A 360 Degree View of the Contact Center Floor: An Interview with Customer Service Operations Expert, Jenny Dempsey

Listen to the full podcast recording here:

Today we have with us Jenny Dempsey, the Consumer Experience Manager for Apeel Sciences and its sister company, FruitStand.com. With over 16 years of building and leading customer service and experience teams, she is also the co-founder of a customer service blog, CustomerServiceLife.com. Jenny has been recognized as a leader in the CX industry, including The ICMI Top 25 Thought Leaders and the 2019/2020 CloudCherry CX Influencer Champion award.

Absolutely you do. Hopefully, it helps with training purposes.

Great. Jenny, can you give our reader some insight into your background, where you started, and how you got to where you are today?

Yeah, absolutely. I started working in customer service when I was in college. I went into my career office at San Diego State, was actually walking in and there was a bulletin board on the wall with a little pin and a paper for a part-time customer service job. I was like, “Well, I don’t know what I’m doing, so I need a part-time job.” I applied for it, got hired the same day, even wearing jeans to my interview. That’s where I was at that point. At that point, I never looked back. I stayed in the industry for gosh, it feels like a really long time now, almost 16, 17 years. I’ve worked my way up from frontline agent to supervisor, manager, director, and kind of everything in between. It has been quite a fun journey. I love working with customers and teams. It’s just people helping people at the end of the day, and that’s really what draws me to it and keeps me going.

That’s really interesting that you started out as an agent and kept on that career path. Oftentimes we get bounced around a little bit. Just out of curiosity, what was your major in college?

My major in college was English and I wanted to just focus on creative writing, but I had no idea what I was going to do. I just knew I liked writing and didn’t want to take any math classes. That’s where I was at.

That’s great. Here you are in customer service still to this day.

Yeah.

That’s great. Can you share a little more about your day to role and responsibilities as the consumer experience manager for Apeel Sciences and also Fruitstand.com?

Yeah, absolutely. It’s kind of this hybrid role where I’m building the consumer experience for both companies and they are very different. FruitStand, for example, is a direct-to-consumer from small farms across the US, where they ship out kind of unique specialty produce. Building up communication channels and managing feedback and creating voice of customer, programs and getting feedback to different departments, working with a team to make sure that we are addressing customer complaints. It’s very much like we’re helping customers address their complaints and problems, and in the background, getting things to where they need to go to make improvements.

At Apeel, it’s very much working with the consumers who are eating in the produce, Apeel is more B2B focused. Working with the rest of the people who might have a question about what is Apeel, what is this doing for me, or managing any type of complaints, whether it be on social media or via email, kind of navigating that and building the systems to do so, because that wasn’t really organized in any way prior to me being there. The day-to-day is jumping around from two different brands and basically answering a lot of questions about fruit and learning a lot about fruit.

That’s so interesting. In a previous conversation that you and I had, we talked about how both companies have really different ways that they handle customer expectations and customer experience. Can you talk a little bit about the differences, and then what your strategy has been to keep yourself on track with both Apeel and then FruitStand, at the same time?

Yeah, absolutely. Apeel is very much like there’s an entire regulatory legal team. A lot of the replies that go out, need to be passed through there. That’s really just because intellectual property and there are certain things that we want to make sure that we’re communicating because it’s very scientific. We want to make sure we’re communicating it in the best way possible for our consumers to understand. A lot of the things when I’m writing an email or there’s an FAQ on the website or something goes out on social, it does need to be passed through the regulatory team.

At FruitStand, because it is really more of like we’re solving customer problems or we’re answering questions about a really weird piece of fruit that comes from a farm, we can get the answers from the farm and we can give it to the customer just through an email. It doesn’t necessarily need to be approved, as long as it’s correct. Being kind of someone who’s in a role where I’m on the front lines, but I’m also managing the team and I’m also building the experience, so I’m basically agent, manager, and director in one. Jumping around from brand to brand with basically wearing three different hats, can be a little challenging sometimes. Sometimes I sit back, I’m like, “Wow, what, what am I doing?” It’s also an adventure where every day there’s something new to learn and something new to try and a new way to say something to someone to help them understand or to solve their problem.

