Laura Piri, Credit Controller at Northmill Finland, has worked at Northmill for almost two years. During her time at the company, she has built herself a strong experience from successful customer service and shares her thoughts about the topic in the following interview.
Hey Laura, how are you doing? Could you tell us something about yourself?
I am doing just great and really enjoy the Finnish summer – which, in my opinion, is the best kind of summer there is. I really like spending time with my dog, a six-year-old Chihuahua called Homie. In addition to the Finnish summer and dogs, I am passionate about a healthy lifestyle which explains why I spend such a great amount of time exercising at the gym.
How did you end up working for Northmill? What did you do before that?
I come from North Ostrobothnia but have been living in Helsinki since I was 19 years old. For a long time, I had wanted to move to Helsinki since I was intrigued by different kinds of lifestyles and the bustle of a big city. In Helsinki, it feels more like everyone can be the way they are and do the things they like than in the countryside.
Before ending up at Northmill, I had different positions in the field of trade. At Northmill I started working in 2017 as Junior Credit Controller. These days my title is Credit Controller since I have gotten more responsibility in the team along the time I have worked in this role.
It is actually a funny story about how I got interested in working with customer support. First I ran into an acquaintance who told me about working in customer service in a similar type of a company than Northmill. Later on, I found Northmill through Google searches and realised that they were searching for new employees and decided to apply for a position at the Helsinki office. I got a really warm feeling about Northmill and knew already in the interview that I wanted to join the credit team.
"If you have an urge to help others, then you also have the keys to deliver a smooth customer experience."
Could you talk us through your average workday?
The credit team takes care of customer service and handles applications. Mostly my workdays are filled with communication with our customers over the phone and through email and chat.
I also have some other responsibilities at work that are related to recruiting and welcoming new team members as well as developing workflows. I am also responsible for planning our teams working hours. These tasks I find especially interesting since HR and developing work processes are something that I could see myself working with in the future. What keeps me at Northmill is, however, the driven and fun colleagues and my interest in customer service.
What are the keys for a successful customer experience?
In my team, we value good team spirit and internal communication, and in my opinion, these two things build a strong and functioning dynamic to our team. It helps all of us that we can trust the team, and I believe that this shows on our customers too. It probably goes without saying, that if one wants to succeed in customer service, it is necessary to be sharp and quick at making decisions. I think that if you really have an urge to help others, then you also have the keys to deliver a smooth customer experience.
When we are building functioning customer-relations, we need to be able to offer our customers something more than what they expect at first. Therefore, when we get an email or chat message from a customer, who for instance wants to know about his payments, we try to offer him more information about the overall situation of his credit than he asked. This way we can first of all bring additional value to the customer, but also save time when we are already answering our customers’ possible follow-up questions.
Can you name any challenges you face in your every-day work?
The first thing that comes to my mind is that we need to be available on multiple channels. In modern society, it is not enough to have a phone line, but we need to have an online presence as well. We aim to give a similar experience to all customers – regardless of the channel they contact us – by being quick, friendly and professional.
We also need to keep having good energy towards our customers and live by the promises we make. Your own attitude as a Credit Controller matters a lot. Sometimes a call with a customer can, despite a negative starting point, turn to a positive experience when we at the customer center have a warm and professional approach to our work. The way I see it is that the employees who communicate with customers are one of the most important parts of the company.
"When we are building functioning customer-relations, we need to be able to offer our customers something more than what they expect at first."
What would you say are the strengths of your team?
Since the beginning, I have felt that our team consists of exceptionally warm and fun people. At the moment, all of our team members are very motivated and driven towards a common goal. Being motivated and having good internal communication takes us far as a team. Even if everyone has their own roles and tasks, I also feel that at Northmill we lack unnecessary hierarchy.
When our team expands and we get new employees, I always see that the most important part of our onboarding process is to include the new people to Northmill’s culture. Our new employees always take part on a general onboarding event in Stockholm, but lots of work is needed locally too. It is easy to teach them to do well in the practical tasks, but the challenge lies in nurturing the company culture and building a good team spirit. From this perspective, I find it important to show the good energy and motivation that I have.
What are your plans and dreams for the future?
In the near future, my plan is to study a degree in business administration. I already hold a vocational qualification in business and administration, and while working at Northmill, I have grown a bigger interest towards the field of finance. Other interests of mine lie in HR and management, and I think it would be great to combine those topics with the general studies. The plan at the moment is to arrange my schedule so that I will be able to study and work at the same time.
What comes to my future plans at Northmill, I am working towards proceeding from Credit Controller to Senior Credit Controller. The role of Senior Credit Controller is a bit wider than Credit Controllers and Junior Credit Controllers have, and Senior Credit Controller can work even more closely with the Customer Center Team Manager than I do at the moment. I am really keen on continuing my career in the company and want to get more responsibility inside the credit team.
Do you see yourself working at Northmill? Take a look at our career opportunities and apply already today! We are searching for new talent to our offices in Sweden, Finland and Poland.