Q&A: My top tips on being an inspirational leader in a thriving retail environment
Nicole Miller earned a Telstra ‘Excellerate’ Award for excellence in customer service having worked with us for four years. She leads a talented team in our Pacific Fair Telstra Store on the Gold Coast, Queensland. In addition to a fancy new refurbishment and becoming a Telstra Future Retail environment, Nicole and her team are celebrating being awarded Queensland Store of the Year. I had the opportunity to chat with Nicole about being both a successful store leader as well as her journey with us so far.
How did you come to work at Telstra?
I used to work in banking and was at a point in my career where I wasn’t sure where my future would take me. A friend of mine encouraged me to apply for a role with Telstra, which led to an informal coffee with the Area General Manager at the time to discuss the opportunity and that’s where my journey really began. Of course there were all the normal recruitment steps as well, but really it all began that day I had that coffee, after hearing about the passion and enthusiasm for the company that that manager had.
What attracted you to the company?
Working in banking meant I interacted with customers daily who were fearful of technological change and Telstra really embraced and encouraged people to use tech to improve their lives. I really wanted an opportunity to work for a company that not only developed, explored and innovated but also empowered people to learn about the technology they used. Telstra’s company value ‘make the complex simple’ really resonated with me. I wanted to be at the forefront of technology where I could support customers in embracing changes that could improve their lives and really immerse themselves in it rather than being unsure about it.
Your store was recently awarded Store of the Year for Queensland. Congratulations! What do you think makes a successful team?
Really it comes down to knowing your team, understanding what each of them bring to the table and what individual talents they may have. It’s also about empowering them every day to utilise those skills and talents. So, if you play to someone’s strengths and nurture them every way you can along the way, it really helps.
You were also a recipient of one of our ‘Excellerate Award’ for excellence in customer service recently. What do you think drives a great customer experience?
To deliver amazing service you need to look at the entire experience. It starts when the customer enters the store and it doesn’t end when they leave. I take pride in the fact that our customers trust us so much that they continue to return to learn more.
We ensure we make the environment friendly and familiar with most of our customers telling us that it’s as comfortable as sitting at home when they’re in our store! We also acknowledge that it’s not a ‘one size fits’ all experience. Each customer has different needs and we cater to those needs.
We aim to ensure our customers walk away feeling taken care of, some even have my contact details so if anything does go wrong or if they have a question they can contact me and know that I will do my best to assist them. As they say, if you invest in your customers they will invest in your business.
There’s been some exciting changes at Pacific Fair with the recent renovations. Your store had a revamp as well and is now what we call a Future Retail Environment. What do you think is the most exciting thing about your store’s new look?
The first thing that comes to mind is just the ease and flow of the environment. It’s open and everything is at a hand’s reach, making our role in delivering to our customers effortless. It’s exciting to be able to showcase the latest in technological innovation within such a unique retail layout and really it just creates a more personal connection between us and our customers.
What do you love most about your role at Telstra?
I love the people; both the customers and the staff! I also love the culture here. It’s something that really cannot be surpassed in my opinion. From a team environment it’s so exciting to work in such an interactive culture where everyone is constantly connecting and sharing ideas allowing us to really explore a large range of opportunities for our people. For the customer I get so much joy out of seeing their end-to-end journey. It really just gives me so much happiness to have customers return to show me how excited they are about their new device. It’s really rewarding.
What advice would you give to people who aspire to be a leader at work?
You need to have resilience and perseverance. Remember to not over-complicate things, just take it day by day and trust your team to deliver. Empower them to achieve the best they can and, most of all, celebrate the small things. You don’t become the most successful leader overnight and to be a truly inspirational leader you need to take everyone on the journey with you. It’s a team effort and we are all in this together because together we achieve much more than on our own.
What tips would you give to someone wanting to join your customer service team?
My biggest tip is to just stay true to yourself and be the best you that you can be. Within my team I really look for individuals who are authentic and bring their own unique style. I can train a lot of things but I cannot train personality! So if you’re looking to join our team, remember most of all to be yourself.