A Bridge Between Clients and Fides Services: Q&A with Edar Dos Santos - Head Client Services
In the six years he has been at Fides, Edar Dos Santos has shown that he’s more than capable of taking on any challenge. Starting off as a senior client services and operations representative, Edar was first promoted to department deputy, then became Fides’ Head Client Services in December 2019.
In his role as Head Client Services at Fides, Edar manages a team of seven client service staff, making sure customers’ needs are met and any problems are resolved quickly. Or as he puts it, “I am the bridge between our clients and our services to ensure clients satisfaction together with my team.”
We chatted with Edar about his role at Fides, what it is like to work for a customer-centric organization, and the effect the pandemic has had on providing client services.
As Head Client Services, what do your responsibilities include?
I am responsible for developing policies and procedures to speed resolution of clients’ issues and ensure client satisfaction. I supervise and review the activities of every client services employee, to ensure they comply with our standards and objectives. It’s extremely important that my employees deliver a courteous and polite client service experience, so I also maintain regular contact with our clients to make sure they are satisfied with the service they are receiving.
I am also responsible for hiring, orienting, and training Client Service department employees. I believe that the most valuable asset in any company is the employees, so it’s important to me to motivate my team and create a great working environment. I always have an open door for my employees.
How many active clients/tickets would your team be working with at any time?
We closed more than 35,000 tickets in 2020 — an average of 2859 tickets a month, or 715 tickets per week, or 143 tickets per day. Under normal circumstances, an employee handles approximately 21 tickets per day, plus phone calls. This number is a bit lower than 2019, which is actually more impressive than it sounds, as we have continued to onboard new customers and achieve a double-digit client growth year by year.
How easy or difficult is it to resolve support issues?
As a joke, I always say, “I have to know if our client is wearing red shoes or a blue t-shirt” because it’s important to provide personal service. Each client is different — there is no one-size-fits-all response. Even if a client is using our standard setup, the process on their side may be different than that of another client who is using the exact same Fides setup. That’s another reason why it’s so important for all of us to get to know our clients and their expectations, and why I make sure to participate in monthly calls with clients.
It actually goes beyond knowing the clients. Each client services representative actually needs to know a little bit about every part of the Fides business and processes. They need to know what the implementation manager handles, what the project manager does, when to get the relationship manager involved. Knowing the business also is very helpful for career opportunities — say a client services representative wants to become an account manager or project manager; it’s a lot easier to get that job and do it effectively if they already know how things work.
What hours does Fides offer support, and in what languages?
We provide coverage 24×5 (Monday-Friday) via phone and email, which means that the working shifts needs to be well-planned and organized. We provide service in German, English, French and Italian, and also have employees who speak Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish.
How has the pandemic affected client services?
While the pandemic changed the way the team worked, I’m pleased to say that our services did not experience any disruption and from the clients’ perspective, everything was “business as usual.”
Working remotely created some internal challenges, but nothing that we weren’t able to handle. We used to work in an open plan office, where every employee could learn about every problem, client case and phone call — and it was easy to just walk over and ask questions of IT when needed. After COVID-19 hit but before the first lockdown, we changed to a group split work schedule, where half of the team was working from home for two weeks and the other group was going regularly to the office, then switching roles for the next two weeks. That helped us prepare a bit for everyone working remotely — but it’s still harder without having everyone in the same room.
During our regular team meetings, we brainstormed on ideas for ways to improve our methods and communications to better work within this changed environment. This resulted in a daily morning conference call where the team shares information on their tasks, and a social video call on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays so we can all “see” each other and maintain team spirit.
How do you measure success?
One measure, of course, is that we fully meet our clients’ expectations, together with our internal and personal KPI’s. We need to be fully compliant and met every audit point.
I also consider team satisfaction and individual career growth to be important success metrics. Any company needs highly motivated employees to be successful and grow. It’s important to maintain a workplace environment where all the employees feel satisfied and fulfilled. My slogan therefore would be: FIDES: THE WORKPLACE TO BE IN!
What is it about Fides that makes you so passionate about the company?
From my first day as a client services representative, it was clear to me that I made the right decision to start working at Fides. Client satisfaction is very important to everyone here. And every single employee contributes to the business.
As Fides is a medium-sized company, we get things done much faster than large organizations. It was initially a challenge to learn all the different internal tools and to build my own network within the company, but I appreciate the fact that I can see how I and my team make a positive impact.
Meet & greet meetings with all the Fides board members, including our CEO, are common. We have lunch learning meetings and individual meetings to discuss various business topics. Not only are employee contributions and opinions welcome, our CEO actively seeks them out. Anyone can go to him with any idea or solution, and he is always interested and supportive.
I identify with these values, and believe in Fides’ products and solutions.