Charlotte Ward 0:14
Welcome to Episode 20 of the customer support podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. The topic for this week is transitioning to leadership with some personal perspectives. So let’s listen to five leaders talking about that very topic. I’d like to welcome to the podcast today Simone Secci. Simone, would you like to introduce yourself?
Simone Secci 0:39
Sure. So my name is Simone. And I’m currently located in Berlin, where I head the customer support team at Doodle. And I’ve been in this role for a little less than two years, and I’ve been in a position of leadership and management since 2014, in support and account management and success,
Charlotte Ward 1:10
So Simone The topic for this week is personal stories of transitioning into leadership. Can you tell me yours?
Simone Secci 1:16
So my story specifically is that I was working as a support agent for about three years before I actually stepped into a leadership position. I was invited by a former colleague into this new company. In the beginning, it was a very small size small scale project we started from zero so it was me and him we will basically outsource support for for the company. So there’s like a different take on on a BPO. And, and, and then I started as, as, again, as an agent, specialist and then the volume of work, multiplied to the point where I needed people to help me out and that’s how I basically transition into being a team lead and then Support Manager,
Charlotte Ward 2:01
The volume effectively bumped you from the sound of it into that leadership position you needed to start hiring people. But was there a point at which you had to approach somebody and say, This is more than I can handle and I want to lead a team? Or was it by virtue of, you know, you, you were there enough time and, and be needed to, to hire more organically?
Simone Secci 2:22
Right? No, I was lucky enough where basically, my previous manager, mule me for a long time and deemed me to have the appropriate skills at that point in terms of also like people skills, because I train people before as an agent, when the people got hired, it’s actually “okay. You’re a lead, you’re also helping with recruitment, we’re promoting us as a lead”. I was in the team lead position after that for about a year. But then the team got so big then it became more Support Manager than lead.
Charlotte Ward 2:55
And do you think that that do you think that you would have led that team quite so quickly that you would have been comfortable hiring those people without that early training that you were doing without sort of branching away from just doing the support that you were doing earlier on to, to actually doing that training of your peers.
Simone Secci 3:17
For sure. I mean, hiring and experience would like, not necessarily go away, but like understanding what were the difficulties of people stepping into into a role rather than just my own. I think it gave me the necessary understanding on on what what they needed to think about. But that by no means was enough to prepare me to all the mistakes that I was going to make. Honestly, I just copied what I thought the manager did well, with me. In the beginning, I think that’s recommendation I can give to to anybody if you have a good manager and doing good things we do just replicate it in the beginning.
Charlotte Ward 3:55
Yeah. You know, some of the things that people often when they step up into leadership, we’re really concerned about just the questions that have quite straightforward answers. In some ways, it seems certainly from this side of transitioning into leadership, once you’ve been a leader for a few years, it’s… there are no worries about how you schedule one on ones and those kind of things. What would be the piece of advice that you’d give them rather than being too concerned about the small things like which particular communication tool to choose first, those kind of things? What would be your bigger piece of advice?
Simone Secci 4:30
The biggest would be to have a clear plan from the beginning, have a vision and stick to it. And you know, have a core vision. Of course, we are bound to change our mind and to get suggestions from other people. Right, but like, it’s more useful to confront yourself with people outside of your company to do the same job rather than confront yourself with people within your company that don’t do support because they might lead you astray. And then you’ll find yourself sort of like going away from your original plan.
Charlotte Ward 5:06
I think you’re right, particularly for smaller companies where you may well be the only support lead. Right? I think in big, well established companies, there’s probably a clearer path and a clearer plan and maybe you have a smaller place in that plan anyway, but when you are talking to all those other components of a small organisation, everyone, all those other leaders have their own measures of success and their own KPIs. Right. So it’s kind of how much how much you’re willing to let yourself be swayed by those and you’re right I think you do need to have a clear plan but also be firm about it, I think.
Simone Secci 5:42
Yeah. Obviously, I recommend together as much you know, information and to sit down at conferences and meetups with other support leaders and get their opinion and listen to their experience mostly, what tools to use to support, what entry points to consider, so if we should do phone, if we should a chat, like what would the community moderation looks like? Because these are all ideas that might pop up from other departments in your company. And I think the advice on deciding why you should do something or how you should do it. It’s really informative to sit down with other support leaders from other companies and see what the upsides and the downsides of those choices.
Charlotte Ward 6:23
Yeah, right. I think we have to add, of course, support leader podcasts to that list.
Simone Secci 6:29
Of course. That’s one of the most important resources!
Charlotte Ward 6:37
That’s it for today. Go to customersupportleaders.com/20 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.
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