked right
and so I I look and I’m like okay well I
just need a small machine so I get a
meerkat and the meerkat that generation
particular generation in the meerkat was
not powerful enough for my expectations
and it was a very frustrating experience
to come to that reality that I had not
SPECT that properly and it was not
meeting my expectations so that was that
was the bummer part of the experience
I’m in Afghanistan this thing’s not
working the way I want it to but then it
turned into something really beautiful
um I started connecting with the staff
right it wasn’t you directly and it was
somebody on your team right and they
were telling me you know what it could
do versus what it couldn’t do and I’m
using very non-technical terms to
describe it and they were so positive
and so polite about it that I found out
that this machine that wasn’t doing what
I wanted it to do could really do a
whole lot of things that would be
awesome and so I started retooling it to
do web server stuff right because it
didn’t have the GPU to do high
definition video in that generation this
is yeah no this is
timeframe right so it didn’t have the
GPU to do high D high definition video
but it could totally be a web server so
I took this meerkat through a bunch of
external hard drives at it and then
turned it into a web server so my whole
team on our site in Afghanistan could
watch their favorite shows I would every
download them from the internet and
they’d be able to go in and kind of like
we do with Plex now they’d be able to
click on it and it would render those
mps down for them and have them ready
to go and it was so like just really
cool so your team made a difference in
my life and I I don’t know if I’ve told
you that story but I really appreciate
your ears now being able to let you know
that that was awesome so and then
something else is really cool you can’t
tell me your client base right or who by
system hardware but we know from
YouTube that at some point some of the
folks who have made some of our really
great picks are in Disney movies have
purchased system gear right can you
you can confirm that though right
I think we have a lot of data scientists
a lot of graduate students universities
government agencies and individuals and
Linux fans so it’s a very wide range of
users so for those guys who are on that
disney/pixar side one of the my favorite
memories of kovat and being locked at
home now is watching the movie onward
have you seen that yet Hema you helped
create that you know to me like that’s
that’s how excited I am to have this
call with you and I talk a lot when I
get excited so I’m sorry but you know I
get to this is one of those where it’s
like I get to tell somebody who helped
make that possible thank you so onward
was great I had a great time watching
that with my boys and oh my goodness
your machines were a part of creating
that and isn’t that so cool that right
at the time in the world where we needed
to be reminded about a family you know
what I mean we had that be able to be
released so that was just way awesome
for me so thanks for helping to provide
that memory you guys Rock cool so thanks
for letting me tell you that because
that’s you’ve always been this play
bright bubbly personality on all the
podcasts I’ve heard you do interviews on
and now I get to tell you kind of in
person you know thank you for that this
is so cool I’m a huge fan so I’m nerding
out right now and I think it’s okay so I
think it’s all under my makeup I think
it’s just hard to tell with the red
background right because you I’m sorry
webcams are not perfect right so you
know that’s a thing but yeah I think the
coloring is off I can’t tell that you’re
blushing but I am definitely a huge fan
and so that’s one of the reasons I
wanted to call you today and help if
your spirits were low to kind of pick
you up it’s like you get to be a part of
something huge right like you know and
it’s hard when were isolated to really
see what people do with what we provide
you know you asked me what I did and I
do project management for a food company
right and right now food is one of those
things that people recognize as a
necessity and you know it’s really
important right and especially in the
retail space and and I’m helping to feed
people you know when I can remember the
bigger picture you know because my my
commute is from my bed to my desk which
is like feet right but when we can
remember that bigger picture of what
we’re doing and how we’re participating
in something what we do is really pretty
amazing and it’s just fun to remember
that it’s really cool to be part of big
projects with the just providing the
tools that we can especially when it’s
when it’s with Linux and open source
software it just it feels better knowing
that our our people are creating things
that are going to be open for others to
create upon and improve upon and I think
it’s just the being part of the
open-source community has helped me stay
positive this whole time but also like
you’re saying knowing that we’re
providing tools for people to create
epic projects is pretty neat yeah but I
was wondering you like to adopt pets if
I remember right what what’s the latest
pet you guys have adopted at home still
Trixie she’s an Anatolian Shepherd mixed
with st. Bernard and I so the cool thing
about the virus is since I’ve been on
lockdown for a couple weeks I started
getting really paranoid about it like I
think early March so I’ve been on
lockdown for a while but I started
really aggressively training her leash
training her and before all the dogs
part the dog parks closed I was taking
her to the dog park every day and then
for a bath so I’ve just had so much
quality time with her and she’s not even
really my dog she’s technically my