It’s really interesting. Just out of curiosity as well, do you have a physical knowledge base like binders or things like that, or do you have a resource, like a searchable resource, that is in the cloud or something like that? Where is all that knowledge held so it can be accessed by your team?

Yeah, that is a great question. The knowledge part, we have either a Google doc that’s shared in the cloud and that’s continuously updated and managed because that’s an important part of it. When we make changes to things, we want to make sure it’s staying updated. FruitStand for example has an internal and external customer-facing knowledge base. We either have it for our internal customers, our team, or we have it for our actual people who are ordering the product, that can go to it and search from our website. There’s kind of different management pieces that are going on and for FruitStand, because the knowledge base is built through our kind of ticketing platform, for management-wise, I always love to kind of empower agents.

The customer service agent who helps with frontline support at FruitStand, he’s also in the weeds with making sure that stays updated. He’s really getting in there. There’s one team member. He basically can dig in there and keep that updated and that gives him responsibility and additional knowledge around, “Here’s where this isn’t correct. We need this.” Sometimes he’ll pass it to me. “We need to update this phrase or whatever, how are we going to do it?” I like kind of delegating those types of tasks as well, to make sure that things stay updated because that’s the hardest part with the knowledge management, right? We could write it all day, whether it’s on the Google doc that’s shared in the cloud or whatever, but someone needs to make sure it stays updated or it gets dusty.

Further Reading: Why You Need to Finally Kill your Knowledge Base

You seem to wear so many different hats. It’s mind-boggling. I can’t even imagine how you’re carving out time to talk to us today, but I really appreciate it.

Like you were just saying, you’re currently in the, well, you didn’t actually touch on this, but I’m going to let our listeners know, you are currently in the process of building a customer service department from scratch for two different organizations. You are also in the unique position of being a manager of a small customer service team, but also you yourself are an active agent that is helping individuals with customer service. What have you found to be the biggest challenges of building a customer service department for an organization that didn’t previously have one?

There’s a lot of challenges. I think some of them are companywide and some of them are maybe even just knowledge in myself. I’ll kind of touch on both of those. Sometimes when we’re introducing something new or anything, change can be challenging for anyone. For some parts of the organization, it might not be seen as necessarily a high priority, which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. It might just not be the right time, but sometimes that can be challenging. There’s always budget constraints. There’s always platform service tools that we decide to use.

Then there’s always change management, kind of looping back to that, not necessarily knowledge-based related. If there’s a change to the website and it’s not communicated back to the customer service team or to me in this case, and I don’t know it, then I can’t communicate properly with customers. Kind of building these communication channels where they never existed before. I’ve seen so much benefit from doing that. There are so many team members that are really open and like, “This hadn’t been here, I didn’t know where to tell these updates. Now I have a path for that.” While it can be a little bit of some growing pains, which is normal and natural, it can definitely be a beautiful thing to see it kind of come to life.

Also, kind of on my part, there might be times where there’s something that needs to be built that I’ve never done. I really lean on the customer service community, which you mentioned how I even have time to do this, part of the reason why I love taking time is because I know I’m always looking for podcasts and articles to see what someone else has done in their career. That helps me in those moments where I have no idea what’s going on. It really is just about learning and trying things. Sometimes I’m like, “I’m just going to press that button and see what happens,” or, “I’m going to send this email and say it this way and hopefully that works out well.” It’s really just about trying. No matter across the board, whether you’re working with internal customers and other people on your team or the external customers, just trying things and seeing what happens. Sometimes it’s just crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.

Well, you’ve been working in the industry for so long and have learned so much. I’m sure that that past experience comes in handy so much. It’s kind of this great opportunity, you’ve seen what’s worked and what hasn’t worked and now you get to apply all that and create almost this perfect team in your mind because you’re starting from scratch. That’s a really cool opportunity, it feels like that you have.

