Interview with a career change mum -Jade LukeApril 13, 2017
Today I interview Jade Luke. Jade’s is founder and the Managing Director of Customer Care First, a company that is passionate about empowering customer care teams to deliver outstanding customer service at all times.
From a personal perspective, Jade always has her eyes peeled for the level of service delivered to her in her everyday life, and she brings these real-life examples to her training sessions, as well as energy, humour and professionalism.
The invaluable training and advice Jade can share with teams can improve the customer service they provide and leave their customers with a positive experience that has customers talking for the right reasons.
1. What gave you the idea to start up your business?
Before I left work to go on maternity leave in July 2015, I knew that once I had my little boy that I wouldn’t go back, so I left with the mind-set that I needed to come up with a brilliant business idea that would bring in a good income. I thought, what better than something I already do, something I am good at and something I am passionate about – Customer Service Training. From my research, there didn’t seem to be many other companies offering such a niche service, so I took that as my cue and got started when my son turned 4 months old.
2. What did you do to prepare to start up your business?
Sacrificed a lot of sleep! Everyone around me told me that I should be sleeping when my baby was sleeping, but I didn’t have time for that! I was on mission. First of all, I defined what my company would be about, the services we would offer and our values. This information helped me build a website and get a great logo designed. Once that was complete, I was ready to advertise and see what business would come my way. In the meantime, I also got together all of the tools I knew I would need once I had my first client – invoicing system, stationery, ready-made Training Programmes, so that I would be ready.
3. Which aspects of your business did you need help with? Where did you get that help?
I needed help with setting my prices and ensuring they were right for the market, and then having the confidence to charge those prices! On the one hand, I didn’t want to sell my services too cheaply. On the other hand, I didn’t want to lose any business and I was acutely aware that I was a start up, so how could I charge the same as my long-standing competitors? Luckily, I have family members who also have their own businesses. It was great to be able to draw on their wisdom and faith in what I was doing to build my confidence in what my expertise allowed me to charge.
4. Describe what your business does and who you target it at / your ideal client
My business designs both bespoke and ready-made Customer Service Training to businesses of all sectors across the UK. My clients are companies that are passionate about improving their Customer Service offering, starting with their front-line teams. In the past, we have worked with Councils, Private Medical Practices and Schools, but most of our business comes from the corporate sector, given that we promote 5* service standards. I like to deliver training in a way that is practical, engaging and dare I say, fun! There is no ‘being quiet’ in my sessions – I ask too many questions for that! We also run open Customer Service courses across London bringing together team members of all ages, backgrounds and experience.
My ideal client is a client that is committed to improving their Customer Service for both the short and long haul. A client who is open to feedback and suggestions on how to improve. A client who wants their team to be motivated to do a good job, rather than being forced to. A client who believes that Customer Service Training is important and necessary, rather than just ticking a box.
5. What is the most rewarding thing about having your own business?
My whole reason for starting the business – spending time with my son! I love being able to plan my work around his needs. It’s also nice looking at everything I have achieved, not previously having any business experience (or acumen!) and seeing my hard work pay off. I am really happy that I can be an example to my son that anything you want to do, if you work hard at it and keep going, you can achieve it.
6. What has been the biggest challenge?
Staying motivated and positive during the quiet times! You always wonder, did I make the right decision? Is this really going to work? I’ve found one of the ways of overcoming those scary periods is to distract myself by keeping busy – there is never a spare day where I don’t sit down and consider old and new ways to attract new clients and keep the current ones. I have a mantra – if this business were to fail, it won’t be for lack of me trying! Taking that sort of control over your business rather than just ‘waiting and seeing’ will get busy again definitely keeps you motivated!
7. If you could go back and give yourself some advise what would it be?
Go with your gut above anything else. Also, be smart with your good ideas – trust that they will work but still order samples before committing to 1000s of product!
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