We ask five questions of Roy Atkinson, CEO and Principal Advisor at Clifton Butterfield, LLC. Roy 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.

by Craig Idlebrook
May 4, 2021

1. Could you describe your current role?

My roles are several:

  • To shape the strategy that will help Clifton Butterfield grow and clients succeed.
  • To advise clients and customers who are seeking guidance in their customer experience (CX), employee experience (IEX), technology acquisition, implementation, and support, and/or customer service programs.
  • To develop strategic partnerships with leading organizations in adjacent fields, which expands our ability to guide clients.

2. What, in your opinion, are the characteristics of someone who is successful long-term in this industry? Roy Atkinson

To be successful in any of the aspects of customer-facing organizations, you have to have a drive to make things better by helping to resolve an issue or answer a question. Patience is a must, as is empathy. You also need an unwavering commitment to learn. I advise people that they should spend about 25% of their time learning about new technology, methodology, techniques, etc. Otherwise, you’re going backwards.

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?

Remember why you are there: To help people. If you are only there to trade hours for dollars, you won’t last very long doing support. It’s very hard work.

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?

Emerging technologies (e.g., Machine learning, Natural Language Processing, Robotic Process Automation, and the like) will have major impacts on the way people work and the kinds of work people do. That includes support, but also pretty much everyone in the organization. I’m not saying jobs will disappear—although some will—I am saying that work will change. Your skills have to change, as well. The rapid change from office to work-from-home in 2020 showed this; managers had to learn new ways to connect, onboard, and supervise. That type of rapid change is here to stay.

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?

One of the most valuable things I learned was how to gather the thoughts of smart colleagues, and put them to use. The mentor was Pete McGarahan.

Tag(s): supportworld, coaching, collaboration, communications skills, communications technology

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