Support, Sales, Consultancy, Marketing, Development and Admin. These are more than just departments at Smith Cooper, they are teams of people that have brought the company to where it is today.
Many of you may not have interacted with any of these departments or you may have interacted with them all! Either way, this series is intended to introduce you to the people behind the titles, to give you insight into the people that make up Team SCSP.
Following on from our first article of the series, we are talking to Christie today. Christie is our Sage Support manager and someone who many of you may know very well. Keep reading to find out more about Christie and how her SCSP journey began.
How did your journey with SCSP start?
I finished my Publishing Degree at Oxford Brookes, then went into IT Recruitment for a year in Oxford. After moving back to Derby I wanted to find something new, and applied for a Sage Support role with no experience in support or in the Sage software, basically on a whim.
From my first interview, I felt like the SCSP team culture was something I could get on board with. For saying how stressful interviews are I was at ease and, once I was offered the job, I didn’t have to think hard about whether or not to accept.
What does your job role involve and what duties does your team mainly cover?
I have moved up the ranks over the last 5 years, starting at ground zero with no Sage experience, up through the Support Team to Team Leader, and then to Support Manager last November.
My role has changed from being 1st line support, tackling the variety of issues we get through on emails and phones, into what is now a more hands-off managerial position. The support team are our front line squad. Everyone has an in-depth knowledge of the core Sage 200 product, and then we have a range of experience in the 3rd party products we support, which means that the team are well placed to help customers no matter what the issue is.
My job now is to make sure that the calls are distributed fairly, evenly and quickly across the team; ensure everyone can get or has had the training they need to become better support consultants; as well as being a point of escalation for when someone needs a second pair of eyes. I still keep my hand in with first-line support to make sure I don’t get rusty, as I do enjoy keeping up the relationships I have established with some of our customers over the years!
How has working from home impacted the way the support team works? Have you had to adapt your processes to the working from home environment?
Being forced to work from home was a massive change for the support team. Up until last year, we were always in one room together and then we were forced into relying on dodgy home broadband and the odd video call to get us through the days. This has had its ups and downs as you can imagine! It was an adjustment process for us to learn how to get the most out of Teams, making sure that we keep in touch over a group chat so that we can still help each other and maintain the healthy work banter that SCSP is famous for. With working from home being the new norm, we have been able to expand our team to include highly qualified support consultants from all across the UK, instead of being limited to those within a commutable distance from Derby.
Now that a majority of the support team works remotely how do you plan on keeping up the team motivated?
My usual working ethos involves singing along to the radio and oversharing the minutiae of my life with anyone in hearing distance, so I make sure to continue that when speaking to any of the support team on the phone, to try to make life a little bit more normal!
More seriously though, we check in with each other on the group chat daily, and I have a one to one with 2 members of support each week. This is to go through their calls and help out where needed but also to check in with them and their lives, so that we maintain a friendly relationship and can provide a bit extra support if anyone’s having a tough time. We have introduced monthly team training hours which allow the whole team to interact with each other, share knowledge, and build team morale.
Did you always want to work in software support?
I can honestly say software support was never something that occurred to me. Growing up I imagined myself in an editorial position for a fantasy fiction publishing house, dreaming that it would just involve me being paid to read books every day, and nothing more. My degree gave me a bit of a reality check, and when I finished university I found myself looking for any kind of plan to get my career on track.
I applied for the job based on the fact that it was heavily customer service, that the skills in Sage could be taught, but that the ability to deal with customers was something I would need to bring to the role. I’ve always been pretty good at talking to anyone and everyone, and I really enjoy helping people and problem-solving so working on a support desk seemed to be a great fit…and I was right! 5 years later, I’ve well and truly lodged myself into the SCSP family and I don’t plan on going anywhere any time soon.
That is all for this time around, thank you very much for reading and a huge thank you to Christie for sparing the time to answer our questions! Stay tuned for the next edition of this series where we will be chatting with Craig Taylor, our Implementation Manager.