Our ‘Day in the Life of’ series will focus on a new team member every month. They’ll discuss their duties, what it’s like to work here, how many teas they drink, and everything else in-between. We hope you enjoy learning more about the people behind the software – one delightful blog at a time! Today we’re starting with Emma McCormack, Project & Account Manager.
Hi Emma, thank you for graciously accepting the invitation to participate as the first subject of this series! Why don’t you tell everyone the basics?
Okay, so my name is Emma McCormack, and I am a Project and Account Manager. I primarily work with clients to mobilise them on the 365 Smart Platform, and then I manage their accounts moving forward as their main point of contact. I’ve been with 365 Response since September, but I’ve worked with Brendan (our Chief Commercial Officer) in the past, so that helps.
If I asked you for the quickest overview of your day, what would you tell me?
I work in the 365 Smart Platform team, and every day at 8.30 AM we have a 30-minute meeting to discuss challenges we are facing or client queries. Then, from 9.00 AM onwards, I dedicate my time to client calls as they are a big part of my day/week. I assist them based on wherever they are in the process of mobilisation and discuss project timelines so that both parties are working towards the same goal. There are a lot of calls regarding training, how the client currently works, and how they see the system complimenting that. We have a “train the trainer” approach, so we create a training package based on whoever the client identifies as their super users (people that will be using the system daily), as they will be responsible for rolling it out internally.
Is there anything you consider before working with a new client?
Yes, definitely! The sales team sends every client a pre-required mobilisation checklist. We take note of when they want to go live with the software, where the staff are based, how they want to be trained, and how big they are as a client, as the size of the company can affect decisions surrounding the app and what’s required of the development team. You also need to consider how many people will require access to the system, the estimated number of vehicles and service users, as well as who will be the key contact within the organisation. Ultimately, the system can be configured to fit anything the client wants, and so special requests, additions, or removals will all dictate system changes moving forward.
The 365 Smart Platform Daily Call
You’re currently working with both National Express Accessible Transport (NEAT) and Green Destinations, 2 very different clients in terms of size. Could you tell us about your general experience, highlights or challenges?
NEAT is the first large contract that I’ve helped manage, so I was very excited to get stuck in. My highlights include being able to learn how SEN transport works and the process around implementing that, as you get a real sense of the positive outcomes of your work. I suppose as far as challenges go, I quickly realised that working with a larger client would mean following a more defined set of processes, as they have a specific structure that needs to be followed, so tasks can take longer to complete. There are more people in the chain of command and a list of approved systems too, but as long as you remain flexible and patient, you can overcome those hurdles easily in time. Overall I’ve found this contract interesting as well as fun, and it has been a great learning experience. This was my first mobilisation contract with a huge client, after all! It has truly been an eye-opening and incredibly rewarding experience.
Green Destinations has allowed me to take more of a lead on the project, rather than working in a supporting role, which means I’ve been given a real chance to hone my skills and gain a better understanding of the system and its features. Green Destinations work with a paper-based system, which means I generally provide more guidance and assistance with the software, which I appreciate because it reminds me of the different needs we must cater for, both in business relations and within the software itself. Ultimately, working with Green Destinations has been a positive learning experience because I get to lead more, and it has given me a deeper understanding of how client needs differ depending on size and location, among other things. My team has to remain agile and tailor our process in whatever way the situation dictates. Small or large, we try to ensure we provide the same level of care, commitment, and focus across the board.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
It’s varied and you’re constantly reacting to things, which is exciting. There is always something to do. There’s a lot of team collaboration, especially between us and the development team, so we get to work closely with them when discussing any technical elements. You also get to finish the day knowing that you contribute towards a product that helps a lot of people, and that’s a great feeling.
What about your team? Be honest, I won’t tell…
They’re great. Collaborative, supportive, we work through everything together. You can ask anyone for advice even if it isn’t a project they’re working on. Everyone’s very friendly. Laura (Head of 365 Platform) and I tend to turn up to the morning meeting in our dressing gowns, so it’s become a bit of a running joke now… COVID-19 means we haven’t had a chance to meet in person, but I still feel a real sense of warmth from the team even through my screen. Yeah, it’s lovely.
How do you end your day?
I make a quick to-do list for the next day, and at the end of the week, I write updates for all of my projects and send them to the client. I also note down any questions I have for the next daily call so that I can discuss them with the team.
Any background music? Snacks? Thoughts on working from home?
No background music, unfortunately, too many calls! I’m trying to be good when it comes to snacks, but there’s a shop around the corner that keep advertising Dime bars at 2 for £1 (get on that), so obviously I’m struggling to resist… I’ve found working from home alright, there generally aren’t too many distractions. It’s weird talking to a screen all day, but I’m way more productive than I thought I would be. Talking to clients via video is great too because normally everything would be over the phone, but seeing each other’s faces creates a more personable experience. It’s easier to organise everything online too, like meetings for example. They could take a while to arrange in the office, but now everyone’s just one Microsoft Teams invite away. Everything’s more connected, I like it.
Okay, quickfire time: Dogs or cats?
Dogs! Only dogs. Cats scare me.
Can’t argue with you there, dogs all day. Most recent read?
‘Ghosts’ by Dolly Alderton. It came out last week, she’s my fave. She does this podcast called The High Low, which is just 2 feminists discussing pop culture and it’s amazing.
One thing you’ve always wanted to try?
Maybe skydiving or scuba diving. Both look like they would be great fun, but I don’t think I could physically go through with either. The sea scares me, and I’m quite bad with heights too. I was in Sri Lanka with some friends and we were walking up Ella Rock, it was beautiful, but I couldn’t go anywhere near the edge. I wouldn’t even look at other travellers taking pictures there.
Last song you listened to?
I’ve been on a bit of a Robbie Williams hype recently, he’s got some bangers. I had Angels on last. I saw him at a festival once and I didn’t expect him to be particularly good at all, but he was great. He surprised me!
I understand it’s very difficult to resist Robbie’s charm. Favourite food?
I like… Oh, this is such a hard question… Let’s say tapas. I like tapas because you get a lot of variety. I can get bored quite easily if I’m eating the same food constantly.
Something you thought would be easy until you tried it?
Skiing! It’s so hard! Even just carrying the skis is hard, they’re so heavy. I went with a few friends of mine, but they were all experienced except for one, and even she’d been down to Wakefield for some training beforehand. I’d like to go again with other people who also can’t ski. At one point I was on the beginner’s slope with the five-year-old French kids, and even they were just whizzing past me.
Top 3 TV recommendations?
Celebs Go Dating, The Crown and this cricket documentary on Amazon Prime called The Test. The show’s about the Australian sandpaper scandal. I grew up watching a lot of sport and I’m quite a competitive person in general, so it was an exciting series to watch.
Okay, last one and then I’ll set you free: Favourite board game?
Easy, Frustration. Monopoly goes on for too long.