Thanks. It’s fun. It’s definitely fun.

That’s great. I love that you say that it’s fun. I think a lot of people that we talk to in this industry say that, that it’s fun and it’s interesting and it’s ever-changing, especially now we’ve had this big shift of the in the world that every day is a new, different challenge in customer service and especially with the increased expectation from customers, but also the needs. It’s exciting. That brings me to my next question. What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions about, specifically contact center agents?

Hmm, biggest misconceptions. I think a lot of the time is that they’re just there for a paycheck. That’s one of them. I think the other one is that they’re lazy or they may just not really care about the other person on the other lines, so those three things. Myself, for example, I started out doing that and at first, yeah, I was there for a paycheck as it was a part-time job in college, but then I realized this is actually a really great role and there’s a lot of things to learn and a lot of opportunity for growth. I was lucky at that time, to be at a company that gave me those opportunities.

I think for contact center agents now because the demand for exceptional customer experience is so high, that a customer service agent is more than just a person answering the phone, reading a script, they’re there to actually help get someone to the next step. When that’s done right, that can make a huge impact on someone’s day. People go into the role, of course, they want to be paid their paycheck, but there’s a purpose behind this. They’re not just doing this to be like, “Thanks for calling,” this type of thing, they want to actually make a difference.

Then the lazy thing, I say that just because there’s always those memes or other things out there where, oh, there’s someone working at a contact center in a cubicle drinking soda all day and eating snacks and it’s like, have they ever been in an office or now a home office at this point? A lot of the times, the flexibility that’s built-in for contact center agents is to like, get out, go do things. The stereotype kind of drives me nuts because people like, “Oh, you just do customer service, so you sit there all day,” and you’re like, “Well, no, it’s a little different.” Kind of breaking down that stereotype and then, just making… Actually, I forgot the third point that I mentioned, but I don’t know. I think those are kind of the biggest things that come through.

Oh, the people don’t care. I think that when we are working with people and you’re in a role for a contact center agent, you’re a person who’s going to care because the people who don’t care, aren’t going to last. They’re not going to want to do that job. That’s cool if they don’t care, it’s fine. There’s something else for them. People in people helping roles are going to be the people that care.

In a previous conversation, and we touch a lot about this on the podcast, that there’s this misconception like you said, that they’re just there for a paycheck, but there are a lot of expectations from a contact center agent and they have a lot on their shoulders.

Yeah.

They’re usually the only human touchpoint that a customer has with the organization. Really there’s a lot.

Right.

There’s a lot on them. There’s a lot of pressure on them. Treat those agents nice and know that they’re not just individuals sitting in a chair reading from a script, the answers that they have from customers. It’s a much more complex job than I think most people realize.

Totally, totally. Then the limitations that are put on them, sometimes certain companies, yeah, they may sound like they’re reading a script, but actually, they can’t do anything else. They’re not given tools or resources to be able to. Kind of acknowledging that it’s not that person’s fault sometimes, I mean sometimes maybe, but not all the time.

Yeah. That they’re not the punching bag.

Yeah. Yeah.

Definitely. Along those lines, when we talk about agents are often the individuals that are the only contact of the organization, they can sometimes become the punching bag for things that aren’t their department’s problem or their mistake or whatnot. What are some of the things that you have seen throughout your time as managing agents most effective for boosting the morale of the customer service agents?

I think one of the biggest things that I’ve learned when managing agents is to really just, this is just going to sound so silly, but I just need to shut up and listen. That’s really what it comes down to. If someone comes to me asking for some advice, a lot of the times I’ll just ask them questions in return to kind of navigate and then listen.

I found that that type of leadership, and then maybe sharing experience if they really want, but not doing unsolicited advice, not telling them what to do, but really listening. If they have an idea or if something comes up that they need assistance with, seeing it through to the end and helping them get what they need, whether that’s a tool or resource or an HR personnel issue or ergonomic issue, maybe they need a better chair, whatever it is.

