We ask five questions of Lisa Kemp Jones, who leads the Customer Engagement unit of IT Services at UCLA. Lisa is part of HDI’s Strategic Advisory Board, 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.
1. Could you describe your current role?
I’m the Director for Customer Engagement at UCLA IT Services. My portfolio includes the IT Support Center, Service Management, Desktop Support, Client Support, Communications and Content, Customer Experience & Learning, and Campus Relationship Management.
2. What, in your opinion, are the characteristics of someone who is successful long-term in this industry?
Curiosity is important, and continually recognizing that no matter where you are in your career, you should be learning things from your colleagues, your staff, your stakeholders, and your leadership. The minute you think you really know how something works, recognize that there’s probably more to it than you think, and certainly other perspectives. Also, having fun and really enjoying what you’re doing is key – find the joy in achievements big and small. Finally, know that you’re part of something bigger and express gratitude frequently for the people you work with for their achievements and contributions, as well.
3. 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?
Listen. A lot.
What’s important to the people that you’re serving? What are the goals of your organization? How is what you’re doing contributing to those priorities and goals? Make the time to learn from your colleagues in other common organizations in your industry, and across different industries, as well. Learn what the common challenges are, and approaches to addressing them that you can use in your own work. Support and service management can be tough – we’re often there to solve problems, so we run the risk of seeing everything as a problem. Share successes, as well, to keep balance.
4. 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?
In the higher education context, pandemic response jump-started long simmering ideas about remote teaching and learning, as well as about remote work. For better or worse, we were thrust into a new world very suddenly where we needed to adapt current processes to a remote environment. As we turn the corner and look at what was effective and what was challenging, what practices can we take from this time and what technology will we need to support it?
In this time, we’ve also seen greater acceptance for non-human help options, and even more demand, so how can we leverage our technology to offer faster resolution for common questions and focus our human empathy and expertise on higher-level problem-solving? The past year has also highlighted the need for more attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Seeking out and incorporating diverse views will be increasingly important to be more effective, mindful, and empathetic.
5. 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?
So many lessons, and so many mentors! I think a primary lesson is to learn to listen to your instincts, but have a network of people to help you validate or provide a different perspective. Mentors help you see things from different angles, and a diversity of thought and perspective is a key part of how we grow and come up with new ideas to address all kinds of challenges – new and old.