Kirsten and Diane: Virtually Family
Kirsten Scott has one wish about her role as director of client service. “I hope somewhere along the way that I’ve made a huge difference in people’s lives at SYKES.”
SYKES Home customer service agent Diane Williams can put Kirsten’s mind at ease.
“Kirsten helped me save my job,” recalls Diane. “She encouraged me when I was at a low point. There were times when there were so many changes; it was hard to keep up. It wasn’t easy. But I learned. I attribute that to Kirsten.”
In fact, Diane prospered under Kirsten’s mentorship. She recently celebrated her 10-year anniversary at SYKES.
Diane’s respect and admiration is not one sided.
“If I could have 100 people like Diane I would sign up for that instantly,” says Kirsten, although she no longer works on the same account as Diane. “What is always great about Diane is that you can always coach her, and she looks at it as a huge opportunity to learn and grow.”
This mutual affection springs from the relationship they developed through SYKES Home. Diane appreciated Kirsten’s approach. “Kirsten didn’t chastise me. I was kicking myself, I was struggling, but she helped me. First she inspired me. My handle times were too high.” Diane pauses. “I’m a talker,” she admits. “But Kirsten showed me what extra stuff I was saying that I could eliminate to get my handle time down and still allow me to connect with my customer.”
Kirsten sees it as her responsibility to help her team overcome the obstacles like the ones confronting Diane. “I believe agents, team leads and account managers have to have a safe place to learn and grow. If you don’t give them that safe place, they’ll put up a wall, and you won’t make much progress.”
If Kirsten has a leadership philosophy, it can be summed up in two words. “Kindness counts.” She says, “I always tell my account managers, my team leads, even my own kids this. In my world, you treat everyone with kindness and you listen to them.”
This sort of support and help is exactly what Diane needed and has kept her happily employed by SYKES. When asked to name her best experience working for SYKES she doesn’t hesitate. “Just being employed by SYKES is the best experience. The people I work with, they’re like a family.”
Like Diane, Kirsten is grateful to be working at SYKES. “It’s the first time in all of my working life that I can say that I love the company I’m working for.”
Even though Kirsten has spent her tenure at SYKES working virtually, she feels her connection to her virtual team is as strong or stronger than those working face to face.
“For those of us who work on the virtual side, you have to work twice as hard to build trust. To do that you have to be very vulnerable. You have to be very real. And I think when you do that people feel it; They see it, and it brings out the family feeling. You build these relationships that end up being stronger and more genuine because of the trust that you gained.”
Diane sees things the same way. “The people I work with, it’s like we are a family.” Diane recalls when Kirsten left the account. “So many people cried when she left.” Forging that kind of relationship came from a shared sense of team. “Everyone knows it takes a team effort.”
SYKES Home has also allowed Diane to keep working as she’s moved around Texas taking turns staying with her adult children (she has four). She loves that she can work and help her kids out. “Working at SYKES Home allows me to balance my personal life with working here, and I’m able to help my children more. My son just had his first baby. Recently, after work I was able to go over and help out because everyone was sick there.” Since the arrival of Diane’s granddaughter (her first), she has also taken over caring for her son’s three Yorkies. She laughs. “It’s a little much to have three dogs and a new baby. Working part time allows me to get them out to exercise.”
Although Kirsten is no long a part of the same account team as Diane, she stays in touch. One of her other mottos is “never forget where you came from.” She’s stayed in touch with Diane and her teammates who were there when Kirsten managed the account. Kirsten emailed a personal congratulatory note to Diane when she hit her 10-year anniversary. They still chat on IM. “Diane’s smile comes through even on chat,” she says. “Her response is always so cheery and happy. She’s one of those people the world needs more of.”
Diane and Kirsten both bring a People Serving People spirit to their work and relationships. And both of their worlds are brighter for it.