Your 5 minutes with… the Customer Relations Team
The Funding Circle community has been growing steadily over the past three years and with it, so has the Funding Circle team. More than 70 people now work at FCHQ in London so we thought it was about time that we introduced the team to our community.
We’re starting a regular feature where we’ll spend 5 minutes with members of each department, including the product, technology, marketing, credit risk, recoveries and sales teams to gain some insights about their day-to-day activities. To kick off the series we’re with the customer relations team, headed up by Jenah.
A brief overview of the Customer Relations team
There are currently 5 team members: Jenah is Team Leader and was Funding Circle’s second employee, having started in June 2010. Clare joined in April 2012, followed by Elaine and Ben in December 2012, and most recently Melissa, who joined in July this year. Ben is affectionately known as Wilko, to distinguish him from all the other Bens in the office!
Day to day activities include:
Answering enquiries from investors via email and telephone, allocating and reviewing all inbound and outbound payments, identity checks to onboard customers and liaising with different teams to resolve problems, relay feedback and provide investor input for new products.
Jenah, why is what your team does important for our customers?
We’re the point of contact between investors and Funding Circle, so you could say that makes us the face of the company. It’s essential in our role to have a broader understanding of how our business operates, which is why we undertake operational tasks as well as providing customer service. Ideally, this means that whatever query you have, the first person you speak to will be able to assist you and you’ll never need to be passed on.
Why did you decide to work at Funding Circle?
Jenah: When I started, there wasn’t even a website! I really liked the concept and I thought it was a great opportunity to get involved in a company from the beginning.
Clare: Funding Circle was really appealing as I saw a fast-growing company and within it, huge potential for career development.
Elaine: I thought it was an interesting concept and was amazed at how far the company had come in such a short space of time.
Wilko: It’s a start-up and has all the fun that comes with it; the people are great and I believe in what Funding Circle stands for.
Melissa: It looked like a fast-paced and dynamic company, which is refreshing and completely different from my last job!
What’s your favourite part of working at Funding Circle?
Elaine: The team spirit. Everyone works really well together.
Wilko: I agree, everyone is approachable and always happy to spend time with you.
Melissa: Yes, me too, the people!
Jenah: I like that it’s a young, vibrant company. The team are great and there’s a real sense of comradery.
Clare: Definitely the people! We have monthly bonding outings with the whole team which are always a lot of fun.
And what would you say is your favourite part of your job?
Clare: Speaking to a customer who you’ve built up a rapport with. It’s rewarding when you’ve helped someone from the beginning, to then seeing how their account is progressing and hearing how much they enjoy using the site.
Jenah: Yes, it’s nice that the company is still small enough to allow you to build and maintain relationships with customers.
Elaine: One investor even sent us a postcard which said “Keep up the good work!”
It must have been nice to have received that! Have there been any other memorable customer experiences?
Jenah: We’ve received funny pictures in the past. Investors have emailed pictures of the view of where they’re writing to us from!
Wilko: Yea, we’ve also received Christmas cards which was lovely!
Elaine: I enjoy making general chit chat with people. I’ve been given pub recommendations for the Blackfriars area, and I’ll happily talk about Ireland!
What would you say is the toughest part of the job?
Jenah: In many situations we’re the middlemen and issues are out of our hands. Say for example there’s a technical problem: on one hand, we’re managing investor expectations and on the other, we’re working to prioritise it with the tech team. We’re limited by external restraints and processes, rather than our own capabilities.
Melissa: I agree, it’s most difficult when things are out of our hands and you need assistance from other teams to be able to do your job.
Clare: Yes, I’d say managing expectations and also dealing with investors who have experienced higher than expected levels of bad debt. Even though it is a risk-based product, inevitably some people will do better or worse than others.
Elaine: We’re still quite a small team so there’s always a prioritisation struggle; if there’s been a technical issue and no repayments have run overnight, it will take priority over a broken account link.
So it sounds like you have to be very people oriented and have good interpersonal skills. Are there certain things that you would pride yourself on in those situations?
Elaine: Yes, as a team we’ll always put in the work, regardless of how long it takes and we’ll do as much as we can when an issue is raised.
Clare: I think clear communication and transparency is crucial.
Melissa: Being patient is also up there!
Wilko: Yes agreed, and having the skills to problem solve.
And aside from Funding Circle, what interests do you all have?
Jenah: I enjoy yoga, reading and I love animals!
Elaine: Cooking, drama and swimming.
Wilko: I could talk about ice-hockey all day. I love it!
Clare: Socialising and playing netball.
Melissa: I am completely addicted to coffee.. When the coffee machine breaks it’s an absolute nightmare. I also enjoy running.
I’m sure the whole team can sympathise with that. Are there any other interesting facts you’d like to share?
Elaine: I’ve worked in a meat factory despite being a vegetarian.
Wilko: We’ve been (unofficially) voted FC’s most attractive team!
Clare: I’d like to think I invented the cava – pineapple cocktail aka, the “Wineapple”…
Ok, I won’t ask..
Which Funding Circle team would you like the next 5 minutes to be with?