In April 2020, a new chapter in Perra Skoog’s working life started at Qondor. He went from being a Qondor user to joining our team as a Customer Success Manager (CSM). Read about Perra’s 10 year journey with Qondor:
- How his extreme passion for using Qondor, and his vast experience as a Project manager (PM) working in corporate travel, lead to his transition and role at Qondor.
- Why onboarding and training isn’t just simply teaching others to use a tool but to engage and make sure they receive value.
- Last but not least – how he promises to ensure our customers’ success.
It all started when a LinkedIn post caught my eye
My story starts in January this year, during a trip to Australia and New Zealand. I was browsing through LinkedIn and came across an ad for Customer Success Manager. Whilst fighting off mosquitos in the campervan, I also battled with the pros & cons for applying. On one hand, I saw the opportunity to enhance in something new and a new challenge to develop in a company I had previous experience with – as a customer. On the other, the office location was out of my region, as Qondor is based in Oslo and I live in Stockholm. I have tried corporate travel before with nice hotel rooms but without dinner, company and my own sofa I knew it was not as exciting as one first thinks. I also know that I thrive in a social environment so working from home was not an option I wanted to consider. I was also still loving my job as a Project manager and the relationship I had with my clients.
After having fought off the mosquitos, I ‘d had some good time to think and it became clear that the pros outweighed the cons. Next, I applied for the position and I got it before the end of February.
However, the timing of the change happened to occur during the most uncertain period for the whole travel and meetings industry since the devastating 9/11 and the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Covid-19 has for sure changed the meetings and events industry and it is likely to be among the last industries to fully recover.
Qondor’s Director of Customer Success called me mid-March, and I was relieved when she told me that there was no change to my start date regardless of the Covid pandemic.
Your best advocate is your customer – I’m living proof
To me, Qondor is something special. It is not just a Sales, Project Management and Logistics platform, but one that provides a lot of opportunities to tailor the system to your own needs and at the same time streamline the process for ultimate value. This ensures high quality offers, execution and control.
I was introduced to the tool back in 2008 at a former employer. The design at that time was different, but the main core is still in Qondor today, only now a lot more user friendly and with a modern touch.
At that stage, I was one of many users of Qondor at my former employer’s, which had offices in four of the Nordic countries. We had a country director responsible for Qondor who early on saw the advantages of a more streamlined and less administrative and manual way of sending proposals to clients, getting confirmations, managing projects and making sure to keep up the revenues.
I also recall the ideas we as a Meetings & Events team had to make the platform even better. As a team we often chatted over a cup of coffee and brainstormed about things we saw needs for that would make our everyday work easier both for us and our clients.
Still today when I meet my former colleagues we can look back at this time with joy and proudness of what we achieved together in the team and with the other three countries. We had an eagerness to always challenge the platform, the product owner and the developers at Qondor. The developers took a lot of these needs onboard and solved them, and the user experience of Qondor improved.
A few years later I changed jobs to another company within the same industry. At the time of change Qondor was not in place, which I felt was a limitation. During the application process the manager promised that it wouldn´t be long until I would be able to use Qondor as our project management tool again.
Eliminating manual processes means less room for error, a more seamless workday and increased revenue
During the wait, I was back to creating Excel sheets for calculations, Word documents converted to PDF offers, and manually having to create the confirmations and invoice specifications.
For me it was like I had travelled back in time!
A lot of manual processes were back in play. Manual processes that made the risk of human mistakes greater. I didn’t like it. I loved my job, but since administration has pretty big room for my personal development it was harder than I had expected. Especially when I already knew how smooth the work could be with a tool like Qondor in place.
Fortunately, as you can probably guess, we implemented Qondor at a later stage. We had a lot of wow-moments:
- No more offer confirmations needed – the customer received the confirmation instantly when answering the offer.
- No more hassle trying to find both the net price from the supplier and the price given to the customer – when adding all in Qondor the structure was an extra add on which you got for free.
- No more manual invoice specification – the document was created in 30 seconds when the offer had been updated correctly along the journey.
In total we saved a lot of time using Qondor compared to the old process – up to approximately 60%!
How a Project manager may use Qondor
I have always been fascinated by the opportunities the platform offers. I have also many times started off in one direction and realized it was not an optimal fit, changed it and got the result I was striving for. Qondor Forms allows for this flexible thinking as it’s so versatile. It is all about thinking of what you want at the end of the process, defining what information needs to be put in and most importantly how to process the information.
An example is when my previous team had a request for 3000 participants visiting one location. The participants were from around 30 different cities and towns. All transportation was also part of the registration form created for them to register for the event. 50% were not staying in hotels, the other 50% were staying in four different hotels. Based on their previous event we knew that they wanted to stay with people from their hometown. We pre-allocated all people to the four hotels, using participant categories and displaying the correct hotel to the correct participant as well as the correct transportation.
It was an enormous amount of work to set it up. We assumed that it was still more beneficial to do the work at the start rather than having to create the puzzle after everyone had registered.
My experience as a PM strengthened my ability as a CSM to bring value to Project managers
Since taking on the role of Customer Success Manager at Qondor, I have got to see the ideas behind everything, how the platform is developed and how fast ideas are born, discussed and developed. In my team we are three persons – based in different countries, Norway, United Kingdom and me in Sweden – all committed to offering the best support to users and driving success for our customers.
For me, the change of role has given me something positive and a new start in an industry I know from before. The travel industry is something I love. I have been in it almost my whole work life. Now I get to see it from another angle using the knowledge I have about packaged tours, events, logistics and the importance of professionalism.
It is also a bit of change in mindset. From being the person to decide how to use the platform to being in a more advisory role. Give options but leave the decision to someone else. Show pros and cons based on experience and use the experience to predict the best solution for each customer.
One of my favourite aspects of my new role is training. To present the platform to a new set of users, to get the “wow” and the “aha” moments along with the challenging questions on how to solve an existing process with a new process including Qondor. Then to see that after a couple of days of training, all users are using the platform and getting a lot of value from it.
I’m with my customers on their whole journey to lead them to success
As Qondor’s Customer Success Manager, I am with my customers from the beginning, sticking by their side as they embark on their Qondor journey. I believe that the onboarding process is crucial to introduce users to the platform as it provides users with a steppingstone to ease them into Qondor. The key to longterm success with the platform, is to have an internal ambassador who champions the platform among their team, supporting users’ learning, increasing their confidence, exploring features and keeping up to date with our improvements to achieve a competitive advantage.
Me as the CSM then, what do I do? I guide them through the process, using my knowledge and experience to find the best solutions to get the result the customer wants.
Post–onboarding, my team and I are still there to support our customers when needed, through regular retrospectives and answering support queries. We encourage feedback and suggestions for improvement to the platform and to our service; we want to make sure our customers feel heard and are continually happy.
I am passionate about helping our users to learn the platform in a way that they feel excited themselves to learn. So far, I am loving this journey and building relationships with our customers, learning about their processes and creating a human connection in a time where feeling connected is more important than ever.