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Women of Qualified: Kimberly

Meet Kimberly Powell! Kimberly spends her days at Qualified leading our rockstar customer support team as our Director of Technical Support. With a passion for mentoring, she’s built a knowledgeable and empathetic team that customers rave about. Learn about Kimberly, how she balances remote work and home life, and why she’s proud of what she’s built here at Qualified ⬇️

As Qualified’s first remote employee, how has remote work benefited you?

Kimberly: I've actually almost always worked remotely, which is crazy. Back in the day, of course, I was single and then I was married, and the way it benefited me then is the same as it is now.

I think one of the things that always benefited me is I'm more of an introverted extrovert. So in order for me to do my best work, it helps to have an environment where I can perform well in–that's usually no distractions. I'm the type of person who can’t even sleep with sound going on in the next room. I need complete silence. I can't listen to music. I'm just one of those crazy people.

I think for people who have different learning styles and different working styles, it obviously benefits those types of people and people like me.

It helps me because it gives me so much time back as well. I feel bad for people who have to commute, because I can start working at 7:30, I go to wake up, Osian. I get him ready and start my day while he's just waking up and playing upstairs. It gives you so much more time to just kind of figure out your own schedule and what works best for you.

I work at 7:30, and then I can leave at 4:30, pick him up, and then we come back. The schedule just works better for me. It's not just the environment, but also having so much more flexibility has been really nice. I can spend a lot more time with him and my husband rather than in a car or bus.

How do you balance work/life balance at home?

Kimberly: I don't know. I still don't know the answer to that, honestly. My husband will say I'm really bad at that. I remember when I first took on the job at Qualified I got really good advice from one of my mentors. She was my boss at my last job. "You're going to have to really be strict about your boundaries," and that was really good advice. Go into it and set the expectations that you have. You're working at a startup, and you know that hours are crazy, but you have to set those boundaries and protect your own time. I went into it knowing that I have to set pretty strict boundaries on what I was willing to do in terms of my time. 

Because you are at home it's like people expect you to always be on. I'm still learning how to balance it, honestly. I think now I have a good balance between when I start and when I end. And when I end, I'm done. I close my laptop, and it's like I do this almost mental shutdown as well. I don't need to close my laptop at the end of the day, you can keep it open all the time, but I mentally have to close it and walk away. That's me setting that boundary for myself.

I also keep a thing by my desk–this came from Bing, actually, during the pandemic. Osian needed my time and work needed my time, and I was just starting this new job that's really demanding. And Bing told me one day, “Osian comes first. Everything else is second.” I keep that by my desk with a picture of him and I think that helps me with my boundaries when I look at it.

I realize I’m also not productive if I keep working a certain amount of time. At some point, you run out of productivity. So that helps to remind me where my boundaries are and at what point I’m just not being helpful here at work anymore. 

What was your journey to Qualified?

Kimberly: I started working for a company called Campaign Monitor which was an email marketing program back in the day based out of Australia. I was running their deliverability and compliance team, and about two years in they acquired a company called GetFeedback. 

At the time it was run by Kraig, Sean, Bing, and Gopal. It was just the four of them in a very small office in San Francisco. They really needed someone to head up the GetFeedback support team. I’d been running a support team of my own for a couple of years, so they sent me over to the GetFeedback offices, and that’s where I met Sean and Kraig and Bing and Gopal. I remember the first day I walked into a really small apartment in San Francisco and Sean, the first thing he said was, “Hi, what are we doing wrong? Tell me all the things we’re doing wrong.”

I was kind of shocked because I had such imposter syndrome at the time where I was just like, I’m going to San Francisco, I’ve never been to San Francisco before, not in a work capacity, not with a bunch of software people. I thought it was nice to have that confidence right out the gate. It just made me way more confident, like oh yeah, I can totally do this, I can totally start this from the ground up at this startup I don’t know anything about. 

I knew that I would work for them again when they left GetFeedback. One day, I was in San Francisco and Sean said, “I see you’re in town, I’m going to give you a ride to the airport and I’m going to tell you all about Qualified.”

By the time we were at the airport, I was said, “Sean, you don’t even need to do this, I’ll come work for you anytime.” There’s just a good relationship that we always had with people that I think there’s a lot of mutual respect there.

What is one of the stickiest issues you’ve helped solve?

Kimberly: I think I started Qualified and two days later I was like, “We need to get Guru.” We need to get an internal knowledge base going. I kind of knew going into a startup, I had done this before at GetFeedback, that one of our biggest challenges was going to be knowledge sharing. 

Getting things out of everyone's heads, and creating this one-stop shop where we could help our customers a lot quicker with knowledge that was verified, meaning, getting customers answers quickly is one thing. There are always KPIs around how quickly you can get back to your customers. That's what creates customer loyalty.

But more than that, I knew that customers don't really care about waiting. They care about getting answers that are correct the first time, that are thorough and that come from a place of empathy. My main goal coming into creating a support team at Qualified was to hire people who are knowledgeable and all those things, but to also create this central kind of place where we set the tone. 

We're giving this knowledge to you so that you can get back to customers quickly. But not only that, it's extremely thorough and it is vetted information so that we're all on the same page.

What’s important to you that you want to build or continue building at Qualified?

Kimberly: When you call a support team or if you need help with something, a product, everyone does now. I just called about my water bill a couple of weeks ago, and I was like, I have no idea if I'm going to be on the phone with these people for an hour. Am I going to be on hold for 2 hours and get transferred? You just don’t know.

I think for me, what's really important is to build a support team that goes outside of the box of what you'd normally expect. It's really important for me to create a team where they're really happy. Employee happiness is one of the number one factors of customer loyalty because you're speaking with people who love where they work.

They think that they're making an impact because they are. They know exactly how what they do impacts the rest of the company and our success. They're helpful people. For me, it's really important to continue to build on that, to build on having very helpful, empathetic people so that our customers can have a really good experience with us and also to create a really good culture at Qualified as a whole where we really care about our customers. 

I know that sounds so cliche, but it's almost like when you're like a celebrity, they always say, “Oh, I couldn't do this without my fans.” I wouldn't be able to support my family without our customers. What good are we if we're not providing the absolute best experience for them?

That means providing the absolute best experience for the people on my team so that they can do their best work.

Lastly, hit me with a humble brag

Kimberly: The thing I am proud of the most is my team and what I've built. We're so small and we do so much work and we support the whole company. If I was going to humble brag at all, it would be about the work that we do. It's very hard when you work in tech support to get really high customer satisfaction scores, and from my team, we've had nearly perfect scores since we started measuring customer satisfaction.

For the last six months across the board, it's been all positive reviews of my team. I have a team that puts everything they have into making sure that they're getting a great experience every time. 

I'm so proud of them and how great they are with our customers and all the positive reviews that we've received.

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Kimberly, we're so grateful for your incredible leadership and everything you've helped build at Qualified. We know our customers appreciate your work, too! 

Posted on
June 10, 2022
by
Shelly Weaver

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