Eliminates dangerous, repetitive, boring tasks
–Elon Musk on his new robot
The purpose of technology is to meet people’s needs.
I received a degree in English from the University of Connecticut. I wanted to be a journalist, so I pursued a master’s degree and during that time I got a job in a library. The problem was, even as I was in that world of books and newspapers, I was watching that world completely change.
Little kids were big library visitors, but once they got to be about ten years old they drifted away. The way the library decided to get them back was by installing newer technology into the library such as faster wi-fi, more computers, and even video consoles and games.
The experience left me wondering if could with my soft skills fit into this more technology-based world. I ended up leaving grad school and determined to find out. Within a couple years I got an entry-level job as an Account Associate at Bryley Systems. In that role, and the roles that followed in Client Services the past eleven years, I’ve seen first-hand how my skills fit the tech space.
Text, Subtext and Context
What’s more important for forming durable connections than being aware of what’s really going on for the other person? And isn’t attention to verbal and unspoken shifts in tone, and right reactions to those shifts, the cues we look for to know we’re being understood? This is one reason Teslabot, Alexa and other computerized assistants still have miles to go.
Many times our clients expect us to anticipate their needs, to understand what they want without them actually saying so: ‘you’re my IT company, you should know what I need.’ And so I learned that Client Services’ real job was to know. That’s why emotional intelligence will always be the core of Client Services.
Who, What, When, Where, Why and How
In the ‘90s the musical soundscape had been glittery, pop bubblegum. But Kurt Cobain (my favorite musician) changed music by the real and difficult subjects he wrote about powered by Nirvana’s radical sound. Suddenly here was a small band in Seattle that made people feel understood.
I see a parallel in how people can get dazzled by a new device or the latest software, and forget that tech is not an end. Client Services’ role is to understand clients. It advocates for them, so the tech team can deliver the practical solutions clients need.
Taking Good Notes
But we’re not always reacting to what’s urgent. We have years of experience listening to clients and making sure clients get what they require from Bryley. So although times and situations change, we are now proactively moving Bryley to a state of anticipating contingencies, and drawing up backup plans to cover these situations.
In fact, right before COVID, we began a Client Services initiative to make sure our clients had reliable and secure equipment. And also making sure they had the ability to continue business operations remotely if necessary. ‘You’re going to probably want a laptop.’ ‘You’re going to want to be able to connect from wherever.’ Those were conversations and processes that we finished going through right before COVID.
And then the pandemic hit. ‘Oh my gosh, thank you so much for encouraging us to do this. If we hadn’t done this before COVID, we wouldn’t be able to work. We’d be completely stuck.’ Knowing clients’ situations well enough to help prevent problems down the line makes me really happy.
And an Eye for Detail
Client Services has also been working more to document each client’s needs, Bryley’s response to that need and the outcome of the interaction. Those metrics give us the best basis to improve Bryley going forward. Especially as Bryley continues to increase in size, processes cannot remain static. What do we have to change in our procedures to make them more efficient, so that Bryley’s work on behalf of our clients can be sustained?
I didn’t knowingly prepare for this career, but I’m grateful I made the leap: it turned out I’d been developing many of the skills that would help people get what they needed in a changing world.
Anna is Vice President of Client Services. She has been with Bryley since 2010.