My entire career has been focused on customer service. As a service delivery manager at Effectual, my top priority is cultivating a strong customer relationship and interacting with multiple internal teams to ensure everyone’s needs are being met and we’re delivering on our commitments.
In past work lives, I have worked in hotel operations and in the point-of-sale industry before jumping into the data center and on-premises world, which quickly became a shift toward cloud computing.
Regardless of the industry, customer service has always come first and technology comes second. This is a philosophy that has shaped my entire career.
My top priority is cultivating a strong customer relationship and interacting with multiple internal teams to ensure everyone’s needs are being met and we’re delivering on our commitments.
Learning as a community volunteer
I volunteer with two different groups that have taught me so much about building human connections. Participating in these organizations not only helps me get out of my comfort zone, but it also showcases different challenges in a new light.
The first group is Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), where I work as an advocate for children in foster care and the court system. These are children in the court system who, through no fault of their own, have been removed from their homes due to neglect or abuse. I meet with my assigned child once a week to see how they’re doing, and then every six months, we go in front of the judge to provide an update.
One of my responsibilities is to write a report for the court and make recommendations because I’ve had the most contact with the child — I’m in the home, seeing how they interact, and getting to know them. This experience has shown me the resiliency of kids, and how they handle difficult situations better than most adults.
The second group I volunteer with is the Johnson County’s Sheriff’s Department for its cadets and patrol division. I primarily get to roleplay in different citizen scenarios, such an active shooter situation or patrol stop, to help train cadets and patrol officers on how to handle each unique scenario should it unfold in the real world. This is a type of stress inoculation and is an important part of the training process.
For example, I might play someone who is being pulled over by an officer. In some settings, I comply with everything the officer says. In others, I get to be a bit wilder, or maybe I have a character trait that adds a layer of complexity to things. I’ve played the part of someone with a hearing disability as well as someone who didn’t speak English.
These experiences have helped me better understand the connections we have as humans. No two situations are the same — whether in our personal or professional lives. At Effectual, I am working with commercial and public sector customers and learning about their challenges and pain points, their familiarity with the cloud, and how our solutions can best fit their needs.
The importance of transparency in relationships
Though every situation is unique, I’ve found transparency to be the most important element to building trusted, positive relationships.
In one of my previous roles, I was helping deliver a point-of-sale system that needed to go into a restaurant. There was a serious mix-up, and we were going to miss the installation by about four days. Even if you’ve never worked in a restaurant, you can imagine four days without being able to sell anything would be pretty devastating!
A colleague asked me to handle the situation and tell the client because they didn’t want to deliver the bad news. I called the owner and told them that I was going to be transparent with them. Their reply? “We know we can trust you, because you can handle delivering both the good and bad.”
Embracing one of Effectual’s core values
No matter what challenges you encounter, it’s important to stay level and communicate. At Effectual, we see ourselves as your partner. This means we earn your trust by taking ownership of challenges and accountability for the results. It’s one of our core values. That is why I aim to be as transparent as possible in my conversations with customers. While gaining someone’s trust when everything is going smoothly may be easier, keeping their trust when issues arise can be difficult unless you maintain open, honest communication.
Amy Guion is a Service Delivery Manager at Effectual.