Most of my career has been in start-ups, and the role I often admire most within them is customer support. A great customer support leader influences the entire company. She or he shares our story with our customers and creates bridges to success for them even when the product fails (which inevitably, every product will at some point). They also share our customers’ stories internally, helping the team gain valuable perspective as we move forward. As the voice and advocate of the user within the team, customer support informs the product perhaps more than anything else.
I met Melissa almost seven years ago at a restaurant tech start-up we were working at together. She had such a knack for the customer service role that she went on to not only run the division, but occasionally beat our sales teams’ numbers with her happy customers constantly investing more in us.
When the time came for Kin to develop a better customer service philosophy, she quickly proved she would be an excellent fit to spearhead the mission. I could go on and on about why we’re lucky to have Melissa, but I would rather her introduce herself in her own words.
Without further ado, here’s Melissa, hailing from Chittenango, New York.
What about customer service attracts you to the field?
First and foremost, I love people. I’m the kind of person who strikes up a conversation in line at the grocery store. I really enjoy making connections with people, finding common ground, and just being a good human. If I can do that in my career, I’m fulfilling a personal need to interact with people.
Obviously without customers, companies wouldn’t exist. I learned very early in my career from a mentor and friend that customers are always the #1 priority, and we should always strive to make their experience the most amazing one, even in difficult situations. I’ve carried that philosophy with me and find that I can work through any situation if I’m taking that approach.
I’m right-brain-leaning, so I enjoy that everyday is different and the creativity that goes into finding new solutions. Plus, the feeling of helping someone find what they’re looking for, or working through a problem together, is a good one.
Why did you choose Kin as your next move?
There are many reasons!
I chose Kin because I am doing what I love: helping customers. I also have the opportunity to shape the future of customer service in Kin, which is a mighty responsibility but a welcomed one.
Technically speaking, Kin is also really strong when it comes to SaaS in that the software is user friendly, intuitive, and does what we promise it will do. Plus, we have a great development team which is so important for the future of Kin.
Next, Kin’s mission of creating healthier, happier workplaces really resonated with me during our initial discussions. I can’t think of one person I know who hasn’t had a bad experience in a work environment. It’s exciting that we’re taking on a big challenge of improving the state of work around the world.
Last but certainly not least, the level of talent across the team makes it inspiring to come to work every day.
Tell me a bit about your past experience, in your own words.
My career has been mostly customer-service based, with some management and sales peppered in.
I started in retail (which I really enjoyed, I know I’m not in the norm), working for a business in my hometown of Binghamton, NY. I learned so much working with the owner, Tom. He was the friend and mentor mentioned above that taught me the fundamentals of customer service and business that I would carry through my career.
From there, I moved into the call center world, focusing on managing, training, and recruiting. I was then hired into a customer service role for a SaaS company focused on restaurant recruiting, where I quickly built a team and the customer service philosophy alongside none other than Kin’s CEO, Lisa Arnold!
I spent the better part of six years there, eventually moving into a sales relations/marketing role working with major franchise brands.
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Spending time with my fiance, Francesco, and our dog, Penny, is high on my list. Most days, you’ll find me in the kitchen creating something delicious and taking pictures of it or checking out the newest local restaurant. Exploring local attractions and historic places are always a fun pastime, too. I also enjoy singing, reading, yoga, and the occasional dance party. I am really good at having fun no matter what I’m doing!
On the weekends, I’m likely in my hometown hanging out with my family, especially with the world’s most adorable nephews, though I may be biased.