This week we sat down with one of our best, brightest and longstanding Moderators, Graeme Carmichael, and asked him to share a bit about himself. Here are the questions we asked, but if you have anything you’d like to ask him go ahead and post it below!
Hello Graeme! Thanks for taking the time to sit down and chat with us today. Would you mind sharing with everyone a little bit about yourself?
Graeme: Not at all, I am a Chartered Accountant and have lived all my life in Glasgow, Scotland. I work for the National Health Service as a Financial Accountant, which involves external financial reporting and monitoring financial controls.
I started using Zendesk in this role when we were looking for assistance in processing internal queries between departments. I often enjoy applying technology to solve problems, and Zendesk is a good example of how we have been able to simplify a process in this way.
Wow, that’s great! How long have you been a moderator in the Zendesk Community?
Graeme: About six years. Where does the time go? Lol
So you’ve been one of our longest-standing mods in the program, what has motivated you to stay involved for so long?
Graeme: Zendesk is always developing. The moderator program keeps you in the loop for new features and product direction. I find the best way to learn is to do. So using new features and questioning how they have been implemented helps me understand the product.
The moderators are also a great group of people and very supportive of each other. If you have a question, they are more than happy to share their knowledge.
How has participating as a moderator benefitted you?
Graeme: I’m in the Moderator program for fun and training, and it has helped other people in my organization to do their job.
What kind of hobbies do you keep?
Graeme: Not much, really. I follow Formula One, British drivers, and Brittish teams, so plenty of options to support. My wife and I hope one day to travel to a race and go to the Paddock Club. Maybe Austin, Texas? But it would be a once in a lifetime thing, and we keep putting it off.
Tell us a bit about your professional experience with Zendesk. What do you do for work that requires you to use Zendesk? Do you have any favorite tools?
Graeme: We use the internal help desk mainly for resolving queries with invoices and procuring departments and systems support. Reporting is a great tool once your desk is established; it is good for identifying problem areas such as tickets with multiple agents, multiple group stations, re-opens, and many comments.
Business rules are also important to us for routing queries to the correct group. What sold us on Zendesk was the mail API. We can easily create new tickets by emailing details to Zendesk from our finance system. No re-tying and everything captured and tagged for the business rules to fire.
Dogs or cats?
What do you enjoy the most about being a community moderator?
Graeme: The main motivation for me is education. Learning the product by answering questions and solving problems. I would encourage any new administrator to try to answer community questions. Start small, like one question a week and build from there.
Answer what you know and the areas that you are interested in. Then, try to find a solution to a question that the answer is not so obvious to you. After that, there are the ‘workaround’ solutions where you have to think outside the box.
So you see a lot of questions in the Community. What advice would you give to first-time posters looking for help?
Graeme: Try to ask for just one thing in a post rather than multiple questions. The people providing the solutions are volunteering their time, so you have to prioritize your question, and you are more likely to get a response. Also, proofread what you have asked or ask a colleague to review. Again, contributors are not going to spend time trying to decipher your question if you are not prepared to give your question some thought.
Do you have a favorite food?
Would you recommend other users consider joining the Moderator Program?
Graeme: Absolutely! It is a good community, and you will learn more by participating. Being asked to be a moderator was such a kind offer, and if asked, you have nothing to lose. Mods may be Zendesk evangelists, but when they are not happy with Zendesk, they do not hold back. So if you have something to say, you have more opportunities within the program.
What skills does it take to be an effective moderator?
Graeme: Curiosity. You are looking to solve someone’s problem, and you may not know the solution at first. We also need a mix of mods. Most specialize in a product or part of the product, so we need a mix of technical skills.
But we also need a mix of backgrounds. Some people are app developers, some implement new clients, and some are customer support specialists. Diversity is good, so we need different skills and different backgrounds to give fuller support to the Community and better feedback to Zendesk.
Is pineapple on your pizza, ok?
Graeme: Yes, lol.
Anything you’d like to share with our users regarding Zendesk or anything else off-topic?
Graeme: Please join my crusade to get Zendesk to buy a Formula One team lol. If you want to build an international business, Formula One is unique in that it is the only sport-based worldwide and represents the cutting edge of technology. So if you are at the leading edge and want international exposure, you have to be in Formula One. Simple as that.
If you or someone you know might be interested in joining or learning more about the Zendesk Community moderator program you can find more information here.