A day in the life of a Veritek Account Manager: Interview with Sara Spearman
Sara Spearman is an Account Manager for Veritek, a company that provides after-sales services, including installation, planned maintenance, repair, and refurbishment.
Sara began her career with Veritek in 2005 as a customer services agent. A promotion led her to manage Veritek’s customer service team and parts management. After that, Sara moved into New Business. From there, she made a natural move into account management, responsible for looking after the needs of Veritek’s graphics sector OEM customers.
Most mornings, I wake up at about 7 am. Then, I get my eight-year-old daughter up.
Some mornings I take my daughter for a gentle 20-minute run. We enjoy it as it wakes us up, energises us and prepares us for the day.
On other days, my daughter completes her homework, we have breakfast, and we take a short walk to the end of our street and school.
As an Account Manager, I aim to ensure that my OEM customers’ needs are understood and satisfied.
My work involves maintaining and expanding customer relationships while ensuring my company meets their needs. I manage customer service levels and service level agreements (SLAs), day-to-day escalations, and reporting.
A typical day begins with organising and prioritising tasks. I check my emails, identify urgent customer requests, and prepare for upcoming meetings.
I like using electronic sticky notes on my desktop to make lists and manage my time. I can organise my sticky notes, categorise them, and keep referring back to them.
Also, I use Outlook to block out time to carry out tasks and meet customer deadlines.
After that, I spend most of my day communicating with customers. Because my portfolio spans Europe, every SLA I manage has different priorities and pricing and involves different people and cultures.
To meet my customers’ expectations, I must communicate effectively with different nationalities and know they all have different means of getting things done.
Some of my customer interactions take the form of a customer review. It’s a meeting Account Managers hold to check customer satisfaction, address concerns, and ensure we meet their expectations.
To prepare, I gather data on Veritek’s performance against the service level agreement (SLA).
Furthermore, if required, I can data mine and report in granular detail. To illustrate, I can report on the following:
- How long it takes us to respond to customers’ requests.
- How long it takes our field engineers to get to site.
- Mean time to repair.
- Engineer travel times, distances travelled and costs.
- Seasonal peaks in demand.
Unsurprisingly, for my graphics sector customers, demand for maintenance and service increases with awareness days such as Christmas, Mother’s Day, etc.
Elsewhere, we see install peaks affected by financial quarters.
Our OEM customers value the reports our account managers provide on the utilisation of engineers. It benefits our customers and us if our trained engineers get sufficient exposure to the equipment we look after.
Also, if a customer is paying for a fixed resource, we want to show our customers how much value they get from that resource.
If a job doesn’t go to plan, we’ll discuss whether our engineers need more training or how we can give them more experience in resolving issues.
Depending on our customers’ location, customer review meetings occur over Microsoft Teams or in person at our customers’ sites. Sometimes, our customers visit our HQ in Eastbourne.
Continual Improvement Process
Every month, my Account Manager colleagues and I take part in a Continual Improvement Process Meeting. Here Veritek’s customer-facing operations and commercial teams gather to discuss any issues raised, their root cause, and the best way to resolve them. Having the opportunity to talk with people with a wealth of experience around a table helps me effectively liaise with my customers.
Putting together quotes
Sometimes my customers ask me to put together quotes for additional work arising from developments in their businesses. Putting together a quote involves assessing the OEMs’ needs, its customers’ needs, and the locations where they need our services.
Then again, not all quotes are straightforward. Recently, I had to quote for installing a large screen on a yacht. Because yachts aren’t static or stable, the engineer might need to use specific equipment. So, I need to understand the project’s complexities. And the cost of getting our engineers to and from the job.
Compiling CSR reports
Some customers contractually oblige us to provide quarterly CSR (corporate social responsibility) reports.
For example, one of my accounts is a global printing technology manufacturer that aims to be carbon neutral in its operations by 2025. To achieve its target, the company needs to build a sustainable supply chain.
As a holder of an EcoVadis Silver Medal for Sustainability Management and Performance, Veritek can demonstrate its commitment to delivering after-sales services ethically, sustainably, and profitably.
Keeping abreast of industry trends
Market knowledge helps me to anticipate needs, establish my credibility and provide value for my customers.
So, I attend exhibitions and events when I can. They allow me to meet my customers and see them demonstrate the latest developments in their equipment.
In addition, I use LinkedIn to stay updated on the latest technology and customer news.
At the end of the day
My job as an Account Manager involves juggling multiple responsibilities, consuming lots of information, and building strong customer relationships.
So, after switching my laptop off, I relax and spend time with my family. (Having said that, I try not to get nervous when my daughter participates in aerial acrobatics classes!)
As the evening winds down, my family enjoy looking at boats on a walk around the harbour. Then after my daughter goes to bed, a TV programme called Race Around The World provides pure escapism. In it, five pairs of travellers participate in a race, taking them through many countries. However, there is a catch, the pairs cannot take planes, must leave behind their smartphones and credit cards, and will not have access to the internet.
Although I’m a night owl, I think about going to bed at 10 pm, so I’m fresh for another busy day.
Thank you for your time, Sara! Where can people connect with you?
You can connect with me on LinkedIn or via Veritek’s website at www.veritekglobal.com.
Our new datasheet identifies four areas industrial print manufacturers can drive customer satisfaction in after-sales services.
You can download it here.
This blog is relevant to the following Veritek industry sector verticals: