We recently spoke with Marni Casanova, Senior Director, Technology Service Operations at T-Mobile; she is part of HDI’s Strategic Advisory Board. The board is composed of industry thought leaders, practitioners, and solution providers who help us keep close tabs on the customer insights and support center and service management market developments.
Could you describe your current role?
I am currently working as part of T-Mobile’s Product & Technology team as the Senior Director, Technology Service Operations. I oversee a large team of frontline experts within our Technology Service Center, as well as a geographically dispersed team of End User Support technicians. We support a customer population of over 200k, 21 Customer Experience Centers, 8k+ retail stores, as well as all corporate locations. Our team is spread across 99 locations and 38 states. We are customer advocates, supporting the entire technology customer experience, as well as provide oversight and performance management of our strategic managed service partners.
What, in your opinion, are the characteristics of someone who is successful long-term in this industry?
I believe there are a few key characteristics for someone to be successful. First and foremost, you must always strive for excellence - not perfection, but excellence - knowing things are always on the path for continual improvement. To thrive in the service and support realm, there is no room for complacency.
Additionally, having empathy and the ability to understand the customers in which you serve are key. Those who work in support are among the best to become the voice of the customer and greatest advocate for improvements upstream.
Last, in the technology world, things move and change quickly – your ability to be open-minded and adapt is crucial.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with those who are just setting out on a career path in the service and support industry?
My best advice to someone starting out in the technology support realm, especially those early in career, is to be open-minded. Working the frontlines of support provides exposure to nearly all facets of technology to some degree. I consider support roles to be the springboard for launching many long-standing tech careers.
Bonus advice? To stand out, be bold and unafraid to challenge the status quo.
There have been so many changes in this industry, both because of new technology and because of the COVID-19 crisis. How do you feel those changes will shape the industry in the next decade?
I think we have proven the unthinkable in many ways – learning how to pivot quickly in terms of rapid deployment of systems, as well as implementing processes to support enormous organizations as they transitioned to almost entirely remote.
I think this experience has also exposed a need for organizations to continue their investments to build on the foundation that was established over these past 12 months. Businesses will need to have a continued prioritization and allocation of funding for tech.
Going forward I think we will see far more opportunities to tap into talent, regardless of where someone resides. Building your bench and recruiting talent without geographically imposed limitations will only propel and enable businesses further.
It’s clear by your participation on the board that you believe in the role of mentorship in the service and support industry. Can you share a valuable lesson you learned from a mentor, and share who that mentor was?
Having worked through many mergers, acquisitions, and affiliations throughout the years, I’ve learned many things from mentors that have helped with my own resiliency and success. One of my favorite pieces of advice came in the form of a simple anecdote from a former CIO, Janice Newell: “Grow no moss!”
In terms of technology services and support, this really speaks to continual improvement. Be bold and make changes, but don’t be afraid to iterate and pivot if it makes sense. If things are not going where you had hoped, get that stone rolling.
What do they see as the most pressing industry trends/shifts in the coming year?
With our transition to remote workforces this past year, I think we will see some upcoming shifts in how we manage both customer engagement and satisfaction, as well as how we meet the needs of just-in-time (JIT) services. Emphasis will continue around enabling more options for self-service – primarily in terms of knowledge management, leveraging AI/bots/virtual assistants, and expanding the use of collaboration platforms to create a source for social interaction and crowdsourcing of information.
Craig Idlebrook is content manager for HDI and ICMI.