Ever wondered what’s it like to work in the multi-channel customer service of the world’s largest online store specialized in Nordic design? We talked to Matias Rahkola, a Design Sales Representative at Finnish Design Shop, who thinks the best parts of the job are solving tricky situations, versatile tasks and duties, and the unwavering support of the team.
Hi Matias! You work at Finnish Design Shop’s Customer Service team. Could you tell us what your job involves?
“I’m a Design Sales Representative in Finnish Design Shop’s Customer Service team. My primary duty is responding to customer queries that come through various channels: by phone, chat, or email.
Our customers typically contact us to ask about their orders, specific product information, or product availability. We also do sales, as our job title suggests.
We also communicate a lot internally with other Finnish Design Shop teams, like our Warehouse team, and with our partners, such as transport companies.”
What’s your team like and who’s in it?
“Our Customer Service team currently has just over 20 people, including our supervisor, Ilona. If I may say so, we’ve got a fantastic group of people on the team!
In addition to the duties we all share, many of us also have our own special responsibilities. These roles include working as a Senior Sales Support, taking care of after-sales, or maintaining our sample and material library.
My current responsibility is our online shop’s chatbot. To be able to answer our customers’ questions and serve them as efficiently as possible, the bot must first understand the questions. Our chatbot team goes through the questions asked in the chat, updates the bot’s text templates, and ‘trains’ it to answer them.”
“If I may say so, we’ve got a fantastic group of people on the team!”
What has your own career path been like?
“My educational background is in industrial design. After a few twists and turns, I started working at Finnish Design Shop about 18 months ago.
My design background has been a great advantage in my current tasks. I already knew a fair amount about the items, designers, and brands as well as the technical properties of the products – which has made my work much easier. Of course, you do pick up these things as you go along, but my experience in design certainly hasn’t done me any harm!”
What's the best thing about your work?
“The best thing is that we come across a wide variety of cases that we have to get to the bottom of. It's very rewarding to serve a customer so that afterward they feel that they’ve received superb service.
I also enjoy the challenges the job has to offer and being able to work independently. Fortunately, we also have a great team and supervisors who are always eager to help if any of us face any problems.”
“I enjoy the challenges the job has to offer and being able to work independently.”
I'm sure you also come across some very difficult situations. How do you handle them?
“We do indeed face challenging situations from time to time. They may be about issues with the delivery or the customer needing help to assemble the product. It's also a challenge in itself that we often act as a link between the customer and, say, the transport company, with regard to problems with the delivery, for example.
You learn to handle all these scenarios through experience, little by little. We also have our own guidelines on how you should proceed in cases like this. You don't have to solve difficult situations all on your own, the team is always there to help you. What I can say for sure is that whatever the problem, eventually we will always find a solution.”
How has the pandemic affected your work at the online store’s customer service?
“The pandemic moved us from the office into our homes. We have several members in our team who joined us during the pandemic and have been working from home all along! Fortunately, we have noticed that this arrangement has worked well, and working remotely has not slowed us down in any way.
However, many of us do yearn to finally be able to see our co-workers. Once the pandemic eases off again, we will adopt a hybrid system, meaning that we can work from home or the office, whichever is more convenient. This is brilliant because the new Finnish Design Shop warehouse that was completed last fall also has fantastic new office premises. They are waiting for us – and we long for them!”
And lastly, we’d like to hear a design tip: what is your favorite product among the Finnish Design Shop assortment and why?
“I’m very fond of many classics and a great fan of Alvar Aalto, Eero Aarnio, or Ray and Charles Eames, for example.
But as a big-time audiophile, I must say the Hi-Fi and audio products by Genelec. State-of-the-art sound reproduction through minimalistic speakers designed by Harri Koskinen. I can warmly recommend, for example, the active speakers of the G Two series.”
Text: Emmi Ratilainen and Mikko Vaija Images: Suvi Kesäläinen