The Commercial Team at Zafire Group has been expanding in recent months and the latest high flier to join the team on 1 November 2021 is Claire Roberts, Key Account Manager. Claire has 20 years’ involvement in sales and customer service environments, and a wealth of knowledge and experience of complex account management, pre-sales, and successful business retention and growth. As you can imagine, we’re feeling extremely lucky to have her on board here at Zafire’s HQ in Banbury, UK.
We caught up with Claire after six weeks in her new role to find out how she is settling in at Zafire Group, what her new role entails, and to get a little bit better acquainted with her both personally and professionally.
What drew you to Zafire Group Ltd?
My professional experience to date has been in office supplies and logistics. I was drawn to Zafire Group Ltd because it plays a key role in the software and aviation industries, as well as service management. Software and aviation, in particular, are industries which have always held a fascination for me.
What does your role at Zafire involve?
As Key Account Manager, I work closely with my line manager, Chris, Business Growth Manager, in the Commercial Team. I’m responsible for growing and developing existing accounts, and seeking further opportunities to increase revenue. It’s all about building customer relationships to maintain our existing client base.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m yet to have a typical day, every day is different! Over the last six weeks or so, I’ve been undergoing training on all our Smart intelligent service management software products and global aviation software solutions to enhance my knowledge. I’ve also been gradually getting to know all our existing customers.
What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far?
Believe it or not, in my late teens, I began experiencing panic attacks. People always say to me that they would never have guessed I have to deal with anxiety because I typically come across as a very confident person. Over the years, I’ve learned that, for me personally, it helps to be open about it and to talk about it. I also feel it is important to do this in order to help overcome the stigma around mental health issues. I’ve found my own way of dealing with anxiety by being organized and having structure in my life: big life changes, such as a new job or a house move, no longer affect me in the way that they would have in the past.
What is the most important thing you have learned professionally in your career to date?
I was promoted in my twenties in a previous role and one of my key responsibilities was managing people. It was a big learning curve as I’d always thought that ‘one size fits all’ when it came to managing staff but I learned pretty quickly that it’s incredibly important to adapt your line management style to fit each individual. A blanket approach doesn’t work if you want to bring out the best in people: you have to figure out what management strategy works best for each individual. We’re all very different, after all.
What is your personal philosophy?
I believe that it’s vital to treat others as you wish to be treated yourself. Both professionally and personally, it’s important to be mindful of other people’s feelings and be respectful at all times. Even something as simple as immediately acknowledging an email, even if you can’t actually deal with its contents there and then, helps to build trust and respect. I also believe in being honest and truthful, especially in the face of any interpersonal challenges: it’s much easier to resolve a difficult or awkward situation if you are willing to talk through any issues honestly.
We’re huge advocates of mobile technology here at Zafire: what music is on your smart phone?
My young daughter’s music is on my smart phone! She loves dancing so a lot of the tracks are current pop songs but there are also plenty of children’s songs. I’m more of a radio person: I love having the radio on in the background first thing in the morning and usually listen to one of the breakfast shows that combines chat and the latest tracks.
Zafire Group is well known in the world of commercial aviation, enabling passengers to get to their favourite destinations as smoothly as possible: where is the best place you’ve travelled to and why?
I had a fantastic trip to Australia in 2007. It was something completely different for me as I went hostelling with a bunch of friends I flew out to meet over there. We were on the road for a couple of weeks, exploring Down Under and all it had to offer. It was a highly memorable, unique experience, totally amazing, in fact!
We’re an innovative aviation and service management software company so, we have to ask, which innovation would you most want in your life?
I’d love someone to invent a robot to do all the tidying up at home, so the innovation I most want in my life has to be a robot housekeeper!
You recently travelled to Prague, Czech Republic for IATA’s Ground Handling Conference (IGHC): what was it like to represent Zafire Group Ltd at this event?
It was really exciting and highly enjoyable to represent Zafire at IGHC, and it was my first time in Prague as well. It was a privilege to be given such a fantastic opportunity so early in my role and I felt very honoured to be there. It gave me an insight into the aviation industry and a better understanding of our business. Some of our existing customers were there, too, and it was great to meet them and hear them talk so positively about Zafire. It was clear that our customers value the personal touch which is diligently bestowed on all professional relationships by the team at Zafire, and which is very different, of course, from the highly transactional nature of customer relationships more typical of the corporate world. Zafire forges genuine, caring partnerships with customers and I think that’s absolutely brilliant! After we’d worked hard for the duration of the event, we were lucky to have the opportunity to do some sightseeing in Prague and sample the local food and beer, so all in all it was a highly enjoyable trip.
Thank you, Claire, and best of luck in your new role!