Welcome to our Humans of Zinier series! Please meet the people building the new era of field service automation.
Who: Julie Crouse, Customer Technical Support Manager at Zinier
Quick Intro: Percussionist, Scoutmaster, mom to 5, customer-obsessed technical support leader
Location: Iowa, United States (according to Julie, “The Heartland of America” and the best place to live ever!)
What is your role at Zinier?
I am a translating, negotiating, puzzle-solving piece that helps keep the world running with humor and levity, while digging deep and using that Midwestern farmer’s daughter’s grit and compassion.
Tell us - what is your average day like?
Every day is an adventure. Despite regular planning, twists in the road are always encountered. There really is no average day, other than family, pets, volunteering, work, kids’ work, family activities, kid activities, and taking time to appreciate the little simple things. Sounds basic, but it is what keeps me grounded while laughing hysterically at myself. Truly, one can not make up the crazy things that happen when you have 5 kids, a daughter-in-law, 4 cats, 3 tanks of fish, 2 reptiles, and a big goofy dog. Perpetual humor keeps my life running!
What skills as a mom of 5 translate over to leading a global customer technical support team?
The skills required to encourage, support, and drive the decisions of our family, as well as those we lead in volunteer and career positions are delicately built over time and have provided a solid foundation on which to build relationships with customers, partners, and coworkers. Thankfully, my children have provided unending opportunities for my husband and I to continually practice these skills including...
- Negotiating terms of engagement all the while maintaining a focus on the end goal
- Sparking intriguing conversations to incite interest
- Asking sincere and probing questions to get to the heart
- Translating situations so that even my grandmother with an 8th grade education understands
- Balancing the need to dig in right now with the wisdom of patience
- Learning to let some things happen instead of fixing them the way I would fix them - right now
These are practiced arts that I have been thankful to have had the opportunities to learn (have I mentioned that my children have assisted with this case study often?) and therefore lean upon in my work, volunteer, and home lives. Most importantly, however, is the drive to keep getting up and to find the silver-linings in every single situation. Living life in this way keeps me focused on what’s important, not just the end game or destination, but the manner in which I take the journey.
What can technical support teams learn from working through the pandemic?
Tech support teams are the front line first responders and should draw from the basics. I have been reminded to slow down, take a breath, look all around, and assess the influences and impacts of my decisions as well as those of others.
People want to be recognized as individuals and working in tech support, we have the unique opportunity to provide not only that attention, but the chance to positively impact our customers when they are encountering struggles and reach out to us for help. How we choose to respond and hear our customers drives the outcome and retention of those customers in the future.
Tech support teams should be fearless, compassionate, patient, and enduring advocates for both the company and the customer.
What’s a fun fact about you, Julie?
If humor keeps me grounded, the diversity of my experiences repeatedly produces ongoing hilarity. I have been a Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts of America for 13 years and have mentored 25 youth to earn their Eagle Rank. Spending time outdoors, whether camping, kayaking, climbing, hiking, gardening, keeps me connected. I beat things which keeps people together, as I have been a percussionist since I was 10. Performing and teaching music is a balm to my soul. Everything from rock and jazz to classical and contemporary, from handbells to Irish drums, it all resonates. My dad was a storyteller and he emparted that skill after many nights seated around a bonfire or in the yard looking up at the stars.
Julie's Quick 3:
Top 3 most used mobile apps:
- Recipe Keeper - I LOVE cooking, feeding people, breaking bread together. It allows me to capture, sort, access a large variety of recipes and then turn around and share them across all my devices as well as with others.
- Stash2Go - I also love to knit and crochet. I do not enjoy just sitting. You will generally see me with something in my hands.
- Trello - I mentor an FRC robotics team and this is one of my favorite tools. This is a great app to work across different ages of users as well as levels of technical expertise. This allows us to track and assign and not lose visibility of tasks as well as group buy in and contributions.
3 things that you wish were automated:
- House work - My house cleaning fairies are often missing in action. My dream would be to automate more of my house work. The Roomba helps, but I really need drones to dust up high (I am pretty short). I would love my laundry folding to be automated as well.
- Putting “stuff” away in the garage - I am a type A personality who really believes in the mantra, “a place for everything and everything in its place.” My family, however, believes strongly in anything opposite of that approach.
- Garden planning - While this is not true automation, I wish I had a planning app that allowed me to plan both my vegetable and flower gardens that had access to new technologies, processes, tools, and studies - including record keeping of my seeds, bulbs, cuttings, etc. In addition, a calendar for better tracking and incorporated planting zones and geographic regions. As technologically advanced as we are, I still follow my dad’s process of paper and pen (ok, I have upgraded to Excel, but I start with my trusty notebook and pen) to keep notes and track yields, expected germination, harvest, drying, and so on.
Thanks for sitting down with us and sharing your story, Julie!
Curious about Zinier's Core Values and open positions? Learn more here.