Unsung Hero 2016

Jude Knowles, operations manager at Business Micros, was named the industry’s Unsung Hero at the G16 Awards. She told Glass Times why she thinks she won the award and how her customers can finally now put a face to her name.

I didn’t find out that our MD Graeme Bailey had even nominated me for the Unsung Hero award until the shortlist was announced. It was a lovely surprise obviously but I never imagined for one moment that I would win, so I certainly hadn’t prepared for any photos or the interview on the night.

I like to think that the award is not just for me though but for the whole team at Business Micros’ Penpont office, and perhaps also for all the other ‘behind the scenes’ support people in our industry who are always available at the end of the phone but don’t often get recognised for what they do.

Essentially, my job is overseeing a team of 16 programming and technical support staff who between them handle around 1,200 software and IT related calls from customers every month. We return 95% of those calls within 24 hours and I have to make sure that we strike the right balance meeting the expectations of our business and meeting the expectations of our customers.

It’s very much a juggling act and I’ve become something of an expert at managing lots of different demands and prioritising the most urgent requests. Obviously, I try to keep everyone happy all of the time, but even when we can’t perhaps respond to a request quite as quickly as we might like, I always make sure that the customer knows and understands what’s going on.

As a result, I have great relationships with lots of customers, but it is all over the phone, so one of the great things about the G-Awards night was that I actually got to meet so many of them for the first time. Lots of people were coming up and congratulating me after I had won but I had no idea who any of them were until they introduced themselves – it was wonderful to finally be able to put faces to so many of their names and voices.

Business Micros had what was probably its best ever year in 2016 and, while this was great news for the business, it obviously put immense pressure on the support department as we coped with much higher volumes of calls than previously and ever more complex queries.

I’m well known for my motivational skills and for my positive attitude so I did my best to make sure that there was never any doubt within the team that we could rise to the challenge. I had to recruit new members, reorganise staff roles and settle everyone into their new positions, but the team really are so positive and so friendly that this wasn’t anything like as difficult as it sounds.

I have been at Business Micros for 18 years and it is a pleasure to work here. I’m just as enthusiastic about the company and about my role within it as I was when I first joined, and I think that’s perhaps why Graeme nominated me and what the judges of the award liked. The company really is more than just an employer. and I’m hugely grateful for all the opportunities, direction, support and encouragement I’ve received from both Graeme and our technical director Jim Cronie over the years.

What was great for me just about being shortlisted was that so many of the team from Penpont could come to the awards as well and share in what was a fabulous night. It really is a huge team effort here and the trophy now has pride of place in the office so that everyone in the whole team knows it’s for all of us and not just for me.