Zapiet prides its culture on an environment of many talented remote team members servicing and helping clients on the most advanced store pickup + delivery tools available to Shopify and BigCommerce merchants worldwide. Our team is located in cities around the world such as Quito, Lisbon, London, Montreal, Singapore, and more! This Q&A sits down with Sam, Head of Merchant Success at Zapiet, to learn about his growth at the company as the company continues to grow clients and internally with more team members.
Sam Forde is the Merchant Success Manager at Zapiet, who is not only in charge of ensuring our clients get the best support ever out of installing, using, integrating, and understanding how our solutions will help them succeed in their business, but also is in charge of creating a great company culture across various team members in different time zones.
We interviewed Sam to discuss his role, what he loves about Zapiet, and how he works remotely while managing a growing support team.
Q: What is your role at Zapiet? And how long have you been here?
I will have been with Zapiet for 4 years this August, I guess you can say I was employee number one after Andrew founded the company!
My day to day varies greatly! But ultimately I ensure that our Merchant Success team are equipped with all the skills and tools needed to create great experiences for our onboarding and installed user base. As the needs of the business have grown my role has expanded to cover hiring my awesome team and developing an enviable team culture where people not only want to come to work but they enjoy engaging with the wide variety of merchants that use our suite of apps.
Q: What do you love most about working at Zapiet?
I truly feel that I am making a difference for merchants, especially in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, our app is not only allowing merchants to offer new services it is actually saving their livelihoods. I previously had the opportunity to work at Apple, I was simply a tiny cog in a giant machine. At Zapiet, my voice is heard and I can action real change, something that most people only wish they can have in their role. I get up, make my coffee and on a daily basis can make a change for good.
Q: What’s some of the coolest experiences you’ve had while working here at Zapiet?
This is a difficult one! There are been so many incredible experiences that I would never have had the option of participating in if it wasn’t for working at Zapiet. I have attended major sporting events in Madison Square Garden, seen a SpaceX rocket launch from Cape Canaveral, sipped coffee in Melbourne laneways and even done a full-length trip of Vietnam.
But there is one memory that is engrained on me, it’s a real early one too, I had been with Zapiet just about 6 months at the time. Coming from a lower-income family in the UK the option of going crossing the Atlantic at an early age was something of a pipe dream, let alone visiting the West Coast.
The first Shopify Unite conference I attended with Andrew was April 2017, it was the last of their San Francisco based conferences. The day after the conference we went to the Marin Headlands viewpoint that overlooks the Golden Gate bridge, I sat in awe for about an hour as the sun went down, the realisation that I had actually completed one of my childhood dreams. This moment sits engraved in my mind, I will never forget it!
Q: What’s one of your biggest accomplishments so far at Zapiet?
I think my biggest accomplishment at Zapiet has been establishing our team, not just as ‘great’ colleagues but as a ‘family’. The team itself has gone from just ‘me’ in 2016 to a group 15 strong in 9 countries around the world. The Shopify app ecosystem is still only a handful of years old so it is super hard to find team members looking to leave their current business to join another. I have been a huge believer when hiring that you can teach anyone a technical skill, but you can’t teach someone to be ‘nice’. Each and every one of the people I have hired into these roles is ‘nice’ first.
Q: How do you stay connected with your team?
We never have had an office and firmly believe that no matter how large the business grows that we will ever have an office, #remoteFirst. Communication is a real challenge given that we have staff in time zones that span 15 hours of the day.
As with most remote businesses we live in Slack. As you would expect there are plenty of channels work-related and we do love a good few automated bots!! Work aside we have some amazing channels dedicated to non-work fun related subjects, my favourite personally is the #watercooler (ps, Most of my posts here are cheesy early 00’s pop music 👀)
For each of our support teams, we have weekly calls where we discuss all that is awesome that week and look forward to the developments/challenges in the week ahead. Nobody likes sitting on a call to be preached at, all of these sessions are interactive, all team members are encouraged to take part and voice their opinions, at the end of the day our Merchant Success Team are on the front line first hand directly speaking to our merchants, so why wouldn’t we want their voices to be heard?
On a company-wide basis, I also host an ‘All Hands’ call where the entire company gets together to share updates. I think this is super important to ensure all colleagues get to know each other across all departments, but also for all team members to have regular facetime with Andrew as CEO.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to work remotely?
Working remotely is not for everyone. People fall in love with the lifestyle that it presents, whether that being traveling the world or just working from your sofa in your sweatpants. Not every remote job is being an influencer in Bali! You have to have the motivation to get up, get online and do your job, if you don’t have this self-driven work ethic you will find yourself unemployed very soon!
Q: What are you doing this year to enhance the remote working experience across a team so vastly different in time zones?
As the team has grown we have substantially in the first two quarters of this year and this has really changed the way in which we communicate with each other. As mentioned in the previous question, this year we have doubled down on specialised calls with all the breakout team’s as well as ensuring we all come together as a company at least once a week! We had planned to try and get to the whole team together in person, but right now that’s not looking likely this year, something that we will need to park this year but will 1000% revisit for 2021!
Q: What are you most excited about this year both professionally and personally?
Professionally the current global pandemic has changed not just an industry, but it has expedited a huge economic shift. Zapiet is in an enviable position in the marketplace to be able to support a large number of merchants in ever more unique ways. I’m really excited on this front to see some of the more niche, more unique industries that we can help get inline, online. Personally I’m excited to sit down! Well to try and find a country to call home! I have loved traveling extensively the last 3 years but sometimes not going to an airport on a weekly is a blessing! Also finally I’m learning a new language, German! If you have any tips on how I can improve 100% let me know!
We hope you enjoyed our sit down with Sam. If you are interested in working in a client success role at Zapiet, we’re always keen to hear from you - whether we’re currently hiring or not. Chances are, we will be in the future and it’s always good to make new connections. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your CV and a few sentences about why you think you would be a good fit for our remote company culture.