Connecting the Dots for a Human Centered Purpose

Steve Jobs was right. You cannot connect the dots looking forward. You can only do it looking backwards.

Before I begin, let me just say that I’m not used to sharing things about myself, but I thought it fitting for a change, as I believe we all go through some kind of phase were we find ourselves at the crossroads, trying to figure out what our main purpose in life is, why things in our past happened, whether it was to our liking or not, whether it made sense to us or not.

Being in customer service for almost 10 years was no joke. I’ve probably received calls from all kinds of customers, of all ages, with different sorts of complaints – some I was lucky to handle while others needed to be escalated. I practically ate irate customers for breakfast (others for lunch and dinner).

Anyhow, receiving complaints didn’t stop even after getting off the phones as I was eventually tasked to handle escalations even up to a manager’s level. Good times.

Fast forward to 2007, I received instructions from my immediate superior to undergo training on project management. Right after the training, I was given my first project – to help improve the processes in training and operations deployment of new hires in the IT helpdesk I was working for. The impact of customer satisfaction became clearer to me on a larger scale. I was looking into reports on dissatisfaction surveys, results of calls evaluated by the quality assurance team, service level stats – the works. Formulating action plans became easier because it was based on numeric results.

I was able to stay for another year as a corporate slave until I left in 2008 – that was when I decided to start working as a freelance project manager/virtual assistant.

While I somehow felt the relief of being free from corporate stress – the customer complaints, irate bosses, tight deadlines – it was short-lived. I realized it was now just me and my personal clients. There was no one to make the decision as to whether a complaint was valid or not, whether a discount or a rebate is to be given or not. It was just all about me and my client.

I thought that all I learned from corporate work could be thrown out the window. Together with the stress that went with it.

I was wrong.

Flashback further to the years before I became part of customer service.

I was actually into marketing.

I worked as a marketing officer for a home depot center that was also owned by one of the biggest players in the retail industry. I remember talking to people ALL THE TIME. I was asking members of our mailer program what products they wish to be included in next month’s sale, how they were enjoying their membership perks, what else they would like to see at the store, if our staff is helping them find what they need – the works. After that stint, I also became a marketing director for an architectural firm that was into build and sell of high end real estate projects. As marketing director, I had to make myself visible during an open house or launch of a new project. I enjoy hearing comments from brokers and prospective buyers alike. It just made my job easier when my architect boss would ask me what people think about her work.

During those marketing years, I do remember being so lost in creating marketing plans. I would lose track of time curating marketing strategies as well as design proposals. I also designed mailers for monthly promotions. There were stuff that I was told to delegate but opted to do them myself. Even when it comes to advertising, I made sure that we get the results from the money the company invested. I wasn’t a Marketing graduate but a Computer Science graduate, and the easiest (and most accurate) way for me to look at marketing was to think “consumer behavior.” It could be as minor as making sure that our ads were on the right page, if not on the front page of a newspaper or magazine. Left and back pages were unacceptable. And it was only because I know the reader’s eyes would pay more attention to what’s on the right (same manner when it’s in front).

Fast forward to today when everything is (almost) paperless, I feel like this is what I’m destined to do after all. Connecting the dots now made sense. While I’m now managing projects that involved digital marketing, my 90s marketing practices have never left me. All these years in customer service and project management just made sense now.
And that was when I decided: There was no other way but to take clients into heights that lead to the future of marketing – and that is to make it more customer-centric, more HUMAN CENTERED in the age of the digital consumer.
Thus, early this year the TDC Connect Academy was formed.

TDC Connect Academy is all about being human, being REAL. We don’t just aim to educate but we aim to teach people and businesses build relationships.

We don’t do glitz and glamour. It’s just not our cup of tea.

We just Connect, give Value and Keep Things Real.

The way it should be.

So much for that. Let’s talk about you. Have you figured your purpose yet? Try to connect the dots and let me know how it goes.