Describe your role in no more than 100 words.
My role is constantly evolving as, like many entrepreneurs, as the business grows, I have to try to relinquish day-to-day control of some of the nitty gritty. This means I spend more of my time developing existing members of the team to take on those responsibilities.
When we started the company there were only two of us and every decision was more or less mine. Now with a team of 50, my role is to engage with our customers, think about future strategy and work to develop our leadership team.
What is it the company does?
JudgeService conducts customer satisfaction research on behalf of car dealers. As well as providing management information to help dealers improve their service, it generates reviews that dealers can share on their website and social media.
We started JudgeService when we identified an opportunity to take postal surveys online and capitalise on the growth of social media. To date, we have specialised in the automotive sector but are increasingly being approached by companies who want to use our online and research contact centre skills in other markets.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
After finishing a business studies degree at Huddersfield Polytechnic, I joined Perrys Motor Sales dealership as a graduate trainee and worked up the ranks, eventually taking responsibility for the group’s marketing. My time in that role coincided with an increased focus on customer relationship management and the evolution of the internet.
As a result of the experience I gained during this time, I went on to hold positions as Marketing Director at C.D. Bramall and Reg Vardy, before helping to establish motors.co.uk.
As well as running JudgeService, I also look after the used car classified website Trusted Dealers, a leading UK used car classifieds site, which is owned by the National Franchised Dealers Association.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Although I am not sure I always demonstrate it myself, I think great leaders are consistent, measured and inspiring. As a leader, there is nothing better than that feeling of crowd surfing when you know your team are performing at their best and you have been able to give them the tools to move forward.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
Currently my biggest challenge is growing the business and therefore, prioritising! Firstly, you have to evaluate which of the opportunities you are presented with will lead to growth, rather than just to costs. Secondly, and perhaps most challenging, is learning what you should delegate so you can focus on other things. This decision is often difficult to make as it must be based on both ability and trust.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
Whilst I don’t want to pretend I’m always laid back, in times of stress I do try to take a deep breath and break down challenges – often by making a list – and then work through things one by one.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a car designer and businessman.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?
Laziness and arrogance. I strongly believe that the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary and that every member of the team is as important to the success of the business as everyone else.
At JudgeService we strive to create a culture that focuses on our customers, teamwork, honesty and innovation.
Where do you see the company in five years time?
In five years’ time I expect the company to have expanded and be working in new markets, as customer service is an important part of all sectors. As a result, I expect we will have a higher consumer awareness than we currently enjoy and will be developing ever closer relationships with our clients.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Do it! Hire the best people you can afford and remember to look outwards as well as inwards and ask for help; there is lots of support available.