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"Good Customer Service can be done from anywhere"


Creation date: 19 June 2020


Karlien Slot, FMC Customer Service Manager

 

For many of us the recent changes to our working environments have forced us to do things differently, we have learnt new ways to tackle challenges, and most importantly new ways to connect. For the FMC ANZ Customer Service team, the impact of COVID-19 on the way they do business has been significant, however with a strong leader like Karlien Slot, a challenge is never too big for herself and her close-knit team to overcome.

 

Growing up in the Dutch countryside, Karlien quickly understood the importance of inclusivity and caring for others in her small community, a personality trait she is most renowned for today. Shortly after moving to Australia and falling in love with the Australian agricultural community, Karlien moved from her role at Yara to join FMC as a Customer Service Representative. Describing her reasons for the move Karlien says, “when the opportunity to join FMC came about in 2017, the company was poised for growth following the DuPont acquisition. Alongside the chance to work with such a renowned portfolio of products, I was enticed by new prospects including the opportunity to develop my skills with SAP.”

 

With a degree in psychology and a passion for positive thinking, Karlien’s natural ability to lead and impact those around her shone through as she built connections with her new team and supported her former DuPont colleagues with their transition into a new workplace.

 

Fast forward to 2020, Karlien is now the FMC ANZ Customer Service Manager, supporting a team of six based in Australia and New Zealand. Speaking of her transition from a Representative to a Manager, Karlien says, “as a Customer Service Rep you are focused on the process and getting the task at hand complete, and you have your own goals to strive towards. However, as a Manager you realise the focus is on the people and not just the process – without the people a business is nothing”.

 

Within her team Karlien is creating a culture of belonging where everyone can thrive. Understanding how each of her team members work, delegating accordingly and encouraging them to be their best self, is all part of Karlien’s inclusive leadership. “Within my team we have introverts and extroverts and my role is to support the needs of all, we should not look to each other’s achievements as a benchmark for ourselves. Diversity broadens one’s vision, allows growth and evolution, we each have so much to learn and share.” Karlien’s work mottos are quite simple - learning every day, understanding each other’s challenges and working on a solution together.

 

Seeing firsthand the importance of relationship building in a Customer Service role, Karlien is eager to continue supporting her team to get out into the field and to meet customers face-to-face, hearing their pain points and ensuring that FMC are servicing our customers to cover all their needs. With the disastrous drought and bushfires of 2019/20, “it is vital for the team in customer facing roles to travel to rural areas and see firsthand the devastation caused by natural disasters to the farming community” said Karlien. “Myself and my team are continuing to build strong relationships with the FMC Commercial team, working together to support the customer best.

 

Until such time that travel can resume, and the Customer Service team can get back out into the field, Karlien is focused on navigating through the many challenges faced with the new ways of working since the pandemic started. For Karlien however, the surprising lesson has been that good customer service can be done from anywhere. “Good communication and robust IT infrastructure have made us extremely agile, for which I’m grateful and I truly think this makes a big difference in an industry as volatile as agriculture” said Karlien.

 

Since the pandemic started the entire FMC ANZ workforce have relocated to work from home, and as with many others, the Customer Service team quickly adapted to new ways of communicating with each other to ensure seamless customer service. “It has been our mission to ensure business-as-usual for our customers, perhaps even with a little more TLC – since a lot of things are uncertain during these challenging times. Seeing the team co-operate, innovate and flourish was one of the things that made me extremely proud as a leader.”

 

“I am looking forward to implement the learnings in the long run, staying close together as a business with our customers and working towards our common goals. It does look like Johan Cruyff was right - every disadvantage has its advantage.”


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