Having Fun at Work and Driving Results
A Profile on Tim Birchfield, Operations Manager, VIPdesk Connect
Having fun at work is extremely important in the customer service world! The VIPdesk Connect team has been known to have lots of fun at work, actually!
We incorporate fun into the workplace in several ways here at VIPdesk Connect. We are about to dive into the wonderful wild world of Tim Birchfield, our resident fun-maker and Operations Manager on our fully remote team. Tim works with the great team of Home Advisor, providing their customer service solutions across the nation.
Having fun at work is something Tim does very well. We sat down with Tim and asked him all the ways he has fun in the workplace and still drives excellent results.
What is your role at VIPdesk Connect and how long have you been with us?
I am one of our Operations Managers, I support our HomeAdvisor team. I started with VIPdesk Connect in May of 2017. So, about 2 years.
What did you do before working with us?
While in college I started working for a tech company that lasted eight great years providing tech support to fourteen facilities in North and South America. That somehow led me to spend the next twelve years working for a global BPO.
Starting as a Sales Representative supporting a small phone company, I later found myself being promoted to every job you can have in a call center including site director. I was recognized as Volunteer of the Year and nominated for Supervisor of the Year by WorldContactCenter.com.
I can honestly say that the best companies that I have worked for over the last 25 years have all be founded by women.
My last two years with VIPdesk Connect have been absolutely great.
(Tim is featured in the top left of this photo from our company 2017 Annual Awards.)
What ways do you bring fun into the workplace?
I am an odd character at times.
I like to catch people with off-guard humor. An example would be me saying “good morning” at 4:00 pm or “Merry New Year” in August. I also like to offer incentives and creative ways for my teams to achieve their goals.
Our Brand Ambassadors have the hardest job on the planet, and I would certainly not be working here if it were not for them.
What kind of advice do you give your team when they are struggling?
The hardest thing for anyone to do is to admit they are struggling.
It helps to have the relationship already built. We encourage our team to communicate with their Service Leaders and Operations team daily.
In a virtual environment, communication is all we have and it’s a critical lifeline. The initial conversation is going to be tough. It has to be a two-way conversation for this to work and for them to tell you what the problem is.
Not every issue is going to as simple as “I am late for work each day because I can’t get up on time.” Once the problem is identified I encourage the 5 why’s to find out what behavior needs to change.
The initial root cause of what is causing them to struggle may not be the end root cause. We then ask what we as a leadership team can do to help them get better. From this point on, things have to be very specific and not too general. Then we get a firm commitment of what actions they will take to improve. If we do not get a verbal commitment on what specifically they will do the behavior will never improve. Then the final step is to send a follow-up email outlining the 1 on 1 with the commitments and follow updates. That email takes it from a virtual meeting to something that is real because it is in writing. We review performance the following week.
What do you feel truly drives results as a manager?
When you know your business and you know your people. It’s a three-legged stool method. If your Brand Ambassadors are happy your customers will be happy because happy employees don’t leave and the knowledge stays.
If your customers are happy then the client is happy because we are driving profitable results with a high satisfaction rating from the customers. If the client is happy, they will continue to renew our contracts and offer us more business to grow.
What goals do you set for yourself daily, and what goals do you set for your team daily?
I try to say hello to as many people as I can each day and help as many people as I can each day. I offer the gift of reporting and analysis each day and week so that we can direct our focus in the right areas.
Each week my team should complete 100% of their quality audits, 1 on 1’s, and attend all client meetings each week. We also rotate who will lead our weekly leadership meeting.
How would you describe your work ethic?
Work hard play hard. This job is tough. When the work is done its time to have fun.
What is one thing you have learned about the customer service world that helps your team?
Don’t panic and don’t cause panic. Each passing day offers the next escalation or disaster. You can only control what you can control. Follow your processes and keep the client updated.
What is one way you make Operations fun?
I stay vulnerable and be myself. My team knows that I like to joke around and that I like to keep things entertaining.
We all enjoy calling “squirrel” moments when I start talking about 5 things at once or come up with crazy incentives ideas to break my budget.
We all have fun even on bad days.
What are three fun facts about you that you would like to share?
My wife and I like to play pranks on each other.
This one time she was sleeping, and we were on the interstate. There was a tow truck towing a tractor trailer in front of me. So, I got our car really close and yelled “oh no help” and she woke up and did this Matrix type move trying to float through the seat to the trunk somehow. I am still grounded for that one.
I love eating at random food trucks as long as they are not in shady neighborhoods. We like to travel to food truck conventions and competitions because of the variety.
Every possible chance I have, I like to go to the beach. The best idea ever was to take a beach trip for the holidays each year. Huge stress reliever.
Statistically speaking the National Fun at Work Day does exist! Fun at Work Day is a holiday that is celebrated on January 28th each and every year. That doesn’t mean you have to wait until this day to have fun! Don’t wait for the day, have fun at work and drive results!
There you have it, folks, having fun at work DOES exist! Many thanks to Tim for helping us prove the fact that work should be fun and you can get the results that matter doing so!