sisters because they decide to keep her
but since we all live here it’s fine I
know she loves me the most
so we’ve been taking a couple miles
everyday so I feel like she’s helped me
get through this whole lockdown
situation and I think anyone that is
having time is having a struggling time
right now
that with loneliness especially should
get them hit because they need us and
you know you don’t know if you need them
or not until you have one so thank you
for just being like so bubbly and warm
and polite and I know you don’t do that
all the time I’m sure you have bad days
as well right but it’s just like you
know I was I submitted to talk to Linux
fest Northwest so I could go there and
you were one of the top people I was
like looking forward to meeting and the
whole barbecue and all the other stuff
like that that I’ve heard about it was
like oh that was going to be so cool and
then that didn’t happen this year so
we’re all kind of like stuck you know
but it’s like oh well thanks to all this
technology we can help you know we can
just connect this way so I was preparing
myself because I got the conference a
couple weeks beforehand that one got
canceled too so I kind of knew it was
gonna happen and kind of just try to get
my spirits up and I had to let my team
know that it’s okay to because I think
everyone else was pretty bummed because
everyone looks forward to that kind of
stuff so I was trying to stay stay
positive about it so that everyone else
could as well well it was gonna be my
first one so yeah you know it happens
and the talk I’d submitted I submitted
to talks one of them was on kind of my
personal experience if I did an episode
of brunch with Brent where we kind of
talked about that and then Rocco
followed it up with a few other
questions those guys are just great and
and so I was going to tell that story
Linux fest Northwest but they combined
me with like three other people or two
other people and so it’s like okay well
that’s that’s fine the other talk I
submitted was on how we could
organize better as open-source
communities and groups so that way we
can be more effective in our spaces and
that was going to be pretty cool but the
yeah it didn’t get selected so that that
one’s gonna have to wait till next year
and I’ll submit it again and go that
do you talk at conferences when you go I
had talks planned for scale and Linux
fest I’ve talked about our our happy
approach to tech support it’s just an
acronym for how we kind of guide our our
handling of support cases and H stands
for human and a stands for active so I
do a talk about that and I’ve also have
some cool can you tell us more about
that right can you break that down for
us give us like the two minute version
because it’s so like simple but to me
it’s a really big deal so yep it but so
I think this is really applicable right
now because a lot of tech support is not
done in person and so a lot of us are
having to apply the good skills that
exist in your space the ones that you’ve
worked so hard to learn the hard way
right you know so yeah would you what
does happy stand for in the happiness
engineer mantra this would be cool so
the H stands for human which is by far
the most important feature tech support
rep needs to have they need to be human
first and foremost okay we actually we
have surveys happiness survey well they
call Net Promoter survey and people can
write comments in those and it’s
interesting how how often people say
they comment specifically on the human
aspect of our support and service which
to me I take a lot of pride in that when
they use that word in our surveys same
with love and happy you know I count all
those words and I just think that the
human aspect it makes you connect better
I think it makes the conversation be
less robotic it’s it’s a lot more
comfortable I think on a tech support
call if you’re a human cool alright so
that’s the H right where the human
factor right so what’s the a if I sawing
it right a comes next yeah so active so
we have to just keep on checking on
cases every day until until that they’re
resolved and we want to have
acknowledgement from our customer that
it’s resolved
so our ticket system actually is it’s a
custom system it does have triggers like
hey this has been in repair for two days
no one’s message them let’s touch base
you know so every day there’s different
statuses that you have to you have to
either Marcus read or you have to send a
message to the customer or the repair
tech and you have to do an action on a
ticket like consecutively until it’s
completed so that’s awesome so I’m
actually like my brain is swimming right
now on how to apply these now that I’m
working remote and have to do this and
it’s like okay
I don’t have the cool automated
ticketing system but I do have I have
another tool I can use to kind of you
know pop up reminders and things like
that you know so this is cool all right
so H and a or both things I think I can
let’s see let’s see if as we finished
spelling this out if there’s one where
it just breaks down for me I just wanna
circle back real quick about human one
of the easiest ways to if you’re not in
that mode if you’re pretty scripted
everyday is to start the call with how
are you so many people brush by that in
tech support in service calls it’s it’s
good to just take that that first few
minutes and just talk about nothing and
then get into the issue that really
helps I think in every every case but I
just forgot to touch on that but oh no
that’s good follow back up okay we’re on
the first P what do we got there
okay so we have being proactive okay
proactive is before it’s going to erupt
or if it’s an issue that is we know
what’s going to happen next
we need to get the solution started even
even before there’s steps to move
