Katie has recently joined PCC and will be working as the Client Experience Director for PCC Dagenham. We sat down with her to discuss her new role, the experience she brings, and everything inbetween...
So Katie, how does your role work and what will you be doing?
I’m the Client Experience Director for Dagenham, and broadly speaking I’m here to support the site. I’m going to be looking at ways that we can implement changes or efficiencies that enable the Client Services team to be more outward facing, and ultimately to deliver an even better service. We’ll be doing what we know how to do now, but taking it to the next level.
Sounds good! I understood most of that. So what’s your background?
I learned my craft in client services and the print world. I studied marketing at uni and fell into the wonderful world of packaging. So I’m used to working with lots of clients from the Retail and Fast Moving Consumer Goods sectors, especially with Food/Drink packaging and Point of Sale. I used to be a nightmare to go shopping with – critiquing shop layouts and how products are displayed, checking for colour consistency – but I’ve managed to wean myself off that now. After 11 years of the packaging world, I then moved into the transactional print side of things.
Very glad you’ve been able to get out of that debilitating habit. Anyway, how will you be helping our clients in your new role? What are you working on?
I’m going to be working directly with the client accounts – one aim is to help them take their transformation programmes forward. That’s the lighter side of client services, the darker side client services is being that escalation point if something’s gone wrong and being the contact for them when they need it. At the moment one of the big things I’m working on is to get clients onboarding onto our OnePlatform solution, which is really exciting.
That sounds ominous. Do you have any golden rules of client services that you can share with us?
Well, some golden rules I can’t share with you – they’re not for publication. But the key is empathy and understanding. The only true way to help clients is to empathise with them and understand their problems. If you can put yourself in their shoes and understand their challenges and their customers’ challenges, it enables you to identify the problems and find the tools to fix them.
Without getting too specific, what makes a client difficult to work with?
Obviously, this doesn’t apply to any of our clients! All our clients are wonderful. But difficult thing could be if they don’t fully understand the processes behind what we do, and why we ask for things in the way we ask for them. In a lot of cases it might appear that we are being finite or inflexible, but it’s our job to educate, support and guide them, to have that understanding. And then we all win!
A very well-judged answer! You’ve been here four weeks now – what are your first impressions?
Well, you go in knowing it’s a big business. Bigger than ones I’ve worked in before. But actually, walking in and being on the ground, seeing the facilities and meeting the people – it’s like everything I know, but supercharged. In my first week, I sat at my desk and witnessed collaboration between teams and watched them overcome a problem, with different departments working together calmly, rationally and pragmatically. It’s so impressive that that’s how people work together. Everyone’s been very welcoming and supportive, given up their time and shared information. And obviously, the client list is exceptional.
Now onto the big questions. What did you have for your tea last night?
This is quite embarrassing. I got back from the office quite late and when I got home, either a bird had decided to nest in my chimney or something had gone very wrong with it. So at 9pm I was hoovering up soot from my lounge and thought it’s now too late to have anything proper. All of this is a preamble to say that I had three slices of black pepper salami, a portion of marmite cheese, a packet of crisps and a glass of wine.
No offense but that’s a rubbish tea. Very disappointing. We’ll move on. What superpower would you choose to have?
*Very long pause indeed…*
This isn’t necessarily a superpower, but I’d like to be a fairy godmother with a wand so I could cast spells. Nice spells. I could clean my house really easily. Could make little children who’ve dropped their lollipops stop crying. Or if there was a problem with an enclosing machine I’d fix it.
That’s an incredibly wholesome answer. We’re back on track. Anyway, who’s your hero?
I’m going to say Joanna Lumley. Apart from the fact she’s an incredible actor, writer etc, I think she’s just so classy. So graceful and fun. I have a Twitter account named @PatsyBum named after my dog, who took her name from Joanna Lumley’s character in Absolutely Fabulous. Though the account is mainly flooded with pictures of the dog Patsy, rather than anything her namesake would do. My dogs have their own account (@patsyandedds) and their content is far more interesting than anything from me.
Do you have any irrational fears?
Yes - bugs, insects, basically any kind of creepy crawly that touches me. I’m fine if they’re over *there*, but not if they get anywhere near me.
That actually seems fairly rational! Finally, do you have a favourite book?
That’s a tricky one – there’s too many to choose from! But I absolutely love The English Patient and The Life of Pi, so I’ll go with one of those two.
Excellent choice! Thanks Katie!