057: Jeremy Watkin: I made sure they knew they were wrong

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057: Jeremy Watkin: I made sure they knew they were wrong

Jeremy Watkin Show Notes

Jeremy Watkin threw his phone when a customer yelled at him. He argued with customers and would shoot out angry emails. Jeremy’s antics were entertaining to folks in the contact center. But Jeremy finally realized something that changed his outlook and life. Listen to Jeremy tell his story of how he got over the hump and became an industry influencer.

Jeremy was born in Grangeville, Idaho. He moved around a few times before settling down in the city of Rancho Cucamonga, California where he spent the bulk of his childhood. Jeremy has always excelled as a musician, playing trumpet in marching and jazz band through high school. He’s active in leading music at his church as a singer and guitar player and has picked up piano, banjo, and ukulele in more recent years.

Upon finishing college, Jeremy went to work as a customer service representative for webhost and domain registration company TierraNet and worked his way into a management position before joining Phone.com full time as the director of customer service in 2012.

Having come from three generations of pastors, Jeremy often refers to the ministry as the family business— and while he didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps, he credits the wealth of experience learning to work with a variety of different people as a key reason he has excelled in customer service.

In August 2015, Jeremy left sunny San Diego and moved with his wife and three young boys to Eugene, Oregon to work as the Head of Quality at FCR, the most respected outsourcer.

If you know nothing else about Jeremy, his two most important goals in life are to stay in love with Alicia, his wife of nearly 15 years, and to make sure his three boys always know just how unique and special they are.

Jeremy frequently writes about his journey toward being better at customer service and life at CommunicateBetterBlog.com. Having completed seven full marathons and more than a dozen half marathons, Jeremy gains much of his insight about serving others while running.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @jtwatkin and get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet 

“I understand the time it takes to help someone know that they are unique.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet

“If I spend the time to think about things…I communicate much better.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet 

“Through networking, I really have the opportunity to do what I do better.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet 

“I have an impact on people who are serving (our customers).” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet 

“The way I treat them has a direct impact on how they treat…our customers.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet 

“Before I knew what Emotional Intelligence was, I could fire back angry emails.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet 

“Serving others, it’s not glamorous, it’s hard work.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet 

“Serving others is a noble career.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet 

“Serving others…you can really make a difference in the lives of others.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet 

“I’m in this line of work and I can make a difference.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet 

“I can make a difference in the lives of people here.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet 

“Make their day better than it was when they started the interaction.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet

“I call empathy a superpower.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet 

“The real benefit of social media is…sharing thought leadership.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet 

“The real benefit of social media is…learning from thought leaders.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet 

“The real benefit of social media is…meeting new people.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet 

“The ability to recognize the emotions of others helps me be an expert at relationships.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet 

“When you can build a bridge with someone…you can work together to solve a problem.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet 

“Don’t treat people like numbers, treat them like people.” -Jeremy Watkin Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Jeremy Watkin threw his phone when a customer yelled at him. He argued with customers and would shoot out angry emails. Jeremy’s antics were entertaining to folks in the contact center. But Jeremy finally realized something that changed his outlook and life. Listen to Jeremy tell his story of how he got over the hump and became an industry influencer.

Advice for others

Serving others is a career and it’s a noble career and one where you can really make a difference in the lives of others.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Beginning with the end in mind.

Best Leadership Advice Received

The best way you can serve your team is to think about the big picture, stop taking phone calls, think about ways to empower them.

Secret to Success

Empathy. It helps me be an expert at making connections with other people.

Best tools that helps in business or Life

I like to smile. And I like to build bridges with other people.

Recommended Reading

Ready Player One: A Novel

Contacting Jeremy

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jtwatkin

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jtwatkin

Resources

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

Show Transcript: 

Click to access edited transcript

057: Jeremy Watkin: I made sure they knew they were wrong

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligent practitioner, Jim Rembach.

Max on contact center agent performance is impossible unless your customers involved in grading and coaching agents. So make it simple for you and customers with the award winning External Quality Monitoring program from Customer Relationship Metrics. Get over the hump now by going to www.customergradethecall.com/fast and getting your $7,500 rapid results package for free. 

