Natalia Harakka is one of our passionate Sales Development Representatives. When she's not exploring the world (or the sand dunes of Haarlem), Natalia is exploring ways to help organisations solve their internal communication challenges and deliver memorable customer experiences.
Natalia, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed! Let’s start with a fun question: what is the last song that you listened to on your phone?
OH MY GOD! *Laughs*
It was Angola, by Cesária Évora.
That sounds exotic, where is Cesária from?
Cape Verde, and she sings in Portuguese. But I only listen to her when I’m alone.
Now tell me a little bit about yourself? Where were you born and raised?
Okay, let’s start with the end. The Netherlands is my fourth country, and before that I was living in Madrid, Spain. I grew up in Finland, but the first ten years of my life I grew up in Russia.
And about myself, I like to live a balanced lifestyle. I like to say that I’m very “normal”. I like sport… a little bit. I like to meet friends… a little bit. I like my alone time, whether it’s reading a book, or watching TV. A little bit of everything!
And exactly where do you live now?
Haarlem, lovely Haarlem!
Can you tell me what you do here at Speakap
I’m opening up a new market in the UK, by connecting with professionals that could benefit from the solution that we provide.
And what attracted you to this role?
Well, the first time I had contact with the co-founders... it just felt right!
My first impression of Speakap was very positive, and then of course I researched the product and I loved where they were coming from. When you’re in sales, it’s important to be passionate about what you sell. I was extremely impressed by the clients Speakap already had in the European market - which really speaks for itself.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
That my work doesn’t just come to me - I have to create my own work. Most of what we do is proactive by reaching out to people who we think could benefit from our service. From nothing you create something; you create an opportunity, business potential!
What are some of the common challenges you hear about when it comes to internal comms in the UK?
One of the most common challenges that I hear is “how do you reach every employee in your company, instead of just the store managers?”. On the flip side, I also hear that people are hesitant to use an enterprise social network because it creates a lot of noise, and its difficult to only address the right groups and people.
Our solution addresses both of those concerns, which reassures me that we have a product that actually helps our clients; it’s not just another complicated layer.
I’m still surprised by the number of companies I speak to that don’t have a system or solution in place to reach their frontline employees. They’re still trying to communicate in the old fashioned way by notice board or printed paper.
What happens if there is an emergency, or an urgent product recall? So many businesses with a deskless workforce simply don’t have a way to immediately reach out to every person in the organisation, which is a vast contrast from the hyperconnected world we live in.
And more specifically to the retail industry: what do you see as a hot topic right now?
Retailers are really challenged by how to find new revenue streams: that’s why customer experience is more important than ever before. Although customer experience has become a buzzword, and everyone knows it’s important, only a few brands have actually mastered it.
So, which companies have mastered customer experience?
Companies like Rituals or Lush, that provide personalised and specialised customer service to compliment their product range. They consistently deliver the same level of service and product knowledge through all their employees, in all locations. Whether you’re in New York, or Amsterdam, you know what to expect.
What do you love about working here at Speakap?
Colleagues is the number one.
Comradery amongst colleagues is second.
Now let’s add another “C”... the Casual feeling around our office!
When you’re not working, where can we find you?
Finding any excuse to travel, or taking long walks in the Dutch dunes.
And do you have any upcoming holidays planned?
No actual holidays, but I have family visits and short weekend trips to visit friends planned.
If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
Well, if I could live anywhere else in the world, I’d already live there!
Thank you Natalia!
Written by Louise Blair
G'Day mate! All the way from "down under" Louise has joined Speakap to help businesses to build better relationships with their workforce. When she's not busy producing the Frontline podcast, you might catch her running... while listening to a podcast. (Disclaimer: she has never actually said "G'day Mate" in her entire life)