With nearly 5 months behind me, is it too late to blog about my first impressions at Reclaim Hosting? Maybe. But since we just added two new Reclaimers to our support team I find myself reflecting on what I’ve learned about this company, the way they do business, and the personalities that make up the Reclaim team and its customers. So bear with me as I pull back the curtain.

I joined the Reclaim team at the beginning of January after a year of transitions at my previous employer, Yoga Alliance. This job opportunity came along at just the right moment and I thank my lucky stars. Don’t get me wrong, the transitions happening at YA weren’t “bad” or “good” per se, but change is inherently hard and I decided it was the universe telling me now was a great time to make one last change that would be a better fit for me and my family. Cue lucky Reclaim stars.

During the interview process, the co-owners at Reclaim presented themselves as needing to refine and improve things. As I’ve gotten to know the team and the business I’ve found that they are doing a lot of things right and I am in a much different position than other newly hired Customer Support Managers may find themselves and here’s why:

  • There’s no up-sell. Reclaim Hosting has made a conscious decision to only suggest products or upgrades that match the needs of the customer. To me, this is a huge relief. It’s never fun to try and figure out ways to insert product suggestions or bill something as an absolute “necessity” when it’s not.
  • I don’t have to crack any whips. That might not be entirely true, but it’s not in the way you might expect. Rather than coming in and having to figure out ways to increase productivity and squeeze every drop of work out of the support team, I’m finding myself having to say “it’s after 5, go home”.
  • The owners don’t sit in ivory towers handing down decrees. Instead, Tim and Jim are in the thick of it every day (and I mean every single day) directly answering tickets, interacting with customers (not just the big name ones), and even taking out the garbage in the office garbage cans! They work collaboratively and agilely in the truest sense of the words. In one of my first weeks I remember making a suggestion (right now it escapes me as to what it was exactly ) and within minutes Tim had changed something and come back to me with a “give it a try now”. Where was the approval process, the required request form, or big-wig closed-door discussion? Not here apparently.

Perfect segway. Really the thing that I enjoy most about “managing” (<- yuck, typing that word feels pompous) is figuring people out. What are my big takeaways about this crew after nearly 5 months? I’ll start with the owners. 

Jim

Jim is charismatic and not in a skeezy way (as most heads of sales tend to be). He’s the first one to say good morning and check in on how you are doing, usually with a fun one-liner like “how are you feeling today on a scale of 1-10?” He’s actually full of one-liners and once you’ve been around for the creation of a few it’s easy to start feeling like you are in the fold. 

He’ll be the first to joke that you shouldn’t compliment him because his head will get even bigger, but it’s far from the truth. The only compliment I’ve ever heard Jim pay himself is that he’s “good at picking out the best people”. And he is (as you’ll find if you keep reading, since he had a hand in bringing the team together). But, how carefully crafted is that statement? It takes what should be a compliment of his abilities and instead turns it to actually compliment all of us. Awww the warm fuzzies.  

Don’t get me wrong, Jim will tell you where to shove it if the need arises but never out of malice (and thankfully I haven’t needed to shove anything anywhere… yet). His charisma isn’t a shield he hides behind. He is who he is, and I dare say it’s pretty refreshing and endearing in this world of veneers.

Tim

The way to describe Tim came to me in a flash one day. He is the embodiment of the onion metaphor. It’s easy to pick up on just how damned smart Tim is when you start working at Reclaim. But then he’ll peel back a layer occasionally and surprise you.  

“Did you major in computer science?” “Nope, art” (Where in the world did he gain all of the knowledge needed to run a hosting company and serve as the Tier 3 support agent!?) 

“Hey remember how that arcade game was all wonky?… Yeah, Tim fixed it.”  

“Where did you guys get these awesome barn doors?” “Tim made them.” (Carpentry too!?) 

“Someone submitted a ticket in German.” “It’s spam… I spent a semester studying abroad in Germany.” (Bi-lingual, why am I not surprised!?) 

You get the point. Jack of all trades, but master of most!  Here is the last layer I will peel back. Tim has a pretty serious face most of the time. But out of nowhere (and most often prompted in some way by Jim) it will fall away and he’ll smile and bring out this fun guy…

Let me say one last thing about Tim and Jim before moving on. In my time at Reclaim, I have never felt like they mansplained anything. Not once. Which is impressive considering:

  1. they are the owners so if anyone can mansplain and get away with it, it’s them
  2. they bring more knowledge and experience to the table than the rest of us
  3. and, if we’re being honest, it’s the tech field. For mansplaining, I would assume tech comes in second only to auto maintenance.

This is just one example of how they’ve created a company culture of equality and collaboration.

Not to be ignored, there are two other people that have helped make Reclaim Hosting what it is today.

Lauren

If Martha Stewart worked in web hosting, that is Lauren. In an afternoon you can find her responding to support tickets at warp speed, writing a blog and some help documentation for our customers, coming up with an idea on how to better train new DoOO admins, and organizing our upcoming conference. She’s worn almost every hat there is to wear in the org and she makes it all seem effortless. As someone who loves to go through documents with a fine-toothed comb, I feel like I’ve found a kindred spirit in Lauren. Bring on the document comments lady, I love ‘em! 

Meredith

Meredith is probably the only reason I’ve made it through these 5 months. She shows professionalism and patience beyond her years. Seriously, oh-so-much patience for which I will be eternally grateful. These qualities translate beautifully into how she handles and communicates with customers. She also has an unabashed enthusiasm for technology and media (particularly the Marvel Universe). It (unfortunately) feels rare to see someone willing to shine with enthusiasm out of what I’m assuming is a general fear of judgment. But I’ve found her enthusiasm contagious to the point that it’s made me spend some time reflecting on what I’m enthusiastic about as well as my loved ones and how to foster that sort of enthusiasm. So please shine on Meredith, it’s an awesome thing to see.

Reclaim's Customers

I also want to touch on Reclaim Hosting’s customer base. When I was at San Jose State I found the professors to be dismissive (or worse). My university experience became a race to cram in as many classes as I could handle and quickly absorb what was important so I could get my A and move on. Ryan Seslow’s first visit to our office started to open my eyes to see our customers as a group of higher education professionals who are excited to engage with their students and facilitate learning. The Reclaim customers have bolstered my faith in higher education and found a warm nook in my heart.

Why would I share what probably feels like a love letter about everyone and everything Reclaim? Well, I feel that people are quick to tell someone off, to put negativity out into the world, or directly onto a person, but we so rarely tell others the positive things we think about them. I’m just as guilty as anyone else about the negative stuff. Butbe the change’, right?

I’m excited to share my thoughts on our newest additions to the team once I’ve had a chance to gather my first impressions. Perhaps in another 5 months 😉