What's your job like?

Zammad Diary: Johanna, Head of Sales & Support

Johanna is known for her positivity and enjoys interacting with customers and colleagues. In our Zammad diary, she tells us more about her role and her daily work routine in the permanent home office.

What is your name and position at Zammad?
Johanna Kiefer, Head of Sales and Support

What are you known for?
It's hard to say. Maybe that I always try to see everything in a positive light and that I look to the future, even if things don't look so good or if I've made a mistake. I think that experiences, even the negative ones, usually have a purpose - even if it's just to avoid a repetition.

I also often read between the lines - both with customers and in the team. However, I don't know if that's always a good thing :-D

What are you working on right now?
The biggest challenge is always the same: to stay on top of the tickets :-D My colleagues (and of course Zammad itself ^^) support me very well so that I have time for other projects on the side. Currently, these are e.g. the design of texts for our website/the blog, the support and coordination of developments and feature sponsoring projects, as well as other organizational and administrative tasks that arise on a daily basis.

What motivates you every morning?
Since we are still quite early in the process, you can do a lot with comparatively little to help Zammad (not just as a product, but as an organization in general) move forward or become better known. Each and every one of us can help advance this goal. We have a lot of freedom to implement our own ideas and to lend a hand ourselves. I find that very exciting.

I also find it fascinating that I've been processing Zammad support tickets since the very first Zammad tweet and that, despite many similar ticket processes, surprising customer inquiries keep coming in, so it never gets boring.

And of course, at the end of the day, I am most pleased when our efforts are rewarded by a "thank you" from the customer.

What do you love most about remote work? (And what's tough?)
I can work in sweatpants ;) and cook my own lunch every day. Also, it's clearly an advantage that you don't have to commute to work, so you have more spare time.

The disadvantage, of course, is that I'm actually a very sociable person and enjoy being with customers and colleagues. I really enjoy our online meetings and calls, but I'm looking forward to meeting face-to-face again.

What does your desk look like?
My desk is right by the window. I can look out onto my roof terrace, the tree in the courtyard and over the rooftops. It relaxes my eyes and senses when I'm not staring at the screen.
Unfortunately, this almost idyllic picture is often clouded by many sticky notes with my to-dos or scribbles on them, which flutter around on my desk.

Since we spend almost the whole day at the PC, I have a desk rest that moves up hydraulically. This allows me to work while standing from time to time, which I (and my back) like very much.

Do you have a passion that wouldn't be obvious from your resume?
I love to travel. Preferably to spots where there is good diving or other exciting experiences in nature.

I also like to play guitar and ukulele - even if it doesn't always sound good. But I'm an even better cook and I love to eat :-D

What is good teamwork for you?
The most important thing for me is open and honest communication. That's really essential in remote work, because we don't see each other face-to-face. That's why it's even more important to talk about things and ask questions.

I also think it's essential to talk at eye level. Everyone in the team has their task and they are all important, and that should be appreciated accordingly.

How one organizes and structures oneself beyond that is situation-specific. We are also still tinkering with various tools to find the "perfect" one for us and our joint work.

You have 1,000 unread messages and only time to respond to 50. How do you decide?
In private, by gut feeling. At work, i.e. at Zammad, according to priorities and the "oldest" contact with the customer. And then one thing at a time. I try not to do too much at once, and to finish one topic before starting the next one. Otherwise, you're likely to lose track of things quickly.

How do you evaluate your personal success?
That's a good question.
For me, personal success, both at work and in my private life, is doing what you enjoy.
If you enjoy doing something from 9-5 and you even achieve something with it, that is of course all the more fulfilling. So when I see a Zammad tester decide to become a customer after our contact, that's a huge success for me. Then at the end of the year, when I see our customer numbers grow, even more so.

How do you explain to your parents where you work and what your job is?
With my parents it's not so difficult, because they both work in IT. It's more difficult with friends or grandma ;).
I always say that we develop and maintain a program with which various organizations (from school administrations to international online stores) can structure their communication. Since that's usually too abstract, I like to give an example: When you write a message to your insurance company, you always get an automatic reply saying "Thank you for contacting us. Our staff will get back to you as soon as possible".
And in order for this message to be sent to you automatically and for the appropriate employee to get back to you, a program is needed to control all of this.

And my job, since I'm not an IT person, is to take care of the various wishes of the customers and to make them happy, so to speak.
So I make sure that the team is set up in such a way that all customers get the information they need. Whether it's questions about the application or billing. I also support customers in workshops to customize their Zammad help desk in such a way that it supports their organization most efficiently.

However, I still feel that after this clarification, most people still have a question mark on their face :-D

What feature do you find coolest about Zammad?
The text modules help me the most to send quick and comprehensive answers to customers. And the overviews to keep track of my and the team's tickets.

What makes you get up every morning and not just work in bed?
The phone is in the study, so there is no way around getting up ;). Also, I think I need the atmosphere of the study to work (productively).

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