Johnny Tarrant loves teaching. He loved it when he taught junior and high school science for 12 years. He loves teaching the students he’s tutoring. And he loves teaching now as a customer service representative for Sykes Enterprises, Incorporated (SYKES).
“Teaching was wonderful,” he remembers. “And I’m still doing it, even working at SYKES. I help customers learn what’s important to them and teach them to get what they want.”
Sometimes Johnny encounters former students who come to work at SYKES. He mentors them on how to succeed. “This is a great place to work,” he tells them. “SYKES has definitely been one of the best choices I’ve made. Just get to know the people here,” he advises, “and you will work and learn.”
Johnny believes in a lifetime of learning. He first came to understand this truth while working in the Army as an artilleryman shortly after the Vietnam War.
“The Army gave me the chance to toughen up. I became more resilient and learned a bit more about life. In the end, I credit the Army for teaching me lessons that ultimately made me a better father and worker.”
After the Army, Johnny moved to Fort Sill in Oklahoma where he worked with the Army National Guard for eight years, until he started pursuing his undergraduate degree. While at college, Johnny met an organic chemistry professor who would become one of his mentors. The professor helped Johnny bust out of his shell and get involved with campus activities, teaching him the value of helping others.
Following his formal training, Johnny taught junior high and high school, instructing students in biology, chemistry, and physics. His favorite was physics. “The students enjoyed blowing stuff up,” Johnny jokes. “Specifically, in chemistry, but with physics we did a lot of activities connected to movement and measuring outcomes. As a teacher, I was determined to get my students to open their eyes and expand their horizons. I frequently told my students it’s important to keep an open mind when it comes to opportunity because life rarely stays the same.”
And like a good teacher, Johnny practices what he teaches. After leaving his career as a teacher and then working a stint selling insurance, he found his way to SYKES. He was attracted by the opportunity to work with people and help customers solve problems.
Recently, when working with a customer in desperate financial need connected with his account, Johnny exhausted all his available options to help. When that wasn’t enough, he contacted his manager who could approve the request and get the funds to the customer.
The customer was beyond grateful. “Thank you for not quitting on me,” he told Johnny. But the customer’s praise didn’t stop there. The customer took the extra step of praising Johnny on Twitter, commenting that he had received one of the best customer service experiences of his life.
Johnny attributes his success to something his dad helped teach him.
“You know, there’s the old rule of 200, that says whatever you do to someone, they’re going to tell 200 people about what you did, whether it’s good or bad.”
That wisdom helps Johnny keep perspective. “It keeps me in line a lot of times when I’m in a difficult situation, and it helps me think, ‘okay, I’m here to help.’”
That’s an attitude he finds shared by others at SYKES. “This is what SYKES is emphasizing. We work as a team, depending on others to help you, and then you help others. When it’s a hard day you learn something from people around you. And you all learn to be a better person, and a better group. That makes a big difference to me.
“At SYKES, you feel like you’re a part of something.”