The Softlink Education team has been in a celebratory mood recently in honour of one of our most longstanding team members, Aus/NZ Support Manager Ian West. In December 2017, Ian reached the very significant milestone of 30 years with Softlink!
Prompted by the occasion, we dusted off some old picture albums and scoured them in the hope of digging up some photos of young Ian and other hidden treasures from days of Softlink past. We weren’t disappointed! We’ve included a few of those gems in the montage below.
We don’t think Ian’s changed much at all over the years, and we all agree that his thirty-year commitment to providing outstanding customer care while keeping up with several decades of changes in technology (see photos above) is an amazing achievement.
To recognise this, we surprised Ian (who’s a massive tennis fan!) with a special gift that we hope he will look back on fondly for the next thirty years or more: the trip of a lifetime to the 2018 Australian Open in Melbourne!
Taking advantage of Ian’s celebrity status, we asked to interview him for our blog and he graciously agreed. Read on for a glimpse into the life of our star of the moment, Ian West.
The tennis was awesome! I’d never been before so it was a great experience for me as I’m a massive tennis fan. Roger Federer is my favourite player and I think his victory was well deserved. I really admire his technique and the fact that he always stays cool under pressure; it’s an important quality for a tennis star.
Well, the greatest thing about Softlink has always been the people and the great working environment. I even met my wife here at work, so yes, that’s a definite highlight! Even though many of the faces have changed over the years, the constant thing has been our shared belief in what we do. That is, we work to provide the best service to school libraries, and I think we’re very good at that. It’s also been interesting and fun to work with the changing technologies over the years, and to move from working on software development to a role that’s more centred on supporting our customers and helping them get the most from our products.
Well, challenges are what keeps our work interesting, but looking back it’s hard to see anything that stands out as a challenge or difficulty because I think the outcomes have been so rewarding. For me, the challenge – and it’s a positive one – is to understand the customer experience and provide the support they need to solve their problems. It requires listening, empathy and dedication, which fortunately are traits that the entire support team share.
I’m really just looking forward to continuing to do what I do: looking after customers and working on improving the customer experience. There are some exciting changes coming this year, which I think our customers are going to love, but that’s all I’m going to say about that for now.
Update: In September 2018, Ian started a new chapter in his career at Softlink as the Customer Success, Professional Services Manager with previous Professional Services Manager, Rob Gibson taking on the role of Customer Success, Support Manager. They are each enjoying the change in perspective and working with their new teams.