Staff Interview: Mike Thomas
In this interview with the staff we speak with Mike Thomas, a Customer Care Specialist with Site5 who has a massive 10 years of work from home experience.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, “America’s Logistics Center” and home to the largest Government owned municipality in the United States.
Where do you currently live?
At the moment, I live about 30 minutes west of Jacksonville in a small town of less than 30 thousand residents. Our claim to fame is super low crime rates and fiber optic internet!
What’s your position with Site5 and how have you found it so far?
At the moment I work as a Customer Care Specialist on our Special Projects team, but that’s just a department and title. The part & parcel of my job involves looking inward at our company’s methods, practices, and procedures and discovering ways we can improve efficiency with our team, and most importantly our customers.
Tell us how your typical day goes
I work a standard Monday – Friday 10 am to 6 pm shift. As such, I wake at 9:55 am each day and walk about 10 feet to my computer to clock in. Since most of my work is project based, I “book” time for projects in my calendar, much like you would with appointments. This allows me to dedicate time for each project while maintaining flexibility should something suddenly arise.
Interestingly, there’s a lot of variety in what I do each day, keeping things fresh. For example, this past week I’ve been working on creating a database of information pertaining to a particular procedure while assisting customers via Social Media. Next week, I’ll still work on Social Media, but may be working on a project involving reporting and statistics.
How do you approach your job?
First and foremost, with an open-mind. There are times you look at a project and think “oh my, this is different”, but with experience comes a sense of visualization. It’s important to keep in mind the “end goal” of the project, and how it will affect us in the long term. Also, it’s quite important to keep in mind something you spend weeks or months on may not be a fit for our current plans, and to not let that discourage you from trying again!
How did you come to be a Customer Care Specialist?
When I was hired, I was split between phone and chat support, which was a great fit for me as I love interacting with our customers. Nearly a year and half later, I was asked to help with a small project on our customer care team. One thing led to another and I was promoted into my current role.
My interest in customer service is purely altruistic, which is to say I take a personal stake in helping each customer with whom I interact.
Previously, I worked for Apple, another company with high marks for customer service. Off and on thru the years, I hosted with Site5 and when I saw they were hiring, I got in touch, the rest, is history, and I’ve been here for just over 3 years.
Do you have any spare time to work on your own projects?
Personal projects? What are those? I kid! Actually, our management team places a heavy emphasis a work-life balance. I really enjoy travelling, having visited over 25 countries and over 100 cities. Experiencing different cultures certainly has an effect on your world view, something which easily translates to customer service. When not traveling, I enjoy blogging about technology and customer service and watching my cat Henry experience life.
What’s your most satisfying experience at work?
Christmas, 2011 – the end of the “Great Migration of 2011″, a near year long effort to upgrade the hardware across our fleet. It was a tumultuous time, stressful for our team and our customers alike. Knowing it was done was a big relief.
How do you like working remotely?
I’ve worked remotely since I was 18, so 10 years now. It’s always been a good fit for me personally. At the moment, I live about 30-45 minutes from Jacksonville, maybe more in traffic, each way. I wouldn’t trade my 30 second walk for anything. The pros of working from home are near infinite, you can use your own bathroom, be home for any packages which need signed, cook a proper lunch (breakfast or dinner, depending on your shift). Perhaps the most unique perk is being able to work remotely from anywhere! I’ve worked from Disney World, Las Vegas, and Miami, having arrived a day or so early to accommodate easier travel.
Advice for people aspiring to your role?
Be conscious of looking inward at yourself and analyzing your work. You’d be amazed how this helps you see the other point of view. Using the same thought process, visualize your customers. Being able to put yourself in their shoes should define the quality of service you deliver.
Any trends at the moment worth following?
If you’re following a trend, you’re doing something wrong. Be the brightest out of the bright and pave your own way, create your own trends, and each day, improve upon them.