forward in a ticket like you have to
have them confirm their shipping
information have to get an RMA all this
stuff and and if we know it’s gonna
happen we get all of that information in
one swoop and then we just instead of
one message to the customer saying we’re
gonna do this it’s a message saying
we’re doing this this is how we’re gonna
solve it and then it avoids back and
forth and it gets problem solved a lot
faster so I can reduce our support case
time that way okay I like it so and that
that honestly kind of goes back to that
being human you’re you in order to be
proactive you’ve got to think of what
this looks like from their perspective
right and sometimes we want to be
involved in the choices and sometimes we
want to just have the solution be
defined so it can be executed right and
and having that right balance this
sounds like an area you probably train
your staff on and kind of review what’s
a good proactive approach it’s important
to be able to predict the the situations
and and think about your experience
plays a lot into it too because you know
this is all the similar factors of
something that happened last week you
know you handled it this one way
customer blew up you got to remember
that experience and do the opposite this
time so yeah well I didn’t blow up on
you guys when I had my thing from
Afghanistan because it was it would have
been really hard I mean they everybody
was so nice like right to the point
it would have been really hard for me to
really have a blow-up issue you know
with you guys okay is there a second P
or it is it is it actually the full word
for happy or is it just truncated no
it’s forward all right second P what do
we got
positive so okay being positive in
problem situations I find helps the
anxiety of the situation
it also helps speed it along because
there’s less less venting less arguing
about what’s right and what’s wrong so
always go at it with a an attitude where
we can solve this and if it’s if it’s
not making you happy we’ll come to a
so each party is happy but the customers
happiness is what is most important so
we don’t want to be like ridiculous give
everyone free stuff all the time
hey you have some really good swag
though I mean let’s be honest you have
some great swag and stuff that you guys
have at system yeah the positive thing
I know just beyond swag just just giving
positive vibes and energy during a
problem I think helps our customers
gives them faith but you know it’s not
it’s not an issue that happens all the
time it’s a one-off thing empathy and
just excitement to get the solution done
all that is important and our customers
also express their excitement and
happiness afterwards too so I think yeah
cool the positive is very important
again all of these I think I can totally
apply in my life right now so thank you
very much this is I’m getting coached as
a happiness engineer for my role that
might work so this is this right by the
way this isn’t a proprietary acronym
right I’m allowed to operate on this
right I can share this with my audits
okay all right and then the last one is
why what is the why dance for you
so the most important thing is when you
are on a call with someone or in a
ticket just be you I mean our
personalities are why I created a team
that I have they are so unique and so
fun and it’s just cool it’s amazing when
you can sit on a call for minutes and
talk about you know how you got into
Linux and how the customer got into
Linux and still be solving things in
between you know in between commands it
just makes for a better experience and I
think it’s very important for the people
for the world to see who the individuals
are that are helping them Wow and and
again that’s been and by the way
system did not sponsor this episode or
anything else like that
I’m just a fan of lots of good things in
the world and I think that your company
and and you as a representative of that
are just really good so if it sounds
like I’m unplugging what you guys do
it’s it’s not because of any endorsement
it really is this is a company and these
are people who I see is making a
difference and I’m that’s part of what I
do with this podcast to share that with
the audience of hey there’s this good
thing out there you didn’t even know
existed you know what I mean and and
it’s awesome here you go clearly
expected to come on here and like talk
about kittens and happy quotes and
viruses yeah no we don’t do that that’s
that’s not as fun Emma thank you for
sharing the happy thing let’s let’s
close the episode here I think this is a
really good spot
and I I’m new at having guests so I
think this is the part on the podcast
where I’m supposed to say if people want
to find you where can they find you is
there something you’re doing that you
want to plug whatever that is go and
then we’ll close out the episode and
then you and I can continue talking
offline for the next couple minutes if
you’re okay with that
my you can find me on Twitter at social
happiness I have a blog called social
happiness dot us which isn’t super
active but I am working on a project of
short videos with happy quotes right now
and seeing where I can take that project
so I want to share those with you today
and see what your feedback is but yeah
if you want to chat Twitter is probably
the quickest way to get hold of me all
right and then again Emma works for
system which you can find at system
calm thank you for being here and that’s
it for this episode as usual if you
liked it share it with somebody else
that you know if you want to subscribe
you can head on over to parking thought
comm if you want to head over on youtube
and subscribe there we’re always welcome
to new YouTube subscribers and remember
in a world where you can choose to be
anything why not choose to be grateful