At Encompass, we strive to get to the heart of our customers’ priorities and how they work – and someone who knows just how important this is is Ashton Montgomery-Norris.
Having been involved in customer service for several years, Ashton is passionate about clients getting the most out of a product and being part of their journey to success.
Here, he tells us what led to him joining Encompass as a Customer Success Specialist, and what it is about the company that has made it the ideal place to progress as a key part of a team…
My first job when I came out of uni involved working in customer service at Titanic Belfast, which had just opened to a lot of fanfare and huge customer footfall, so I was flung in at the deep end – in a good way!
From there, my interest in customer success grew. I knew I enjoyed speaking with people and working with suppliers in a B2B environment, so it was important for me to have a role that allowed me to do that.
I moved from Belfast to Scotland full-time after my husband finished uni and worked at the Edinburgh Festival, again in customer service, before taking on a position in marketing for a technology company – something I fell into, really.
That was a start-up, and was good for me as I knew I enjoyed that setting and atmosphere, as well as having a product that you need to move quickly with. I also liked the challenge that comes with working to not only stay ahead of the curve from an industry point of view but also having to meet the demands of customers, which can also move at speed.
I have worked for a few start-up companies, so that wasn’t new to me when I joined Encompass. Although it had been in a different industries, my last role before here, especially, gave me a lot of experience but, after two and a half years, I knew it was time for a change and to scale up.
At the time, it was the idea of what they were doing – AML/KYC was new to me but I thought it was a really interesting part of the industry. It can be overlooked but is so important.
I really do find what we are attempting to do and the impact it has on people – which is so wide-ranging – fascinating. I also enjoy having to always improve – that excites me.
I describe it as customer service with an added element of product knowledge.
My job is to advocate for the customer and ensure they are getting the best usage of our product, while also having awareness of not only how they will be using the product but how they and it fits within their wider industry.
It’s an advisory role – not support – that’s very different. We learn how customers are doing their roles and where, and map it with our product in a way that allows them to be successful in their own jobs.
Being part of a smaller team, which I enjoy, there is more autonomy in roles. Everyone respects what each other does and you’re given space to set processes and good practice.
There’s also the opportunity to collaborate really well with other departments and a good level of reliance. You’re listened to and taken seriously, and have the chance to make a change that you can see.
The face-to-face side of my role, when I get to go on-site with customers and have that deep-dive into their company and what they are doing.
In their own environment, you get a real understanding of needs and that helps you to make sure the solution will be the best fit for them.
Encompass gives me the chance to do that regularly, whereas, in other roles, things have been more hands-off and there has been limited engagement with customers.
We really believe in having that time to learn what the customer needs to do their job as well as possible, and I think that is a real strength of ours.
A frustrating part of the job comes when we are limited by the data out there and how quickly we can get new data products, for example. The market changes so quickly.
Ensuring customers and their teams are getting the best use out of the Encompass platform can also be challenging but it’s definitely worthwhile when it brings results.
At my one-year appraisal, I realised I felt like I’d been with the company for five or ten years – in a good way! I feel embedded in the organisation and that my career is progressing in a way that I also get real job satisfaction.