How would you describe your role, Viktoriya?
My primary job is to onboard all new customers. I focus more on operators and getting them quickly up to speed on the platforms. I always try to ensure that they know as much as I do so they can get the most from their investment.
You’ve been at Avinode for about three years.
That’s right. I met my Swedish husband on holiday and after a while we decided that with my language skills it would be easier for me to get a job in Sweden than him moving to Belgium. I feel lucky to be at Avinode and this is my first grown-up job.
Tell us about those language skills.
Well, I speak French, Russian and English. I moved to a French-speaking part of Belgium when I was 11 but my mother tongue is Russian as I was born in Kazakhstan. I’m still working on my Swedish though!
You’re on the frontline with customers. You must get to know them well.
I really do. I get to just talk with them, be a friendly voice and build up a great relationship. And when you chat, they tell you about their lives, about how they use the products and where they think things can be better, and I always pass that feedback on to the business.
There are frustrations sometimes but just by having a conversation, they can be resolved. I had a call a few weeks ago from a customer who was having a problem. As we were chatting, he realised that he’d made a mistake and sorted the problem himself. He thanked me for my help, but I’d done nothing. It was just the fact that he could talk it out, that really helped him feel supported.
This year more than ever, those customer relationships have been vital.
Definitely. Since the start of the COVID crisis we’ve worked hard to understand the problems customers are facing and take action to really help them out.
As the first wave passed and things started moving again, it was a stressful and busy time, providing the support they needed. Every request mattered and it meant being fast and responsive because any delay would cost them money at a time when they were getting back on their feet.
That ability to be flexible and adapt seems to be a real feature of the business.
It is, yes. And in the future it’ll help us as we look to streamline the onboarding process even further. Technology can be a big help in this, but the challenge is in not losing the personal touch. How can we best use humans and robots together? That’s the question.
How have you found working remotely? What do you miss about being in the office?
I’m lucky that I can do my job in the office, at home or anywhere. Our customers are all around the world, so my location is not a problem. But I miss being around my colleagues. If I had any questions I’d just go and sit with the tech team. I look forward to being able to do that again.
And I believe you have your hands full with a new member of the family.
Yes, I have a Corona dog. His name is Rollo and he’s an Alaskan Malamute. He’s very active so we’re out walking him for 2-3 hours every day, and at weekends we head out into the forest with him, which is lovely.
He’s also a Swedish speaking dog. Sometimes when I don’t pronounce a word quite right when giving him orders, he looks at me funny. But as long as I talk about food, he seems to understand me perfectly fine.