 

Jim Rembach:   Okay Fast Leader Legion, I’m excited today cause be both get to meet somebody new. I reached out to this person after reading an article or two and we’ll talk about that in a second, and I just felt a connection, things resonated with me and I reached out and invite him to the show and he agreed. Jeremy Watkin was born in Grangeville, Idaho he moved around a few times before settling down in the city of Rancho Cucamonga, California where he spent the bulk of his childhood. Jeremy has always excelled as a musician playing trumpet in marching and jazz bands through high school. He’s active in leading music at his church as a singer and a guitar player and has picked up piano, banjo, Ukulele in more recent years. On finishing college, Jeremy went to work as a customer service representative for web host and domain registration company TierraNet and work his way into a management position before joining Phone.com full-time as a Director of Customer Service in 2012. 

 

Having come from three generations of pastors Jeremy often refers to the ministry as the family business and while he didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps he credits the wealth of experience learning to work with a variety of different people as a key reason he has excelled in customer service. In 2015, Jeremy left sunny San Diego and moved with his wife and three young boys to Eugene, Oregon to work as Head of Quality for FCR. If you know anything about Jeremy his two most important goals in life are to stay in love with Alisha’s, his wife of 15 years, and to make sure his three boys always know just how unique and special they are. Jeremy frequently writes about his journey toward being better at customer service and life at communicatebetterblog.com. Having completed 74 marathons and more than a dozen half marathons Jerry Watgains much of his insight about serving others while running. Jeremy Watkin are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Jeremy Watkin:    Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me on the show Jim. I’m super excited to talk with you today. 

 

Jim Rembach:    And thanks for being here. I’ve given our listeners a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better?

 

Jeremy Watkin:    Thanks Jim. My current passion absolutely would be watching my kids grow up. One thing you may not know about me is that–I mentioned that I wanted my kids to know that there unique and special and to stand there with my wife. That five o’clock to 7:00 o’clock PM slot every evening is something that I protect at all costs. I want to be home to wrestle with my boys, who are ages 1 to 7, and I want to be home to wrestle with them whatever they want you to, hang out with them, read stories, tuck them at night, scratch their backs all that good stuff. I want to be present in their lives. I had a father that was present in my life and at it’s absolutely made a difference for me, it help me be more of a confident person or self-assured in who I am. So, I want to pass that on to my kids, so that’s number one beyond anything else. And when you think about it that helps me be better at other relationships as well. Because I understand the time it takes to help someone, know that they are unique and special and important, that they have unique strengths that they bring to the table, so that’s what gets me really excited and it gets me excited to work with other people.

 

Jim Rembach:    Thanks for sharing that. And I think you bring up a really important point that we try to bring to the surface here on the Fast Leader show and that is, in order for us to excel and move onward and upward faster, we have to make those human connections because when we do that we end up, like you are saying, taking the energies from that and what’s been built and using it in another areas. And also we can get to collaborate with those that we are connecting with and we get more accomplished. So, in fact the moving faster and onward and upward faster is doing those things that are most important to build our foundation or ramp to take off, building them you have to make that investment.

 

Jeremy Watkin:    And it doesn’t always come without sacrifice either. There are certain things that whether it’s working late to finish a project faster or there’s some tweet chats in the evening that I love to be a part to build my social media presence. Some of that has to fall by the wayside so that I can be a good father. 

 

Jim Rembach:    I think you’re exactly right, we have a lot of choices to make and you bring to me just a flood of things just had happen in the past week or two in regards to having conversations about kids, wife, other relationships and it’s like, Gosh—this needs to happen without fail. And just like you said protecting that time period, kind of gets your mind right and allows you to make those connections that really feel you’re in other places. 

 

Jeremy Watkin:    Definitely. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Now, I’ve also seeing too that you seem to be a pretty big networker within customer service in the contact center space. Even when you start looking at your blog and several contributing authors and things like that, and I think you even better recognize recently is one of those folks who an influencer and has a huge impact on the industry. What causes you to want to do that?

