Quite recently, we welcomed a new Commercial Manager to our Cygnific family. Her name is Melanie Stemerdink and she is one of the first people you’ll meet if you want to get to know Cygnific better. She is incredibly bubbly and social, but we are sure there is more than meets the eye. Time to sit down with her to get to know her better.
You started your career as a Communication Officer in the army. How did you end up there?
My father actually wanted me to be a lawyer, but I used to be a bit of a rebel. I saw an advertisement in the paper that the army was looking for new colleagues and I just thought ‘that’s what I will do’. They hired me, so there I went, a small young woman marching with a backpack of 15 kg and going on cold weather training in Norway. I had to deliver the same physical performance as a tall man, so that was quite hard. But I learned you’re always capable of more than you think. You just have to keep going, because then you will always get to the finish line. I also learned a lot about the importance of a team. In every team and in every organization, everyone has a task and role to play, but we are all equally important for the final goal.
It seems that you are not afraid to take on a challenge. Is that something you notice throughout your career?
Yes. I like fast-changing environments, unexpected events and complicated situations. That’s when I perform at my best. My first experience in the customer contact world was with an insurance company. As a Customer Service Manager, I was responsible for setting up an operational department from scratch for 150.000 clients. After 8 years, I moved on to another company and I worked more on relationship management for their existing clients. This was, again, a totally different challenge. My job was to keep these clients on board: I started calling them, getting to know them and then discovered what we were doing well in our cooperation and what we could improve. In the end, I managed to keep these clients on board. After running into Natalie Schwirtz, Manager Brands at Cygnific, I heard about this job opportunity as Commercial Manager which seemed to be a perfect fit with the new challenge I was looking for.
It sounds like this job combines a lot of the skills you previously gained: a bit of communication from your army years, customer contact and relationship management.
Indeed. Getting in new clients is great but keeping them on board is equally important. If our clients are happy with our cooperation, they will in turn be great ambassadors for our company.
What do you consider to be your biggest challenge at Cygnific?
I see a great company representing a lot of beautiful brands. Everyone is very friendly and helpful, and I received the warmest welcome. However, it looks like we tend to keep this to ourselves. We don’t show ourselves to the outside world that much. That’s the biggest challenge, I think. I want to show off this fantastic company and be proud of it. And I would like every potential client to think about Cygnific.
I can’t do this by myself, which is where the importance of a team comes back into play. As a team, we can achieve so many great things. Everyone has their own important role to play, with our customer service Agents at the centre of it all. They are indispensable when it comes to keeping our clients happy!