Brenda Jones of Three Ireland outlines her views on digital transformation and the importance of customer experience.
Brenda Jones is head of business care at Three Ireland, managing the team based in the National Technology Park in Limerick.
She previously held the role of SME retention and growth manager at Three Ireland for seven years. Prior to this, she was business revenue manager at O2 Ireland and held a team management role at Dell.
Jones holds an MBA from Henley Business School in the UK.
‘Customers now want to engage with their service provider through many different channels, not just calling on the phone, so it’s important that we treat every channel of contact with equal priority’
– BRENDA JONES
Describe your role and what you do.
As head of business care, I am responsible for the overall strategy – building and providing the best-in-class service for our business customers. We support business accounts of all sizes: enterprise, SME, SOHO (small office/home office) and ICT.
Our technical service desk and web chat also sits within the business care department, where we service an extensive product portfolio including managed connectivity, IoT solutions, 3Communicate, unified communications and 3Connect.
My role spans two departments: CRM, where driving operational excellence is front of mind; and our business department, where the focus is on acquisition, retention and improving the service proposition.
We also have a strategic business partner, Tech Mahindra, that works very closely with us. With all of this, time management and diplomacy are important.
How do you prioritise and organise your working life?
As head of business care, I will always try to prioritise the items that will bring the business forward and make a real difference to our customers and our staff. So many requests are presented to you daily that time management and learning to prioritise are key to staying on track with your goals.
What are the biggest challenges facing your business and how are you tackling them?
The biggest challenge I have is making sure our customers know all that we provide and the many ways that we can improve their business and take work away from them. I am always conscious that every interaction our customers have with us is taking up their time, so I want each one to add value or solve an issue as quickly as possible.
What are the key sector opportunities you’re capitalising on?
Customers now want to engage with their service provider through many different channels, not just calling on the phone, so it’s important that we make sure we treat every channel of contact with equal priority and continue to act on customer feedback.
Three is currently going through a huge digital transformation, which will enable us to bring our new propositions to the market faster with improved customer experience. It will allow for greater self-serve and digital options for our customers at times that suit their business most.
I want our service and support to be the reason customers stay with Three, and that they realise the value we can bring to their entire business. Employees are also looking for more than just a job – they want work that means something to them, they want to make a difference and they want to advance. Three offers this – we have so many opportunities for growth.
What set you on the road to where you are now?
I started my career in Dell as a sales rep. At that time, the market was going through huge change. Build-to-order and buying over the phone without seeing or feeling the product was a new concept. This was a time of huge growth for technology in Ireland, with the arrival of many multinationals. During my time with Dell, I received extensive product and sales training and got great insight into how multinationals manage their business units. This set me on the road to continuous learning.
What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
I may not have made that yet! However, something I have done more than once is assume that others will agree with your point of view. You have to be prepared for the fact that even if your opinion makes complete sense, there is always someone with an opposing one, and it’s always worth considering.
How do you get the best out of your team?
I include them and inform them of as much as is possible. If people feel that they have ownership of their work, they will believe in it more and deliver better results.
STEM sectors receive a lot of criticism for a lack of diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity and other demographics. Have you noticed a diversity problem in your sector? What are your thoughts on this and what’s needed to be more inclusive?
The telecommunications sector traditionally was very male-dominated but that has certainly changed in the past number of years, and now it’s a very diverse industry. I think central to it becoming even more diverse is visibility of people in senior positions from different demographics, so that the next generation can look at them and say: ‘If they can do that, so can I.’
Who is your role model and why?
I have many and they all share the same trait: tenacity.
When I started out in my career, Gillian Bowler, founder of Budget Travel, made a huge impression on me. (I have always had a passion for travel so this may have something to do with it.) She was very high-profile, but was always herself and had great drive and spirit. She was a real trailblazer and her career journey was remarkable. She founded Budget Travel in 1975, building it up to be the top holiday package company in Ireland. When she sold the business in the 1990s, she then became a member of the board of Irish Life, and then went on to be the founding chair of Fáilte Ireland.
More recently, I have been following the rise of Marissa Carter, creator of tanning product Cocoa Brown. Her story is one of determination and belief, and she is a case study for all budding entrepreneurs. She has skilfully used the age of digital marketing with great success.
What books have you read that you would recommend?
Anything by Daniel Goleman, he is a leader in emotional intelligence. Peter Northouse has written some great books on leadership and I always go back to FYI For Your Improvement by Michael M Lombardo and Robert W Eichinger – it is brilliant for coaching and developing people.
What are the essential tools and resources that get you through the working week?
I am never without my iPhone and use several apps to help me manage my time and note ideas when I have them.
My strong and supportive team are my best resource and the only way I can do my job.
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