Elizabeth Lyon

Role: Service Delivery Manager

How long at Redcentric? 2 years 6 months

It’s been a whirlwind! I’d been out of the IT world for a-few years – so I was a tad rusty and apprehensive about potential gaps in my knowledge, that needed to be plugged. However, the support received from all areas of the business has been extraordinary.

My initial first few weeks were spent visiting the different areas of the business, from sales to projects, to support and finance etc – learning how each function performed, and linked in with the customer lifecycle. This was such an important step – as knowing ‘who’s who’ is quite important in my role.

I spent a lot of time with my immediate colleagues in the SDM Team, and also Support. Shadowing the other SDMs on their Service Reviews and learning all about the reporting tools that we heavily use, spending days with the support team getting familiar with the different ITSM systems, and, the various lines of support teams. I was also given time to familiarise myself with the customers that I was due to inherit, the services they took (spending time again with the subject matter experts to absorb as much knowledge as I could), the history of the customer relationship with Redcentric, getting to know the Account Managers and Support Teams, and also, anything specific to the customer – for example their reporting etc.

These first few weeks set-me up to hit the ground running when I took over the SDM ownership of the accounts – with full handovers from the previous SDM.

From then on – my time has been spent building relationships both with my customers, and also, the various different internal teams that work hard to support the customer. I am still very much in the throes of learning all about my customers, and our business – however the more knowledge I can build – the better I can serve my customers – so every day really is a school day for me!

Once I settled in – I felt more confident about the services my customers take, who the key-stakeholders are within the customer’s teams, and indeed, our own teams (for the different service lines we offer). I have a much better grasp of the technologies we support (albeit high-level), and I feel more able to support my customers, thanks to the patience and support of my colleagues!

I now have my daily/weekly and monthly routines mapped out, understand, and use the reporting tools to provide the customer with regular valuable information, and have built some good relationships with my customers and team-mates alike.

Personally, due to having a limited understanding of the technical aspects that are at the core of our business, and, the fact that I am not the person who is ‘doing the do’ – I rely very heavily on my colleagues. When a customer approaches me with an issue, or a query, often I am unable to give them what they need personally – and instead – have to approach my learned colleagues for their support and steer.

Hands-down, my favourite thing about Redcentric is the camaraderie and support from my colleagues. I have never been let down when seeking support from any of my team-mates across all of the different functions within Redcentric – and that is over 450 people in the UK and HYD!

The willingness to help and support one-another, despite being very busy people themselves, is exemplary. The patience exercised by my colleagues when dealing with my frequent questions and requests for help – makes it possible for me to do my job – and ultimately feeds straight in-to a great customer experience.

There’s lots of banter in the office too – and I can see that people genuinely enjoy working together. We often have to work in stressful and high-pressured environments – so being amongst work colleagues who you don’t have to take yourself too seriously with (in the right circumstances of course) helps you get through anything the customer can throw at you.

For me, a Service Delivery Manager acts as a link between the company and its clients. We interface with the teams across the business at all points of the customer’s lifecycle. From service reviews, to ensuring contractual needs are met for both parties, through to acting as the internal voice of the customer and identifying ways in which service management can be improved. It’s also about having tough conversations when things have not gone to plan, and what we intend to do in order to avoid the same situation in the future.

We work exceptionally closely with the Sales and various Customer Support Teams to help onboard and support customers throughout their journey with Redcentric. A main theme of continual service improvement runs through all that we do – in a bid to maintain the best levels of service for our customers.

Albeit I have habitual tasks that underpin a certain level of structure to each of my days – no two days are the same as an SDM, and the environment can change minute by minute dependent on what is happening with the service. Typically, I’ll start with reviewing any unfinished and time dependent tasks from the previous day (from customer queries to escalations) – before mapping out what main tasks I need to focus on for the rest of the day. I’ll then move on to having a quick mull over my customer’s open ticket reports to pick out any tickets that may need some focus from the support teams, or, may have been raised by the customer

I’ll constantly be on alert for anything that might affect my customer’s experience and try to balance that out between performing my main tasks for that day – for example – pulling together and analysing any customer reporting, attending customer meetings such as weekly project calls, getting involved in internal meetings (i.e. Change Advisory Board) to ensure I know what is going on within the business, having a constant dialogue with my colleagues in support keeping an eye on any tickets and escalations, helping with customer comms and offering advice and assistance. I also get heavily involved in running our customer service reviews where all aspects of the service are deliberated, and analysed, to ensure we are performing to our contractual SLAs,  and striving to offer exceptional customer service and value-add to our customers.

One day I might have back-to-back calls and meetings of a whole variety of different things (i.e. project calls, internal calls to discuss any issues for a particular customer, general catch-up calls with customers, open ticket report reviews), and other days (usually towards the end of the month after my service reviews and reporting has been completed), I might have a clear afternoon on which I can focus on proactive works…it really does depend on the requirements of my customers at the time.

As a side to my immediate day-to-day tasks, I also try to get involved in keeping up to date on the wider context of the business, what’s occurring, where are we headed, what new products are on the horizon, keeping close to the Account Managers whom I work side by side with to support the customers, understanding my customer’s strategic goals – and how Redcentric can help them deliver on those goals by implementing the right technology for them.

Also – my internal relationships with my colleagues are just as important as that of the customer relationship, as ultimately, I lean heavily on my colleagues in order to try to promote the best service for the customer. So, I like to keep in touch with my colleagues as much as I can.

Be driven, hard-working, pragmatic, honest and genuine. Speak your mind if you think things could be changed for the better, learn from your peers (we have a lot of very experienced and knowledgeable people in the business). Steal the best knowledge and characteristics from your colleagues, and use them to better yourself, and the service you give to your customer.

Be open minded and patient (there’s A LOT to learn about the business, processes, people, services and customers) – so don’t beat yourself up if it takes a while to settle in, and feel like you know what’s going on (I’m still learning now). Don’t be afraid to ask for help or clarity on anything you come across – I’ve learned that there really is no ‘stupid question’ (despite being anxious to ask it) – we have a hug mix of techie, non-techie, experienced and less experienced (i.e. time spent in the business) people – we all support one-another and learn from one-another.

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