“The customers’ best friend”

Anna Span, Head of Customer Relations at Telia in Sweden

Anna Span is heading Customer Relations at Telia in Sweden. Together with her team she is on a mission to make all customers happy. So, her role as a leader is to make sure that her team members have everything they need to ensure an effortless customer experience at all times.

“When I was young, I thought I wanted to become a teacher, but a short stint at Telia a summer many years ago changed my mind. I have now been here for twenty-five years, and I still love the industry, managing relations and being in contact with customers.”

Trying to make everyone happy

“Today, happiness is not just something we pursue after work, nowadays we strive to enjoy our lives from the moment we wake up until we go to bed at night. So, one of my most important goals as a leader is to make people come to work feeling that they matter and have fun. They have to feel that what they do is important and have the energy to keep their focus on our customers. I am here to lead and guide my team, to give feedback and coach them. But at the same time, I let them solve challenges and problems on their own. This is not always easy; I still enjoy being part of the team and I am always ready to jump right in and work side by side with my team. Trying desperately to only show the way forward and encouraging everyone with positive and constructive feedback.”

Using positive feedback and trust to build strong teams

“Trust and transparency are key to all team building. You need to have trust within a team. To create that mutual trust for each other, I have to fully support each individual. It is also important to provide helpful feedback, so I am super transparent to eliminate all sense of 'not knowing what’s going on' in the team.”

Keeping my ear to the ground

To stay ahead as a leader, I meet and talk to customers every week. It’s a way for me to stay up-to-date with our customers’ expectations. I have always found it interesting to work closely with customers on concrete issues. I see a lot of opportunity in those situations and I am always ready to turn every stone to make every customer’s experience with us even better.”

Next level customer experience

“To me, service goes beyond just being nice to customers. Apart from managing all existing relations, we work proactively to improve our performance. One example is how we go through all communication before a product is launched to make sure that all customers will understand the information and get the message. In a way we become the customers’ voice and use it to influence how our launches look, feel and sound.”

Improving customer relations starts with getting to know your customers. What are their needs, desires and aspirations? And if something has happened and they are disappointed, understand what has happened and what solution they want to see. Basically, you need to be there for them, in any channel they want to reach you, by phone, via e-mails, texts, or whatever method they find most convenient. And make your communication about them and their needs, not about yours. It is also sometimes wise to be clear about why things haven’t been up to scratch and why things might take some time to fix. Another way to create great customer relations is to exceed expectations. Always look for a reason to wow your customers, that’s a sure way to make them love you. One example is to avoid talking about technical stuff, and rather focus on how your customer can grow their business or lead a more relaxed life. In any relationship, it is important to ask for feedback. By getting feedback, we learn and can prevent disappointments in the future too. And finally, be swift. In today’s fast-moving world, customers expect you to come back quickly with responses to their needs.

My key advice to other leaders

I make sure everyone in my team:

  1. Knows they matter
  2. Makes a difference
  3. And has fun

Facts

Education
I have studied business management and project management at IHM Business School.

Life before Telia
Almost didn’t have any life before Telia. This year marks my 25th anniversary with the company.

Life outside work
I often find myself in my car driving to or from my daughters’ football practices. I love listening to e-books and I love to cook and have friends over.

Family
I live south of Gothenburg with my husband Christian and our two daughters, Nikki, 14 and Lexi, 9.

Something you didn´t know about me
I love to fish for crabs by the dock on the west coast of Sweden.