Many people dream of the corporate ladder, but some just hop off. Charlotta Eriksson takes care of Swedish customer service for Wannado’s clients while enjoying the sunny life in Spain. Before that she used to live in Prague and work for a global corporation. Why and how did she decide to become a customer service agent for SMB’s in Fuengirola? She answers these burning questions in this blog.
Charlotta’s career path in her own words
Many, many years ago I started out as a customer service agent for the Philips Consumer Care Department in Stockholm. I liked the job, I was good at it and nine years I later found myself working in Prague as a Philips customer team manager for over 10 countries. During those years I also worked with B2B business for Hotel TV.
Before the move to Prague, the Philips TV division branched out from Philips, and I became part of a little TV team for the Nordic Market. This Nordic organisation was smaller and quite independent, so it was a goldmine to learn about other functions like marketing or finance. I helped my boss a lot with many projects, mainly systems, warehouse moves and some logistics.
Our little TV world within Phillips entered a joint venture with a panel manufacturer from Taiwan and we became a new company; TP vision. Suddenly, we were a small company within a huge one. One that was completely different. So, we did what was needed and moved all back-office positions from all the countries in Europe to a shared service centre in Prague. At the time I was one of the most experienced ones, so my boss asked me if I was able to go to Prague for 4 months to get the new service centre started. I jumped to the chance!
I arrived in February and left in June, five years later. So, you can say I stayed slightly longer than expected. The first 4 months I helped train all the newcomers. I was also involved in interviewing many of them. Before my initial 4 months were up, I had been offered the position as one of four team leads for the customer service in Prague.
My area was the southern region: France, Iberia, Italy and Malta. I had 6 people in my team, and quickly became known as the “Queen of the South”. Not because I was a diva but because I cared for my team and always put my team and their well-being first.
Customers are always supposed to be the most important, but if you do not have a happy team, they will not give good service. I was still involved in a lot of projects both with IT and warehousing and I also travelled a lot. I found myself travelling every other week or so. I went to our warehouse in Poland, and to our sales offices (with my team) in Paris, Milan and Madrid or rather, Suresnes, Varedo and Alcobendas. I learned a lot about other cultures and their work ethics. However, it was always uphill regarding the decision making and it usually had to be approved in quite a few systems, from 2 different continents as well.
So why do I now work from home instead of an office? Is there an appeal to a smaller company? Am I happier here?
Well, in a big company you have a long response time and things are not easy, if you need quick action. As a customer you also usually must deal with big groups, and it is very hierarchical. In a small company I have easier access to the people making the decisions, I get fast answers and the teams are smaller and more concentrated. Usually, they also come with more over-all knowledge.
Our distributed team works at home, office, cafes, in different countries. Remote work means freedom, but also responsibility. You might get a little bit detached from the teams you are working with, but mostly I can choose my own working hours and still deliver great results. I am the kind of person that listens to music while working. I also tend to sing when I listen to music and this is not well received in an office. At home I can be as loud as I want, and I am not disturbing anybody. Everybody is happy!
Wannado is a digital problem solving and assistant service for growth companies. We handle all operational tasks like marketing, sales, finance and customer service. Since 2011 our strategy has been remote first. The team, clients and partners are all over the globe - and we love it!