While there are many things ICS customers rave about, from affordable pricing to intuitive features, one of the first things ICS’ raving fans mention is Connie Bingham and the beyond-comparison level of customer service she provides to ICS customers.
We sat down with Connie to ask her about her history with ICS, her philosophy when it comes to customer service, and her recent Dream Big Grant from OmegaFi.
Hey Connie! Why don’t we start off by sharing a little bit about how you got started with ICS.
One of the original owners of ICS was a friend of ours and our sons played soccer together actually. He told me about this idea he had, and I thought, well, that’s a great idea but I also kind of blew it off. It wasn’t until about five years later he called me up asked if I wanted a job. I said sure, what do you want me to do? I had already been working part time for another friend of mine and he said, I want you to train people.
I have a degree in teaching, so I thought, okay this is sort of a natural fit. I started out as part-time and quickly fell in love with it.
What were those early years like working with ICS?
My first few years with ICS it was just me and another woman and we had over 400 schools. It was just the two of us training folks all day, every day. It was a bit crazy to say the least. We were still small in terms of staffing, so it was just four of us, including the two founders, training customers and providing all of the support. Eventually, ICS was purchased by OmegaFi which brought in a lot of resources to serve our customers and improve the product.
What do you love most about working with ICS customers?
Well, I love the trainings and I love the relationships I have built with my clients, many of which I’m very good friends with, even after they’ve moved on to different careers. The people we serve are what make this job special. I really do love being able to help our customers through a process that’s extremely stressful, or can be, and get through it hopefully easily enough through training them and using the resources we provide.
This year marks your 12th recruitment. Who’s your oldest client that you’ve worked with?
There are several and it’s hard to pick just one, but Oklahoma State is one of the very first schools we signed up as an ICS client. University of Michigan has also been with us since day one. Parice Bowser at University of Arkansas has also been with ICS since I started and she’s just amazing at her job and equally amazing to work with.
When folks talk about ICS, they also mention Connie and the level of customer service you bring to the table as an X factor. Tell us a little bit about what your approach to customer service is like.
Well, to be honest, like with any company, customer service makes or breaks anything. My philosophy is I always want to put myself in our customers’ shoes and provide the same level of service, response, and time I would expect.
Because recruitment can be this stressful period for our customers, sometimes they’re frazzled or can’t see straight and they just need someone to say, “It’s okay. You’re on the right track. You need to do this.”
That’s the kind of calm, supportive, encouraging, and helpful support I would want, so it’s the same support I try to provide to everyone. That’s the kind of service I would want from a company.
So, what’s peak season like? We’re about to enter it right now, aren’t we?
Absolutely. I would say August 1st through October 1st is our peak season which aligns with when most of our customers are doing recruitment. Right now, we’re fully in training mode and ensuring our customers have the knowledge and resources they need to be successful.
About a week out, I’ll actually go through each school myself and look through their setup, make sure they’re good to go, and check to ensure they’ve got everything where it needs to be so they can have a smooth and successful recruitment.
What’s one ICS feature folks should absolutely make sure they take advantage of?
It’s been getting more use since COVID, but absolutely it’d be allowing PNMs to log in and use the app themselves to make selections on their phone or computer. PNMs can get their schedules, update their registration information, etc. It takes a lot of pressure off of other folks and allows the PNMs to help drive their own recruitment experience.
What’s one tip you’d give to folks when using ICS?
Two things. First, make sure your rounds and party times are put into the system and are correct or done with your trainer. Second, which ties into the previous feature, making sure your PNMs have logged into ICS before recruitment starts. You don’t want to wait until the day before recruitment and realize a lot of PNMs haven’t logged in once because then you’re scrambling to get them setup.
I do keep an eye on those things as well and try to remind folks, especially if it seems like their PNMs haven’t seen their registration email or created their account.
Let’s talk about your recent Dream Big Grant, which is a grant OmegaFi distributes annually to employees to help them fulfill one of their dreams. You received yours this past January and it was incredibly special. Tell us a little bit about that.
It was super special because it helped out of my grandbabies who is visually impaired and I’m going to try not to cry here. I also need to preface this with the fact that my family are HUGE Harry Potter fans. So, when my daughter, Emily, realized my granddaughter, Madeline, was visually impaired, it was sort of devastating. She realized it would be difficult, if not impossible, to share this amazing experience of reading the books and watching the movies. Those who are big Harry Potter fans know how special it is.
The Dream Big Grant I received went towards my dream of bridging that gap by ordering the complete set of Harry Potter books in braille for Madeline. They’re not cheap and they’re not easy to get. But now, Madeline has her own set and now my family can continue this special experience together and Madeline can experience these stories about finding strength in being different or unique, which is absolutely amazing.