The listening part is really what I have seen. It sounds so silly and simple to boost morale, but it makes such a big impact because I think there’s just, it kind of drives me nuts sometimes when like, “Oh, let’s make sure our company everyone in the company and the team, is so happy,” and it’s like, that’s not real. We’re not all going to be sitting there smiling and bubbly every day. We’re human. We’re going to have our bad days. When we talk about boosting morale, setting this expectation that we need to be happy all the time, is really silly in my opinion, I think it just needs to be like, there’s going to be days where we’re not going to be smiling and bubbly. They’re going to be hard days and that’s okay to acknowledge it, but what can we do and really it comes down to listening.

Sometimes if they don’t want to talk about it, giving them the space that they need to still do their job or to take time off or whatever it is. I found those simple things of just allowing them to be human and know that they’re part of a team and they’re supported and they have the resources and tools that they need to do their job or to take time off, makes such a big impact on morale. I know there’s a lot out there, like gamification or free pizza or whatever it is. I’m like, “Okay. That’s cool, but there’s other things. Let’s just listen to each other and respect each other and support one another in a way that is needed to do the job of helping people who are on the phone or email probably yelling at you all day.” Yeah.

I think that’s a great point across all organizations across every industry, that if you are really listening to the people within your organization, taking the insight they have from being on the front lines, that they feel trusted, valued, and really that’s what we’re all looking for, even in life, that we just want to be heard. Giving a voice to your agents can mean the world to them, I think. Also, you mentioned even having a little budget to give your agents good chairs because they’re sitting for so long. Then even having a structure for their computer to sit at eye level so that they’re comfortable, can make a world of difference.

Yeah.

I’m so glad you touched on that. We talk a lot on this podcast, how the customer service department can often get siloed from other departments in the organization. We’ve kind of touched on this a little bit already. Where do you see the disconnect between departments occurring, and how do you think the customer service team is viewed by most organizations as a whole?

Well, I think one of the hardest things that I have found is that, and kind of going back to change management for example, let’s say engineering team makes a change to the software that customers use, and it’s not communicated to the customer service team. Then the customer service team is on the front lines answering questions about it and they answer incorrectly, but they just didn’t know it didn’t change, that can cause frustration for the customer. That’ll cause frustration for the agent and the manager as well, who then has to go deliver the news to the engineering manager and then it’s just a whole mess. I think when it comes to collaborating or working with other departments, sometimes customer service, because they are kind of sometimes in the shadows or no one really remembers that they are there on the front lines there, that first point of contact. Sometimes people just, it’s not that they mean this intentionally, just don’t care because they don’t work with them so why would they even bother? That’s one of the biggest things that I see happen that causes so much frustration for the teams.

It comes down to the fact that sometimes customer service teams can be seen, and I’m going to say this in a very casual way, but as the pooper scoopers. When these changes happen, for example, something breaks in the control panel, there’s a bug, and let’s say the communication is going the opposite way, from customer service finding the bug, up to the engineering department to make a change or to make a correction, and it kind of gets looked as like, “Well, that’s not priority right now,” but they’re like, “But I have a hundred callers in the queue and we need this fixed.” Then there’s the frustration there around, “How do we listen better, kind of going back to that, to those on the front lines and understand what is priority? How do we determine what’s priority? How do we determine what’s priority from a kind of human-centric standpoint, as opposed to just financial.” I’m not a business owner, so maybe I’m not speaking the language of everyone on here.

We sometimes have to make decisions based on how is it going to help the people, as opposed to, I don’t know, the money stuff sometimes as far as customer service goes. I think that’s just kind of some of the biggest challenges of being in customer service, whether you’re communicating it to other departments or they’re not communicating it or communicating it incorrectly or inefficiently back to customer service, you can run into a lot of speed bumps.

