Meet the Experts: A Day in the Life of Professional Services Culture

By Gemma Cooper on June 11th 2015

We recently launched the new Expert Hours service (read all about it here). We thought you might want to meet these experts we’ve been talking of, so in this series we’ll be getting to know the different teams.

First up, Professional Services Team Lead, Gemma, talks you through a day in the life of Professional Services. 


Daily tasks for us in the Professional Services team are pretty varied – just like our team members.

There are 11 of us full-time staff in the team, spread across the Brandwatch HQ in Brighton and our newly revamped office in the Prenzlauer Berg area of Berlin. Within the full time team we’re not just English and German, we’re also Polish, Spanish, French and Japanese, and our 60+ freelance validators cover 27 languages.

We all come from varied backgrounds, a real mixed bag – from an ex-audio producer with a degree in Information Systems (that’s Tristan, below) to previous experience in marketing and law.

In Brighton we have separate teams that work on pre- and post-sales projects, made up of Sales Engineers and Project Managers. 

The Sales Engineers support with configuring setups for prospects trialling our Vizia or Analytics platforms and design setup solutions for various social media monitoring objectives, which are then passed to the Post Sales team to implement as part of the client onboarding programme. 

As well as working on these onboarding projects, the post-sales team also work closely with our Account Managers to make recommendations about how Expert Hours clients can best use their monthly subscription hours. We also have a Validator Manager who, as the name would suggest, is responsible for managing all our freelance validators.

We commission our freelancers a lot of projects from Query and Rule creation to manually assigning sentiment for our clients. We have had four alone marking up every single mention of one of our automotive brand clients in English for three years – one of them working 30 hours a week solely on this project. There’s not a lot they don’t know about that particular car brand!

In Berlin we have a smaller team of 3 people, who between them cover all pre- and post-sales setup requests – you’ll hear more from this team in a future post. I was fortunate to work in the Berlin office for two years, initially training and supporting the new commercial team members on how to use the Brandwatch platform, before progressing to head of the professional services team over there.

I came back to the Brandwatch mothership in Brighton at the beginning of this year.


Working through our priorities

We’ll begin our day by logging into our project collaboration and management software tool and check on current project status and upcoming milestones or deadlines. We’ll then make a plan for the day, put our headphones on – apart from when attending meetings of course – and get stuck into our work.

There will be tasks of different sizes and deadlines, so being organized is a must – we’ll then all check in with each other and let each other know our priorities for the day.

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The tasks we take on everyday can be anything from creating a whole set-up according to a client brief, reviewing an existing set-up, undertaking a whole overhaul of Queries for a client, to auditing what they are doing already and making recommendations on what they can improve. 

Expert Hours currently makes up around 15-20% of our workload, with clients requiring anything from four hours a month to 40 hours of our time, so we need to be flexible.

Mid-morning I might start doing some proof of concept work. This is when a client has an idea on what they want to achieve using social listening, but might not know how to make it happen.

As an example, a client (I can’t name, sadly!) recently wanted to see if they could gain insights into the stages of their consumers path-to-purchase and feed the results back to their product and marketing teams. We came up with an approach that they really liked and accepted to trial. From this setup solution they discovered some very useful social intelligence about why some consumers decide not to purchase their products.

If it hadn’t worked, we could have tweaked the way we did it, or scrapped the idea altogether and moved on to a different project.


We love falafel

As a team, we’ll tend to grab lunch together as we all have similar tastes – we love food!

We have a big kitchen and great breakout area here in the Brighton office, so we’ll consult each other around mid morning via our group Skype chat and plan from which of the many great lunch places nearby we’re going to get lunch from to bring back and eat together in the breakout area.

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We’re big fans of chicken katsu or yakisoba from Kokoro, or falafel wraps from We Love Falafel – with added halloumi and avocado if we’re feeling like an added treat. 

After polishing off some lunch, we might need to update the sales and the account managers on the status of projects we’re currently working on, attend a project scoping meeting or setup handover call with a client face to face or via webex, or check-in with one of our Expert Hours clients to ensure they are utilizing their hours properly and effectively.

When clients aren’t sure of what to use their Expert Hours towards, we can offer suggestions based on experience and multiple different use-cases we have configured setups for previously.


Working with freelancers across the globe

Throughout the day we’ll also be communicating with our freelancers if clients require setup configured in a language not spoken by one of the team.

We chat mainly via email, but sometimes they’ll visit the offices to be briefed. The backgrounds of our freelancers are totally varied; some are stay-at-home parents, some are students, some have been part of the Brandwatch family since the very beginning – so we have great relationships with them all, which is really important.

As the day comes to a close, we might arrange to pop out for a drink after work and debrief. We also have lots to discuss that isn’t work related – Josefina, one of our Project Managers, is getting married in Madrid at the end of this month and we’re all travelling over for it, so there’s a lot of planning to discuss.

We may also be partial to some karaoke, but you’d have to visit us on a Friday night to find out!

After some down-time, we’ll head home. Most of us live locally – another of our Project Managers, Chris (the guy in the checked shirt in the picture above) lives on a boat so he has to head over to the marina.

And then, we do it all again – but no day is ever the same. The variety of work is great as it means we can never get tired of our projects, and working with our clients is always great fun.


 

Now you know™


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Gemma Cooper

@gcooperisms

Gemma is a Project Manager / Boolean Query Wizard at Brandwatch. Also owner of Pip the cockapoo, Brandwatch Berlin's CCO (Chief Canine Officer).