Coinbase has announced key additions to its management team in response to the need to improve its customer service, including the naming of Asiff Hirji as president and COO.
The company recently recruited Hirji from TD Ameritrade, where he was COO, according to a blog posted by Brian Armstrong, co-founder and CEO. Hirji also ran the HP enterprise services division, which included 200,000 employees.
Armstrong said Hirji has already “done wonders” to scale Coinbase operations to the next level.
In January, Armstrong promoted Dan Romero to general manager of the Coinbase retail product.
Tina Bhatnagar will join the company as vice president of operations and technology, Armstrong further announced. Bhatnagar will oversee all Coinbase and GDAX customer operations teams.
Armstrong said Coinbase is committed to doubling its support team over the next three months and have 24/7 phone service available to all customers by the second quarter of this year.
He noted that the biggest challenge in Silicon Valley nowadays is recruiting great people, which is the only way to address big challenges in a fast growing company. He described Bhatnagar as a veteran in hyper growth situations who would be able to “hit the deck running.”
Bhatnagar was previously the vice president of operations and user services at Twitter. She began at Twitter with 20 people in a basement managing thousands of customer support tickets per month. She grew the team to thousands of employees in six locations handling millions of support tickets a month in five and a half years.
Under Bhatnagar, Twitter tackled spam, identity, account access and localization issues, Amstrong noted. Before Twitter, Bhatnagar served at IBM for eight years helping companies build and scale operations. She is able, according to Armstrong, to manage sensitive account and customer information.
Armstrong said the company has no illusions about the tasks before it.
Last week’s price movements caused record traffic, Armstrong said. The operations and engineering teams have been working non-stop to make sure the company provides a high level of uptime during such periods. He said the company was able to meet the demand with only “minor hiccups” last week.
Coinbase suffered a service outage in November due to “maintenance” at a time when bitcoin prices soared to record highs.
The soaring interest and demand for bitcoin seemingly crippled Coinbase, forcing the company to suspend operations temporarily to undergo maintenance.
Operational issues caused by frenzied trading during record price highs regularly plagued Coinbase last year. In May, the company said unprecedented trade volume caused multiple outages. The following month, Coinbase confessed to a major outage due to “high traffic and customers.” The company also experienced outages during price falls.
Customers complained on Twitter of being locked out of their accounts and not being able to log back in.
Coinbase was criticized last week for the absence of Segregated Witness (SegWit) and transaction batching on its platform. Armstrong responded that Coinbase will add SegWit, batching transactions, and other innovative solutions to improve the backlog of transactions on the bitcoin network.
In December, Coinbase employees and contractors were accused by many members of the bitcoin community for insider trading. George Kikvadze, vice chairman at Bitfury, described the sudden surge in the price of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) moments prior to the Coinbase integration of BCH as a “very shady move.” Armstrong responded that while digital currency prices fluctuate quite a lot, there was no indication of any wrongdoing.
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