Are You Using Your Resources?

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I’ve been known to dabble in the kitchen. Two of my favorite dishes to prepare are fried rice and frittatas. Why? Let’s take fried rice for example. I’ll open my refrigerator and grab a bit of leftover rice, some ham from the night before, that half onion in the Ziploc bag, a couple scrambled eggs, garlic, olive oil, some extra veggies, seasonings, and soy sauce. Fry those all together in a pan and in no time you have dinner. Making a frittata isn’t all that different other than using eggs instead of rice. It’s all about taking disparate parts, things that you have on hand, and turning them into something cool.

We recently got a Nintendo Switch for the kids (and me) and I must say that it’s incredible. I’ve spent a several late nights playing Super Mario Odyssey and have even spent a bit of time strategizing ways to beat certain challenges around the water cooler with my colleagues. The game has many different levels or worlds, with each level requiring Mario to collect a certain number of power moons to power his ship on to the next level.

One thing I’ve come to love is the way so many things are placed in this game for a reason. For example, it’s not uncommon to happen upon a giant seed laying on the ground and then later find an empty pot of dirt. The two objects might seem totally random given their placement in the game, but pick up that seed and throw it in the pot and up sprouts a giant beanstalk that Mario climbs to find a power moon in the sky. It’s such a fun challenge to follow these clues and even more fun to watch my kids think critically and solve problems.

But what do Super Mario Odyssey and fried rice have to do with each other? Furthermore, what’s the tie back to customer service and contact centers? One word: Resources.

As a customer service and experience leader at a startup much of my success early on was due to my ability to be a jack of all trades — to know a little about a lot of things and be able to solve problems. One thing that was tricky as the company grew was relinquishing certain responsibilities and using the resources available to me. For example, we didn’t have a human resources manager for a long time which meant that I recruited, interviewed, and hired new members of my team. That all changed at one point and I had to learn to collaborate effectively with an HR team.

I could go on down the line and talk about reporting, training, workforce management, quality assurance, IT, and more. I could spend even more time talking about tools — perhaps what once lived in spreadsheets and required a bunch of complex formulas now needs to live in a nifty piece of software. It’s only natural as organizations grow and mature to hire people and use better tools for these specialty areas. That can come as a huge relief for some — but for the jack of all trades it can be seen as a threat and require significant adjustment. I quickly learned that my ability to survive and thrive in my own career and development required that I learn to use the resources available to me and excel at collaborating with others.

This is a fairly simple analogy and a lot of words to illustrate the importance of using the resources available to us whether it’s in the contact center or while playing Super Mario Odyssey.

I should also mention those folks in small companies that have no choice but to be jacks of all trades. Here are a few resources that have been a huge help to me:

  • Hire an outsourcer. One of the many benefits of an outsourcing partner is the wealth of resources, services, and experience they can offer to take your customer service operation to the next level. I can recommend a really good one.
  • Join a couple Slack communities. CX Accelerator for customer experience and Support Driven for support are both vibrant, growing communities with people willing to share expertise.
  • Check out Twitter chats. #ICMIChat on Tuesdays at 10am Pacific, #Custserv Chat on Tuesdays at 6pm Pacific, and #CXChat at 11am Pacific on Thursdays are a few of my favorites.

Whether you’re a jack of all trades in a small organization or you work in a large organization, the key is using the resources that are available to you. After living in a bubble for a long time where I didn’t know what I didn’t know, the move to network effectively both inside and outside of my organization kicked my development and effectiveness as a leader up a huge notch. May it do the same for you as well!

Jeremy Watkin
Director of Customer Experience

Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience for FCR. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service, customer experience, and contact center professional.  He is also the co-founder and regular contributor on Customer Service Life.  Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership.  Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

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