A follow-up question on that, is you talked about communicating efficiently. What are some of the strategies or tools that you’ve seen work, as far as making sure the customer service team doesn’t get siloed, that information does flow properly in between the different departments in an organization

What I’ve seen work really well, is just when we’re working with other teams, we have to understand what their priorities are. I kind of call this speaking their language. What matters to the engineering team may not be what matters to marketing or product development or all the different teams out there. What I’ve found successful, is going to meet with the heads of those departments or the people who are doing the actual work in those departments and understanding what matters to you and how do you want these things communicated to you, and kind of setting it up based on that. Sometimes the process may look different for communication. How we communicate to engineering might be very different than how we communicate to marketing.

Having that all mapped out, having a process that having individuals responsible for, “If this happens, then this is the flow that you’ll take to contact someone,” and having that very mapped out with obviously with flexibility, someone’s not there. Once you kind of navigate what matters to them, you can fill in the gaps of what matters to you and you all just kind of compromise and everyone. You just make it work at that point.

I think that’s so interesting because we talk a lot about, right now, we’ve just talked a lot about how you are taking in feedback and understanding. Now, you’re talking about understanding about how different departments, knowing their language, knowing how they like to interact, can make things so much smoother. Such an interesting concept.

Yeah. It goes back to listening. Want to listen to other teams too. They have just as much of a say in this as well, understanding what their perspective.

That’s such a good point. We’ll switch gears a little bit and talk more about the technology that we are giving our agents, those tools that we’re giving them. Regarding contact center technology, what are some of the greatest frustrations you see agents having again and again?

Hmm. The biggest frustrations that I’ve seen are, mostly it’s knowledge that’s not updated and that’s all they have access to, to finding things. Resources that are not even built yet. They may need a tool and maybe they’re just not telling anyone about it. Then they struggle when responding to customers. I think those two are kind of the biggest things.

The other thing is if something breaks, not having the proper communication channels to tell someone or not thinking, “Oh, it only happens to one person.” It’s kind of like when you see only one ant in your kitchen, you’re like, “Ooh, I know there’s going to be more.” If one thing breaks and one customer calls, to make a note of that and to pay attention, is this happening again? Is this a bigger problem? Being able to know what to do when those bigger problems come up, those are really kind of the biggest things that I see as the frustration, those kind of three areas. They all lead into other interactions with customers or team members on their own personal knowledge. That can get really frustrating when you don’t have the tools and resources you need to just do your job.

Right. It’s so interesting you talked about process because process is the foundation, having set processes of how customer interaction should be handled, but also set process of how new knowledge is being communicated to the agents and that those agents have those answers at their fingertips when, for instance, things happen on the Apeel side because there’s a lot of law and regulation around it. Making sure that everyone’s up to date when those changes occur with the regulations or the legislation.

Yeah.

I think that’s a really good point.

Right.

That brings me to my next question is, in your opinion, what are some of the best ways to decipher what technology tools contact center agents should be utilizing? Then the second part of that question is, what is your process for making those decisions or who is making those decisions in your current organization?

Hmm. That’s such a good question. Okay. I think a lot of the times if you already have a team that’s there using a tool, I kind of just like doing interviews and be like, “What do you like best about this,” just like we would do for our customers. Survey them, ask them what’s up. What do they like, what do they hate? What do they want to change? If it was blue sky picture, what would they want to have on this tool? Then kind of navigating from there, to find something that fits what everyone needs, which is a tough job, but it’s possible.

If you don’t have a team, in my case for example, when I started with FruitStand, there was no team. Kind of evaluating for communication channels, I was like, “Well, I don’t know what we need yet.” Sometimes it’s just a matter of starting with something, and then trying to make it work along the way. Then if it does, cool, if not, then you can always change. In those early stages, sometimes it’s a lot easier to make the change than when you then get a team. Everyone gets used to something and then you have to make a bigger change, that can get a little more complicated.

