How I Succeeded: Dell’s Karen Clarke

How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Karen Clarke from Dell.

Current gig: Global support services director at Dell
Location: Sydney, Australia
Current mobile device: Samsung S5
Current computer: Dell Latitude E7240
One word that best describes how you work: Smart

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Definitely Outlook.

What social network do you find the most useful?


What were the most important lessons you learned while growing your business?

Customer satisfaction is everything. It doesn’t matter how good your products are, if your customers aren’t satisfied, for whatever reason, it’s a retention risk and a future business risk. To build the business you need to build trusted relationships with your customers.

What has been the most surprising part of your business journey?

The creativity of the ICT industry and how it continues to evolve. Dell supports millions of companies each year and it’s an absolute inspiration to see how our customers use our products to innovate and build their products and business. We are definitely working in a creative industry and the innovation that has happened during the last 20-30 years has been incredible.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

Delivering to Scale. At Dell Support, we take hundreds of thousands of support calls to help customers use their technology. To be successful, I need to plan to build and scale for constant business growth. This is necessary to make sure we have the required resources and expertise in the team, all logistics and partners are aligned and we are supporting product and market needs. Building a benchmark in the team and planning to scale are critical success factors.

What’s your sleep routine like?

I am fortunate that I can sleep anywhere, at any time, and I am supported by a great team. I make sure I sleep seven hours a day but it is not always routine.

What advice would you offer to other businesses on how to succeed?

Set clear goals on what you want to achieve, make sure everyone in the company understands what their individual role is to contribute to the goals, and build a positive, progressive culture. You’ll achieve your goals and it’ll be a great place to work.

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