The secret to customer support excellence? Self-awareness

I have two high school kids. They’re smart, talented, and have promising futures — but like most teenagers, they still have a ton of learning ahead of them as they enter college and adulthood. Unless you ask them.

I have two high school kids. They’re smart, talented, and have promising futures — but like most teenagers, they still have a ton of learning ahead of them as they enter college and adulthood. Unless you ask them.

Like most teenagers, they believe they are 100 percent prepared for anything and everything life throws their way. Self-confidence doesn’t seem to be a problem for my kids. Self-awareness, on the other hand? Perhaps they have some room to grow.

Start with high self-awareness

My career at CA has reinforced my belief that you have to start with clear goals and high self-awareness — these are the necessary guidance system along with a smart, hardworking, and confident team — if you want to consistently deliver results. It’s important to know what you want to accomplish, how you are currently performing, and what you need to improve if you want to get there. Propulsion alone without guidance will never take you to your planned destination.

Third party evaluations for global customer success

Across our support organization, we’ve embodied this exact philosophy, and the results are really paying off. For example, just two years ago, we decided to pursue certification from the Technology Services Industry Association.

In the spirit of self-awareness, we decided to start out by evaluating ourselves, just like athletes watch game footage to figure out where they need to practice harder and develop new skills. A year ago, we asked TSIA to perform a pre-audit, to help us discover our strengths, gaps, and just like an athletic coach would, where we were missing the ball entirely.

At that time, our traditional engineer-assisted support emerged as an area of strength, but we estimated that we needed another two years to finish closing obvious gaps in our core support and self-service support.

Then, we invited TSIA to come back and formally audit us. Over the past 90 days, TSIA auditors visited support centers in our Plano, Hyderabad, and UK offices. They interviewed team members, reviewed our processes, examined our records, and observed our performance results.

Implementing suggested improvements

So we buckled down and doubled down. We worked hard, we hit the accelerator to make significant improvements to our support practice based on TSIA’s recommendations, and we maintained the right balance of self-awareness (of how we were actually performing) and confidence that we could get to our end goal.

Global Excellence in Service Operations Certification

After evaluating us on approximately 200 best practices criteria across 30 different categories they confirmed that we have earned their Global Excellence in Service Operations certification for the next 12 months. This certification means that our customer support organization has met or exceeded their rigorous criteria for global excellence in three areas: core business functions, engineer-assisted support practices, and self service capabilities.

More importantly, this certification recognizes that CA support people, processes, and technologies help our customers get the most from their technology investments. We’re really proud of that, and excited to be able to provide this assurance to our customers.

In my last post, I called our support team a group of “customer-driven superheroes.” I stand by that even more today than when I first wrote it. I’d like to add, though, that it’s not always larger than life powers that allow superheroes to perform amazing feats.

Sometimes, it’s just plain old hard work, perseverance, and in our case, a healthy dose of self-awareness.

The secret to customer support excellence? Self-awareness.

I have two high school kids. They’re smart, talented, and have promising futures — but like most teenagers, they still have a ton of learning ahead of them as they enter college and adulthood. Unless you ask them.

Like most teenagers, they believe they are 100% prepared for anything and everything life throws their way. Self-confidence doesn’t seem to be a problem for my kids. Self-awareness, on the other hand? Perhaps they have some room to grow.

Start with high self-awareness

My career at CA has reinforced my belief that you have to start with clear goals and high self-awareness—these are the necessary guidance system along with a smart, hardworking, and confident team—if you want to consistently deliver results. It’s important to know what you want to accomplish, how you are currently performing, and what you need to improve if you want to get there. Propulsion alone without guidance will never take you to your planned destination.

Third party evaluations for global customer success

Across our support organization, we’ve embodied this exact philosophy, and the results are really paying off. For example, just two years ago, we decided to pursue certification from the Technology Services Industry Association.

In the spirit of self-awareness, we decided to start out by evaluating ourselves, just like athletes watch game footage to figure out where they need to practice harder and develop new skills. A year ago, we asked TSIA to perform a pre-audit, to help us discover our strengths, gaps, and just like an athletic coach would, where we were missing the ball entirely.

At that time, our traditional engineer-assisted support emerged as an area of strength, but we estimated that we needed another two years to finish closing obvious gaps in our core support and self-service support.

Then, we invited TSIA to come back and formally audit us. Over the past 90 days, TSIA auditors visited support centers in our Plano, Hyderabad, and UK offices. They interviewed team members, reviewed our processes, examined our records, and observed our performance results.

Implementing suggested improvements

So we buckled down and doubled down. We worked hard, we hit the accelerator to make significant improvements to our support practice based on TSIA’s recommendations, and we maintained the right balance of self-awareness (of how we were actually performing) and confidence that we could get to our end goal.

Global Excellence in Service Operations Certification

After evaluating us on approximately 200 best practices criteria across 30 different categories they confirmed that we have earned their Global Excellence in Service Operations certification for the next 12 months. This certification means that our customer support organization has met or exceeded their rigorous criteria for global excellence in three areas: core business functions, engineer-assisted support practices, and self service capabilities.

More importantly, this certification recognizes that CA support people, processes, and technologies help our customers get the most from their technology investments. We’re really proud of that, and excited to be able to provide this assurance to our customers.

In my last post, I called our support team a group of “customer-driven superheroes.” I stand by that even more today than when I first wrote it. I’d like to add, though, that it’s not always larger than life powers that allow superheroes to perform amazing feats.

Sometimes, it’s just plain old hard work, perseverance, and in our case, a healthy dose of self-awareness.


Dayton is general manager Global Customer Success at CA Technologies. His team is dedicated to…

Sarah is a contributor to the CA Technologies Highlight Blog. She has over a decade…

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