The other biggest thing is budget and getting the buy-in from stakeholders. If you want to bring in this platform and it costs thousands of dollars, you got to make a big case for that, and rightfully so. You should be sharing why this is going to help. If you have kind of the backbone from your team and let’s say those survey results for example, or if you did interviews with them, if you have the facts about how this is going to help and you really look into what are the biggest kind of pain points that you want to address? What are the goals and how this tool will help with that and solve those problems, then you’re more likely to get that buy-in. Sometimes it can take a lot of work to put that together, to get the buy-in from those. Sometimes you’ll still get a no and it’s a matter of like, “Well, have a backup and make sure that you’re still addressing it from the same way,” but it can be tough. It’s totally possible, you just got to put a little work into it.

I’m going to throw you a little curve ball.

Okay.

Yeah. Say you were given an unlimited budget for technology tools that were specifically going to help your agent. Can you think of say three, and you don’t have to name specific companies, but what are the three must-haves for technology tools to aid in agent success?

Well, I think the first one is really going to be a very robust knowledge base. I love a knowledge base that can be doubled for training purposes. I love a knowledge base that can be used for internal use so the agents only see, but the same tool is used for the customers, but they can only see certain ones. Then you can also build an interactive training thing. Everything basically of knowledge, lives in one place. That would be my dream. Kind of right now, it’s like two or three different things and that can get frustrating hopping around. That would be my first one, knowledge management living in the same place for the agents and for customers.

The second one would be, having the ability to kind of make it easier to tag inbound. I love to tag ticket types, for example, and I really love to know what a ticket is about. Sometimes, like right now, we do that manually. Of course there are certain ways to do it automatically, but it can be limited. Having a more robust tool to do automatic ticket tagging of types, that would actually help us because it tells the story. I want to look at the end of the month or the end of the week and like, “How many of these types of tickets came through, what does that tell us about what we’re going to do next week?” I need those metrics. Having that type of thing is really important and doing it in a better, more efficient way, would be amazing.

I think the third one, would just be an easier way to research customer history. We use text, social media, and we use email. If a customer sends us a message on social media, it’s not necessarily going to be connected to them if they write in through email or if they text us. Having the ability to kind of have it under one umbrella, because if they write in now, it would be nice to be able to go back without having to do some crazy big search, just shows in a side panel, “Here’s when this customer contacted you five years ago.” Just being able to read through, know their history, ask them about their dog or I don’t know, things like that. Just having an easy way, because I think sometimes that’s forgotten.

I love it when I call a company and they’re like, “How, how are your cats today?” They have some note in there and I love that. Otherwise, if it’s a company that you go to all the time them and you’re like, “I know this place,” and they’re like, “What’s your name again,” it kind of feels like, “Oh, okay, well. I’ll just get on with my day.” Just having an easier way to connect with customers, by knowing their past communications with you on different channels as well.

Yeah. This has been something we’ve talked about a lot on this podcast too, is that, exactly what you’re saying. Even on one specific interaction, so say they’ve come through chat and now they’ve come to an agent finally, and the agent goes ahead and asks them all the same questions that they’ve just answered and they don’t have a clear transparency into what their customer journey has been, even just with that interaction, that can really hinder all of your CSAT scores and your quality scores and things like that. Having that transparency is so important. So glad you touched on that. Circling back, you had mentioned this just a few moments ago, what are the strategies or tactics that you find most effective for getting stakeholder buy-in when you find a technology you think is useful for your agents? You’ve touched on this with saying surveys from the agents can really help, but can you tell us a couple more that you think are effective?

Yeah, I think it kind of goes back to speaking the language. I want to make sure that I’m understanding the values and goals of the stakeholders before I just go to them and say, “We want this.” The best way to get the buy-in, is usually to have it correspond with some type of company goal or the mission or something else that’s aligned with company values. Being able to connect a tool that you want to purchase with those types of things, is going to be more likely to get you the buy-in from stakeholders. I think just showing how it can add value, that it can solve problems more efficiently, that it’ll be basically worth the money, I think. Also, when we factor in money, we also factor in the energy and time of the agents on the front lines and the customer experience as a whole.

