Who are you?
I’m 32 years of age and I live by the seaside in Bournemouth with my Husband who, like me, enjoys living life in the ‘fast lane’ so instead of spending our honeymoon relaxing on a beach somewhere we decided to spend it partying together in Ibiza.
What do you do?
My formal job title is Head of Customer Service and I look after our Web Chat, Customer Care, and Customer Service teams.
What is your background?
I graduated from University with an LLB Honours degree in Law some 10 years ago. On completion of my degree, I decided to gain some work experience in the ‘real world’ before going on to study my Legal Practice Course. However, I then fell into Customer Service within a Call Centre that specialised in assessments for eligibility of legal aid and it’s safe to say since then I’ve not looked back.
I’ve always been the kind of person to relish a challenge, so I really enjoyed the pace, volume, and problem-solving element of a role in customer services, not to mention that I was being paid to chat to people all day long – which for me was a dream role. Thanks to my empathy, enthusiasm, and energy for customer services I excelled and was soon promoted to managing team members.
Since then I’ve managed call centres in the legal, housing association, and energy supply sectors. I am a true champion of the customer and I’m not afraid to challenge the status quo in pursuit of creating a positive experience for the customer.
I joined Igloo with a view to designing, implementing, and delivering excellent customer service to our customers from day one.
What does your average day look like?
One thing I really enjoy about my role is the variety of work – no two days in the office are ever the same.
That said, I’ll always spend at least 5 minutes with the team every day to ‘check in’ which means anything from asking what they got up to at the weekend to asking them what we should stop/start or continue for our customers.
We’re a growing team so we’re always on the lookout for the best talent so a fraction of my day will usually include interviewing prospective candidates or meeting new recruits.
Then there’s one-to-one meetings with our management team where I’ll listen to their current challenges and coach and guide them towards finding appropriate solutions.
I’ll also take the time to browse through our customer enquiries paying particular attention to what’s driving volume or frustration and conduct root cause analysis and add any proposals to our strategic continuous improvement plan.
Aside from just focussing on the areas of improvement I’ll be sure to read through great customer feedback for the day – ensuring that I end each day on a ‘high’ whilst ensuring that our ‘brightest stars’ are acknowledged and appreciated.
What led you to the utilities industry?
I was drawn into applying for my current role by the potential for improvement and by the challenge of delivering a positive customer experience in an industry that’s not usually renowned for great customer service.
What are the values that drive you?
Leaders have to genuinely care and believe that their customers experience forms the foundations of their success. Leaders have to believe this because if they don’t neither will their teams.
I’ve learnt to train my mind to see the positive in everything. Positivity, just like happiness is a choice that we can all make. If you stay positive in a negative situation you will always win and just like that positivity is a superpower.
Empathy is essential for creating trusting working relationships with our team members and it’s crucial to building a rapport with our customers because it enables us to see things from their perspective. In the words of Barrack Obama “empathy is the quality of character that can change the world”.
What do you do when you are not working?
I enjoy keeping myself fit which can be anything from HIIT classes at the gym to yoga or walking in the New Forest with my husband. I also enjoy travelling and I’m always planning my next trip away, right now I’m planning a 3-week trip to the USA where I’ll be visiting Florida, New Orleans and New York.
What/Who inspires you?
I think what inspires me the most is our customers. I always make time to read emails and web chats from our customers as well as taking the occasional customer call. Our customer comments always inspire me to do better, to change things, to continuously improve and this drives me to achieve more, every day.
What is one lesson you have learnt in your career so far?
It’s ok to not have all the answers, leadership is about utilising the strengths of those around and listening to the suggestions of others before deciding on a new direction or a course of action.
What advice would you give to other women in the industry?
Don’t be afraid to take risks and always believe in yourself – if you believe you can do it you’re already halfway there.
In your experience, what can businesses do to attract and retain female talent?
One thing I love about WUN is that it showcases and celebrates the success of women from right across the utilities industry – and this is exactly what employers need to do because people don’t tend to believe that something is possible until they see it done.