 

Jeremy Watkin:     I’ll start by saying that I am not a good networker. I’m definitely an introvert that if you put me in the middle of a room of people I will shrink up and not know who to talk to or what to talk about. One thing that I’ve discovered about myself, and I’m more comfortable about it is that , if I spend time to really think about things, and writing allows me to do this, I communicate so much better. If you put in a setting where I’m speaking, need to talk from the—speak from the cuff off-the-cuff I tend to struggle a little bit but if you give me a problem, give me a topic, let me go take a run and think about it, wrestle with it take it out on the road a little bit come back and write out my thoughts I’m a whole lot better. So, social media lets me really do that and really edit what I’m thinking and really make sure that I am communicating the message that represents me and represents what I’m really passionate about. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Thanks for sharing that because there’s some huge insight in that. One thing that I was reading recently, it was the thought or I was actually being coached and thought and told by so many that are trying to build their networks within social media to crank out as much as you possibly can. And so now people are coming back and say, wooh- wooh- wooh that’s not what you’re supposed to be doing. What you’re supposed to be doing is really exactly what you said. You need to be able to put together something that is a meaningful, rich piece of content that people can connect with so that they want to see and have access to the next thing. And that in itself is what overtime again go to the Fast Leader concept, is what helps you build larger social networks, it’s not churning and burning.

 

Jeremy Watkin:    I don’t think I’m saying much that’s new but as I reflect on things other people are saying and tie it to my personal experiences, I realize that there’s a lot of value there. And there’s space for more people to be doing that. I don’t have the market cornered on thought leadership for customer service but I have learned that through networking, through meeting other influencers I really have the opportunity to think about what I’m doing and do it better. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Well you’re doing that, we appreciate that. I know when you start talking about the family business as well as being a musician, being a writer you’re often not only creating but also searching for places for inspiration. One of the ways we do that on the show is through leadership quotes because they can do that in so many different ways. Is there a quote or two that you can share with us that gives inspiration?

 

Jeremy Watkin:     One of my favorite quotes and I know you had Shep Hyken on your show, so he may have already shared this one, from Jan Carlson, the quote is: “If you’re not serving a customer you’re serving someone who is.” That one made a huge impact on my life. I was a front-line customer service representatives so for a long time there I was serving customers and then moving into management I kind of feel like I’m removed from serving. But that’s not the case—it’s almost see the more amplified that I realized that I have an impact on people who are serving and the way I treat them really has a direct impact on how they treat other people—the most important people are customer.

 

Jim Rembach:     That’s so true. I have the opportunity to looking and analyzing across a multiple disciplines of businesses. Starting about marketing operations, sales, I get the opportunity to review across many of those. Even though primarily I’m working in customer care, customer experience and which for me has given me my passions into the whole employee engagement piece. But the whole concept that you’re talking about as far as human centricity is gaining momentum in a lot of different ways and bringing emotion and personal connection and all that to business. Even though we say it intuitively the fact is that the research continually supports, engaged employees create engaged customers. And so that amplification piece that you’re talking about—you’re impact is now 10 X as far as what it used to be.

 

Jeremy Watkin:    And it’s really fun to see me impact what that quote has on people that work in other departments within the company. I’ve worked for a couple of startups and you’re often working really closer with the people building the product. They’re just on the other side of the office and helping them understand things like testing, things like just answering questions about a bug that may have been introduced to the system. The way they respond to that and the way they work to improve that customer experience made a huge lot of difference especially on that employee engagement piece that you’re talking about. 

 

Jim Rembach:    That’s for sure. When employees can see that something is changing and as a result of me relating what the customer says or what I keep hearing, that’s a whole ownership piece that—Hey, now I can see I make a differences this is so critical. So I know that when you start talking about having multi-generations of ministry as father, grandfather, great-grandfather there’s also a high expectation there. You talk about you moving your family and starting a new job, all those things and everything in between, there’s humps that I’m sure you got over that we can learn from? Can you think of the time where you have to get over one? And something we could all learn from? Can you share that story?

 

Jeremy Watkin:    I love it that we talked about humps. I love to give a shout out to my friends in the contact center industry and say that, “Well, my hump is actually on Wednesdays, their hump is often because they’re 24/7 there humps are different days of the week but I love an opportunity to help other people get over their hump. My hump that I thought was most relevant was in thinking about my career as a customer service representative.  A few things about me, I’m a pretty emotional person and it took me a while to realize that. I’m one of those people that before I knew what emotional intelligence was I could fire back angry e-mails, I once threw my phone when a customer yelled at me. I’ve argued with customers about needing to be right and when they were clearly wrong I made sure they knew that they were clearly wrong and it was often an entertaining for the folks in our contact center. 