Kind of promote, or I guess projecting it in a way where it’s showing all of these things that matter to the customer service team, but that also matters to the stakeholders. A lot of the times, it just comes down to making sure you’re showing the numbers, the facts, metrics, past metrics, what you expect the metrics to be when you do get this, and so on. Really just speaking that language of what matters to them, it seems to get the point across. Sometimes you’ll get a yes, sometimes you get a no, but you’re at least doing it from the angle of everyone’s involved here.

That’s really great advice. We’re going to switch modes as we wrap up here. It’s what I always find to be the fun questions, maybe not everyone agrees, but I think they’re fun. Jenny, what resources, podcasts, publications, blogs, groups on LinkedIn, stuff like that, do you regularly reference to stay on top of industry trends, news, changes, things like that?

Okay. References, I am in CX Accelerator, it’s an online Slack community of customer experience professionals around the world. I am a huge fan of that. It’s so easy to just pop in there and connect with someone or ask a question. That community is wonderful. Support Driven is another global community that is on Slack as well, that I am a part of. It’s just amazing and you just feel like, talk about feeling heard, you go in there and you feel very erred, you’re like, “I got this struggle.” “Oh yeah. I feel you. I’ve gone through that.” You can kind of talk to people. Those two communities are really where I go.

A lot of the times there’s different things on Twitter that I will follow, different hashtags. For example, Jeremy Watkin has a CX question of the day where I love watching him post these, with different questions of anything CX or customer service related and everyone kind of chimes in with answers. It makes you think, it makes you see how different people do it at different companies. I really love participating in that type of thing. Otherwise, just reading just different blogs out there. Jeff Toister has a great blog and a weekly customer service tip, which is pretty exciting to get in your inbox every day. You don’t have to do anything. There’s so many great resources out there.

That’s a good one. You named a couple that we’re really big fans of and that have actually even been on the podcast, Nate Brown, we love Nate. Jeremy Watkins, that question of the day, we go and look at as well. Such a good one.

Awesome.

You just mentioned a couple, but who are a few of the standout leaders in our industry that you follow, look to for advice, or you are currently collaborating with or that you would like to collaborate with?

Okay. Well, the first one would definitely be Jeremy Watkin. He and I actually worked together for a decade. We’re really good friends. We’ve known each other for a very long time. I really look up to him for customer service and experience advice. Nate Brown, obviously, he’s just such a bundle of energy and knowledge and wisdom and just does it with such heart. Leslie O’Flahavan is another one of my favorites. Anytime I need to figure out how to write something in an efficient way to a customer or say something differently, Leslie has tons of resources on her website that help with that. She’s just also a delight of a human. I just love her. Jeff Toister is another great resource. Shep Hyken, oh my gosh, there’s just so many different individuals out there I could probably sit here all day and name, but those are probably the top.

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Those are great ones. My final question, Jenny, what career or practical advice do you have for people looking to grow their skills and impact the technology used in contact center management?

Whew. All right. The advice that I have is, I guess for me, I have to sit back and remember why I’m doing this. In my line of work, customer services and experience is really just people helping people. When I say stay true to that value for myself, I’m able to kind of get through those rough days with customers screaming at you and get through the challenges and roadblocks that I may face. I really encourage everyone to kind of think about why they’re doing what they’re doing on the day to day, and stick with that. Maybe post it on a little note on your computer, because that will make a big impact on everything you do at work, with the technologies you choose, and why you’re choosing them, how you interact with your team, how you respond to a customer, or how you do a presentation. Remembering why you’re doing what you’re doing, is something that really helps me. I hope that that is advice that can help someone else.

That’s great. I think focusing on the human aspect of things sometimes, especially now when a lot of us are working at home, maybe we’re not used to working at home so we feel a bit of a disconnect, to always remember to try to focus on reaching out and checking up on people.

Right.

Also, keeping the humans in mind when you’re choosing technologies.

Yeah.

Jenny, we’re going to wrap up. Thank you so much for being with us. Is there anything else you’d like to add before we say goodbye?

No, Hailey, thank you so much for having me on. This has been a lot of fun.

Great. Well, it was great having you and we will talk soon.

Awesome. Thank you.

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