In honor of International Women’s Day, we at Netomi are celebrating CX ‘Sheroes’ who are leading from the front in the world of customer support and CX. From our Women of Influence list to our CX Sheroes webinar, we are shining a spotlight on inspiring female leaders who are doing their part to #BreakTheBias.
Here, we revisit some of the highlights from this special edition of our Support Superheroes virtual series, held on International Women’s Day, March 8. During the live event, Rupal Nishar, Netomi’s VP of Customer Success, chatted with Anastasia Zdoroviak, Charlotte Ward, Tania Hoque and Laura Lakhwara about emerging CX industry trends, bolstering tech skills and the importance of carving out time for oneself. For customer service, what does the future look like?
Bridging the gap
“The gender gap is not just a salary gap, it’s an opportunity and growth gap,” Charlotte said, pointing out that the gap is affected by several things, one of which is transparency. “Women, particularly younger women, are great at being authentic and transparent with one another in a safe space, but we don’t really get that authentic and transparent in the presence of men,” she said. “Transparency across the divide is needed.”
Tania pointed out that, in the tech industry, women are the minority, especially in positions of leadership. How can companies create space, and support growth for their female employees? This may include setting DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) targets, or having awareness of unconscious bias that may be occurring during a meeting. Having male mentors (or champions) is also important, others who can help to pave the path. “It is important to have someone say ‘she has something to say, let’s give her an opportunity,” she said.
Making time for yourself & committing to your own learning
“Make sure you’re investing in yourself and are putting yourself out there to have that opportunity,” said Laura, who works in the AI space at automation platform UiPath. “This could involve getting the technical acumen that you need, you don’t need to be doing the technical development or execution but just need to have the acumen in order to be able to speak to it,” she continued, noting that she may pull aside an engineer in the room for a whiteboard brainstorming session.
Aside from investing in your personal development, it is also important to make those important financial investments that will make an impact in your career journey. “Pay for things that you need, whether that may be tips to enhance a resume, or help with interviewing or public speaking,” Laura urged. “The top CEOs have executive coaches to help them..investing that money will mean a lot in terms of how you grow.”
Essential skills for women in customer service
“Analytical skills are a necessity because experience, the way I think about it, is all about understanding what is important to customers, and in order to understand what is important, you need qualitative feedback,” Anastasia pointed out. “You need to be able to interpret the feedback you are receiving, rather than relying on your analytics team to prepare a report and then tell you what it means.”
Having such skills, she continued, can also prove useful during a meeting, as, rather than simply rephrasing their own thoughts and referencing their own opinions, women can easily refer to data. Tangible and difficult to argue with logically, stats and figures can be a good base for women to use in challenging situations in which they may not feel that their opinion or experience is heard or valued.
For those working in CX in the tech industry, Tania pointed to the importance of understanding the technology that you are working with, at least at a high-level, so you are able to have informed and educational discussions with colleagues (no need to dive too deep into the specifics of coding). “Try to get your hands a little dirty, and you’ll be surprised with how much you can grasp through that process,” she said.
The future of women in customer service
As technology and automation advance, it becomes incumbent upon customer support agents to become educated and well-versed on what is happening on the back-end, Laura noted. Agents can then form their own points-of-view and recommendations and ask the big questions such as: what data do I want to see to make my job better? How could this process be improved? What does a better customer experience look like? “The jobs of the future will still have in-person agents, but more importantly, there will also be roles involved in managing these processes and putting in that customer journey, which is not linear, it is a web of pathways that people are following to get the help they need,” she said. “Learning about that is going to be the most important thing in having a voice, and you are the people to do it.”
“Rather than being confined to call centers, service reps will have more tools that they can use to work remotely,” said Tania. “There will be more and more automation that will happen in the customer service space where service reps will be more focused on doing things that require more intellectual power, rather than mundane tasks…there will be more elements that are automated so that humans can do what they’re good at, which is empathizing and bringing new products and services to life.”
In the future, Charlotte sees more of a collaborative partnership occurring between service reps and their customers. “We are going to extend much more into a space where we will find solutions for [customers] that exist outside of the box that we are currently operating in, in which we are presented with a problem and deliver the answer,” she emphasized. “We are going to get to a place in which we are delivering whole solutions in a much more collaborative way with our customers, this is where we can relate to them as human beings, solve bigger problems for them than they originally came to us for, and also preempt problems.”
For more engaging discussions from leaders in the CX world, check out our library of past Netomi webinars!