 

I kind of realized along the way, even when I moved in to management that never totally went away, like the added responsibility. I thought maybe moving up the front lines of customer service that would go away but it never really did. More recently is I’ve reflected on that, written about it, I realized that I never really accepted that the customer service was my career, that was a noble career. When I think about—coming from a family business of ministry you start to look at serving others in a really glamorous light, look at Mother Theresa and the amazing work she did well it’s not, when you’re down there, and I’ve been to a couple of Third World countries and enabled to work with people there, and it’s hard work. It may look glamorous and these people get recognized for rightfully for the work that they do, but when you’re down in the nitty-gritty serving others, it’s not glamorous, it’s hard work. And I began to realize that wherever I was serving others was a career and it’s a noble career, and it’s one way that can really make a difference in the lives of others. So that’s the humps that I had to get over and it took me a long time, a lot of angry phone calls, a lot of the frustration to realized that I’m in this line of work and I can make a difference just like someone who’s out serving others in the Third World country I can make a difference in the lives of people here right now, that’s my hump.

 

Jim Rembach:     Thanks for sharing that. And as you we’re telling that story it brought me to something that I heard somebody saying in regards to them losing their job. Let’s know that—when you start talking about customer service whether it’s retail or whether it’s contact center those jobs are more plentiful and can be had when you start talking about I’m unemployed were to go to seek employment. And so, a lot of people do see customer service as the transient position, “Hey, I’m doing this while I’m looking for something else or while I get back on my feet, whatever the case maybe. And so this person was talking about how they were affected, who was working at a place for 20+ years, got a job in customer service and was just miserable. And a lot of it came down to because of what you are sharing in that, they didn’t realize that they could make a difference with where they are and that this is noble, and it is about serving others. For them they realize that they were somebody that always did want to serve others they didn’t see the connection that it really was serving and so now they found a better place of peace, relevancy, congruency all those things are in better alignment and so now they started to thrive in customer service.

 

Jeremy Watkin:     Yeah, absolutely. I recently polled some of my colleagues here at FCR about what gives them meeting in customer service and absolutely the number one thing was to be able to connect with people and help solve their problem, so it make your day better than it was when they started the interaction.  Some of these are on management as well but putting our customer service professionals in the position where they can solve problems that really makes a difference. I’ve worked around some people that are way better at serving than me and really just loves solving problems for people, making that connection they use empathy, I call empathy a superpower because they have the ability to recognize someone’s emotional state, connect with them and solve their solve which is not just fixing whatever issues going on with their service but it’s also restoring their faith and trust in the company and a lot of that is done with that human connection.

 

Jim Rembach:     When you shared that you also made me think of something that I often talk about, a massive disconnect. When you think about why do people come and want do the customer service job? It is what you said, most of them want to come in order to help others. However, when we start looking at how we manage them, what do we do? We inundate them with statistics and we have KPI’s coming out the, you know what. There’s no emotion, there’s no connection to serving. When you’re focusing in on KPI’s and driving numbers and average channel time and talk after call service work, and in-service percentages, it is like, “Aagh” you just rip my heart out of my chest. And so that’s one of the things that I think we do create as a massive disconnect in contact centers when you start talking about developing and nurturing that whole serving others component, we got to do better job with that. 

 

Jeremy Watkin:     Yeah, absolutely. Maybe to a fall I will always advocate for the heart side of it more than the KPI’s. I think there’s a balance there for sure and I’m constantly learning that balance. I’m privilege to work with a group of people here that are willing to deal with that tension and want to build leaders empower people here to solve problems. But, yeah, the KPI’s are still there as well. 

 

Jim Rembach:    And you do need them a little and I think you just hit on some key points as far as the balancing and also what you’re messaging, if you’re beating on how calls have you taken there’s going to be a problem. I know you have so many things going on—dad, husband, running, music, work it goes and on, when you start thinking about all those things and if you’re to say I have a goal, what would your goal be? 

