If you’re wondering how a customer experience job can evolve, check out this interview with Rhianna Albert, who grew her career from a system admin to director of consulting. Here’s how Rhianna successfully made the jump and how she grew her visibility in the industry.
What do you like most about your current role and responsibilities?
In my current role, I work for eVerge Group, an Oracle Platinum Partner. I am the Director of the Service Practice, which includes pre-sales and delivery activities for Oracle Service B2C (fka Service Cloud), Field Service, Knowledge Advanced, and Oracle Service B2B (fka Engagement Cloud).
In pre-sales, I work closely with the Oracle sales team, solution engineers, and RFP team to scope technical requirements, determine gaps, and estimate the overall effort.
On the delivery side, I typically stay involved if a prospect is converted into a customer. They have gotten to know me through the sales cycle, so I’ll often stay on as a principal architect. It’s particularly important when customers are larger, converting from on premise to the cloud or have integrations and data migrations, because those require a lot more care. So I do a lot of on-site traveling both pre- and post-sale.
I really enjoy getting to know the VPs and directors of customer service, but also understanding their business needs, sitting with the agents, and feeling their struggles. I was an agent a long time ago, so it’s rewarding to help them fix their problems and become more efficient.
How did your career in technology start?
It was sort of a happy accident. When I was in high school, I went into a summer internship program at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island. Through the whole internship, I was learning HTML. This was in 1994, when things were very new. Part of my project was to learn how to administer webpages and write a database. The next year, I graduated high school, and they invited me to come back. I continued to collaborate with them throughout college as well.
What was the next step? How did you use that opportunity to grow your career?
After I graduated from college, I went to work for a dot com company in their contact center.
I received 6 or 7 promotions within an 8-month period, because the dot com startup was growing so fast, and my job transformed into a system admin. It was just a homegrown ticketing system, but meanwhile I was really learning about contact centers. I stayed there for a couple of years and kept moving slowly up the ladder in different contact centers. In 2006, I was hired by Nikon, who used RightNow, which eventually was acquired by Oracle, and became Oracle Service B2C. They hired me because of my background with PHP and web design. They knew that the service cloud was going to have a customer portal, and they needed somebody who was more than just a business analyst to be the administrator.
How did you know that you wanted to get into consulting?
Once I started working for Nikon, and even before, I always felt like an internal consultant. I was getting asked a lot of questions because of my experience in the contact centers.
I joined the RightNow Community, started attending user groups, and even helped to run a local user group in New York City. Then I spoke on Service Cloud and SAP integration at the Broadmoor in Colorado for one of the RightNow Summits. Through that, I gained the attention of partners, and they started saying, “Are you interested in becoming a partner?” I ran and grew a few implementations. So, at that point, I started becoming interested in a consulting career path, and I eventually pursued that.
What preparations did you do before pursuing a job as a consultant (certifications, etc.)?
I made sure to strengthen my network and ensure my skills were current. More specifically, I finished the RightNow/Service Cloud certification and kept up on the latest releases of the product. Then I made sure I knew the product managers when I was still a customer, so by the time I was a partner, we already had a relationship.
What role has being certified on various Oracle solutions played in your career?
Being certified has been a tremendous asset. I have expanded from being just an Oracle Service Cloud admin to having pre-sales certifications and knowing pretty much all the cloud apps, because eVerge is a multi-pillar partner.
What is your best advice for a system administrator dreaming of becoming a consultant at Oracle or a partner company? (e.g. knowledge, skillsets, certifications?)
I would definitely say: get certified, stay knowledgeable, and understand what gaps are in the product and what’s coming. Also – get out there, get known.
For those who are looking for ways to get involved, Modern CX 2020 is around the corner, and there are lots of opportunities to share success, expertise, and network at the conference. One of the ways I’ve gotten involved is by joining the Oracle CX Hero Hub.
Interested in attending ModernCX 2020? Get your ModernCX pass for $995 with code “SmarterCX”.