Building Relationships and Overcoming Challenges: International Women’s Day Interview with Áine Clarke

In honour of International Women’s Day, we present an exclusive interview with Áine Clarke – Ventac’s Customer Service and Key Account Manager. Her journey, insights, and strategies not only shine a light on the dynamic realms of her role but also stand as a testament to the invaluable contributions of women in leadership roles. Reflecting on her wealth of experience, Áine offers valuable insights into her journey, the dynamics of customer service, and the challenges and triumphs of managing key accounts.

Áine starts off by giving us an insight into her background: “I started at Ventac 18 years ago, took a brief hiatus, and returned 11 years ago. In my current role as Customer Service Manager, I’ve been serving for 11 years, overseeing a spectrum of responsibilities.

“Our high customer retention rate allows me to build lasting relationships with key customers, spanning over a decade, which I love. This, coupled with some of my past roles at Ventac, like finance and purchasing, equips me with a deep understanding of customer needs. Our familiar customer base and high retention rate mean we have very positive experiences, allowing me to connect with our customers on a more personal level.”

When asked how she balances customer service and key account management, Áine offers us some crucial strategies she employs to make sure her job is executed to a high standard: “Both customer service and key account management are demanding, so the team strategically divide roles, ensuring day-to-day tasks are distinct from broader key account goals. The compartmentalisation approach allows us to maintain a healthy balance for different challenges. I personally handle broader goals, working on customer specific projects, while my counterpart, Niamh, manages day-to-day tasks like order processing and regular queries.”

Áine employs numerous approaches to establish strong relationships with Ventac’s customers: “Our collaborative practices, like external visits and customer feedback exercises, show our commitment to understanding and addressing customer concerns. In the case of many of our customers, we have been able to revise packaging methods based on their individual needs. Being physically in their operations process on a regular basis allows us to come up with ways we can assist their workflow. We are really proud of this, because it serves as a perfect example of our dedication to delivering tailored solutions. We strive to go beyond routine interactions, ensuring that our customers feel heard and valued.”

In a world where resources, costs and materials are becoming increasingly unpredictable, Áine’s role often encounters many unavoidable complexities and challenges, which helps her navigate the overall productivity of the customer journey: “Some external factors present hurdles in how we accommodate our customers, but dependability and integrity have always served us well. In terms of dealing with global challenges like economic or supply shifts, the pandemic, war and conflict affecting supply and resource, we transparently communicate with customers by leveraging the positive relationship we work hard to keep, and collaboratively addressed concerns, involving the wider Ventac team to minimise the impact. An open dialogue allows us to adapt to challenges while preserving strong customer relationships. Maintaining this transparency has been crucial to what we do at Ventac.”

Teamwork is one of Áine’s favourite parts of her role, and often leads to the most successful projects, for example: “Our collaboration with an Irish customer on a recent VAVE project resulted in a 30% cost reduction. Combined projects like these demonstrate how working together and being creative leads to meaningful results with a lasting impact.

“I find satisfaction in completing projects and ticking them off my list. The ability to efficiently address tasks, deliver results, and move on to the next project is a rewarding aspect of my job. It supports with my overall goal of ensuring that things don’t linger, and we can progress from one accomplishment to the next. It’s all about successful transition.”

When asked what advice she would give to someone entering a role like hers, Áine imparts some words of wisdom: “Two crucial pieces of advice: never guarantee more than you can deliver, and always fulfil your promises to customers. Building trust through dependability is key to successful relationships, in all aspects of life, and in business it’s your greatest asset. If you genuinely commit to these principles, you’ll find that customers appreciate the transparency, paving the way for long-term partnerships.”

 

In closing, Áine’s wealth of experience and insights provide a glimpse into the dynamic world of customer service and key account management at Ventac. Her dedication to partnership and problem-solving serves as a blueprint for success in this challenging yet rewarding field.

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