 

Jeremy Watkin:     Man you’ve seen it at my bio already, but my real goal to stay alone with my wife and to help my kids know that they’re always loved and that whatever choices they make I love them and I’m there for them, but then that stems and other relationships as well that I want to carry those values and other relationships. Whether I’m managing people, whether it’s my extended family, I’m a person that likes that does everything you can not to burn a bridge with someone, and I think that’s a quality even though it’s hard sometimes.  

 

Jim Rembach:    Definitely but the Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on list a quick word from our sponsor:

 

How do you get higher contact center performance? It’s when customers grade the call and their ratings and comments are used to motivate and coach agents. Uncover hidden secrets and replicate your best agents with the real time insights from the award winning External Quality Monitoring program from Customer Relationship Metrics. Move onward and upward by going to customergradethecall.com/fast and getting a $7500 rapid results package for free.

 

Okay, here we go Fast Leader Legion, it’s time for the—Hump Day Hoedown.  Okay, Jeremy the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So, I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Jeremy Watkin are you ready to hoedown? 

 

Jeremy Watkin:    Yes, I am. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

 

Jeremy Watkin:     I’m going to give a shout out to my good friend, Mr. Stephen Covey and say beginning with the end in mind is my biggest obstacle to being a better leader. I’ll use social media as an example and say that it’s really easy to get our focus on looking for followers, trying to get re-tweets and all that stuff but the real benefit of social media is sharing the leadership, learning from thought leaders, meeting new people such as yourself.

 

Jim Rembach:     What is the best leadership advice you have ever received? 

 

Jeremy Watkin:     The best advice I ever received was early on when I was making that transition from front-line customer service to a management leadership role. I was felt like to be there for my team I had to take frontline phone calls and it got busy I had to roll up my sleeves and help them out, I thought that was the best way I could serve my team. One of my bosses sat me down and said the best way you can serve your team is to think about the big picture, stop taking phone calls, think about ways to empower them, improve our service and that advice has stuck with me and I’m indebted to those people for sitting down.

 

Jim Rembach:     What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Jeremy Watkin:     I used to think of this as a weakness, Jim but empathy. I’ve done the strengths finder test and empathy is in my top five. I thought that made me a weak person but the ability to recognize the emotions of others in the room helps me be an expert at relationships and making connections with other people.

 

Jim Rembach:     What you feel is one of your best tools that help to lead in business or life?

 

Jeremy Watkin:     I like to smile and I like to build bridges with other people and I think that’s really important. When you can build a bridge with someone and connect with them you can work together to solve a problem and that’s an invaluable skill in business in customer service.

 

Jim Rembach:     What would be one book from any genre that you recommend to our listeners?

 

Jeremy Watkin:     The last book that I read was the book, Ready Player One, which I think a movie is coming out soon about that. It’s a genre I don’t read very often, about video games and kind of about the future but there’s actually a snippet of customer service in there in the future were these people are working as indentured servants in call centers just to sell bra or to pay off their debts, It just motivated me to make sure customer service doesn’t go in that direction, that we don’t treat people like numbers but we treat them like people.

 

Jim Rembach:     Okay, Fast Leader listeners, you can find links to that and other bonus information from today show by going to fastleader.net/Jeremy Watkin. Okay, Jeremy this my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age 25 and you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you now have back with you but you can’t take everything you can only take one, so what one piece of skill or knowledge would you take back with you? And why? 

 

Jeremy Watkin:     Emotional intelligence. I would take that back with me, I learned about that when I was 30. I would take that back and I’d immediately apply it to my relationship with my wife. I realize that in the evenings I got super critical of her and the things that she was doing. And I realize that sometimes I just needed to go to bed and get some rest and realize that stuff didn’t matter

Jim Rembach:     Jeremy it was an honor to spend time with you today. Can you please share with the Fast Leader Legion how they can connect with you?

 

Jeremy Watkin:     Thank you, Jim. The best way to connect with me is on Twitter@jtwatkin. You can connect with me on LinkedIn does look me up Jeremy Watkin and read my blog, communicatebetterblog.com 

 

Jim Rembach:     Jeremy Watkin thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. 

 

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader Show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the www.fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster. 

 

END OF AUDIO

 

2019-11-27T22:35:48-05:00February 24th, 2016|Podcasts|3 Comments

3 Comments

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