I have been described as the ‘consummate customer service professional’ by a former CEO I worked with, and I do have vast experience in all phases of delivering customer delight, from front line to mid-senior management.
I have had a career in Customer Service and Tech Support, starting with Constant Contact, where I was their first Customer Support Representative when they were just a tiny startup. I remained with them for about 16 years, growing professionally as the company itself grew, and I served in numerous leadership roles within Customer Support and Customer Operations.
My last role there was the head of Customer Advocacy, Office of the CEO – (basically the person they send in to soothe the most upset customers, and the highest visibility ones – those that have escalated to the executive level.) I had a lot of success in that role, though it was something nobody else seemed to want to do. Coworkers and others would frequently say things to me like “wow, how do you manage to keep dealing with pissed off people all of the time? I don’t think I could do it!” I would tell them the basic truth: Yes, but they aren’t pissed off at me. It is something I would tell myself whenever I was about to get on the phone with a customer I knew was in a very upset state. Nothing this person says to me in anger is about me, and my role is to try and get into their shoes, understand their situation, and then proceed to find solutions for them. With this approach, I found that I was usually befriending the customer on some level, and literally becoming their advocate internally in the company, and in doing so, acting as an agent of change.
When the company was acquired in 2016, I, along with many other employees at Constant Contact were laid off. In a very short time, I landed a role at another hot startup in Boston, called Toast. Their product is a Point of Sale solution for restaurants. The role as described was Enterprise Customer Success Manager. It seemed the company was just beginning to introduce Customer Success however, so things were in flux the moment I joined, and shortly after I joined it was revealed to me that they wanted me to be the main escalation point for the company, along the same lines as my last role at Constant Contact. It was not the same though, and while I had a number of successes, it was not a good fit, for a number of reasons. The sheer number of escalations, the technical nature of the escalations, and the lack of empowerment I had at Toast, compared to at Constant Contact were key factors. At Constant Contact, there was a lot I could do to resolve issues for customers that I could not do at Toast. Where I could ‘quarterback’ issues at Constant Contact to respective technical teams, I was more often expected to be the technician at Toast, which is not really where my best skills lie. My peace of mind and job satisfaction there were just not happening for me, so I left on good terms. Toast has a very great product, and I wish the company well.
While I have acquired a wealth of skills and experiences that have allowed me to create positive customer and employee outcomes, experience, and retention, in pursuit of my next adventure, which includes a balance shift to feature more of my personal passions in the things I do to earn money. I am a life-long musician, and am a founding member of Railroad House Band, a six-piece acoustic Americana ensemble, and we have performed professionally outside of our day jobs for about 14 years. While continuing with the band, I am pursuing my own solo performance endeavors, and am seeking other jobs that support the afternoon musical presentations in assisted living facilities and similar venues. Currently I am working a remote contract role supporting users of a smartphone based app called Trux Now, but desire a better fit in job and hours, to support my other goals.