Although I had graduated from electrical engineering with a strong background in developing vision software, machine learning systems and the likes, the first job I landed was in sales. It was a company that manufactures temperature sensors and controllers. The idea of sales was daunting at first but as time went by it grew on me and I stayed in it for 12 long years. During those years I honed my skills in sales services, production coordination, purchasing, negotiating, and invoicing. I came to a point where I felt I needed to grow further in my career. Just then I came across a job advertisement at Schneider Electric. The role description instantly drew my attention. The aspects of sales and engineering combined, fit my skillset perfectly!
Embracing Change and Growth
In March 2021, I started at Schneider in Services. Going from a ten-employee company to a company of this magnitude was overwhelming at first. But I received incredible support from the Field Service Representatives (FSRs), the management, my teammates, and my manager.
In my current role as a Service Sales Engineer, I ensure that the targets we set for recurring contracts are met. And to do so, I am responsible for maintaining cordial relationships with SE’s customers. It’s not enough if we show up at our customer’s occasionally to fix something. It involves periodic visits to customers’ site to ensure everything is up and running. That builds trust and ease for us to propose the various solutions we offer. Business follows dependability and reliability!
At Services our goal is to build lasting relationships with our customers. We not only attend to our customers’ emergencies; we also proactively anticipate their needs periodically and plan and prepare in advance.
Our SE products are always part of critical industrial/business units. They need to be up and running 100% of the time. One malfunction could result in a series of setbacks for the customer. Ensuring that the SE product lasts for as long as it is supposed to and ensuring that it does not break down halfway through the customer’s investment is solely the Services’ responsibility.
In Services, there are always surprises
Each day comes with a surprise. One phone call can change what may seem like a regular day at the office with a couple of meetings on teams!
I may arrive at work with a plan to work on quotes and attend meetings. However, with a client base as large as Schneider’s, we at Services always expect the unexpected – an urgent issue, something broken, something not working and someone needing a Sales Service Representative (SSR). So, one moment I am attending a meeting and the next I am in a car heading to a customer’s factory.
No matter the time or the distance, our FSR’s are always ready to show up when a customer needs help. 19 out of 20 times we would always come up with a solution for our customer. We often get calls from customers thanking us for sending the right FSR at the right time. Often the customers are so impressed with the quality of our service that they make new purchases. Such calls and emails are always worth the effort we invest in each customer!
Skillset Required for Services
Honesty and dependability are two fundamental skills we at Services look for. When a customer reaches out to us, we need to ensure that we get back to them about it at the earliest. It is essential for the customer to be informed of what arrangements we plan to make and how we plan to resolve their issue. And each issue needs to be periodically followed up until resolved and the customer is satisfied. If something is not ready as planned or if something is unavailable, it’s essential to be honest with the client and request more time. One can never leave a client hanging without information.
Prioritizing and the ability to multi-task are also essential skills. At Services, there are always numerous tasks to attend simultaneously. One must have the ability to assess which is of highest priority and which can be worked on a little later. There would also be moments where one cannot handle a situation on their own. In such situations, help and support from fellow colleagues must always be sought.
One Cannot Know It All – Learn & Harness Collective Knowledge
Given how big Schneider is and the magnitude of its product offerings, it humanly is not possible for one person to have all the technical knowledge about everything Schneider does. I have a strong technical foundation. I always strive to be fully technically knowledgeable in my area of expertise. But still there would be cases where I lack technical knowledge in a particular area. At first it was very overwhelming. But over time, I figured that one cannot know it all. It’s all about honesty, teamwork and knowledge sharing and synergizing. When one does not know something technically, it is always best to admit it upfront and seek the person who is knowledgeable in that area. We have extremely knowledgeable FSRs who are subject matter experts. I always seize the opportunity to learn from them. The aptitude to learn is what would make a person successful in Services.
Hang in There – You’re at the Right Place with the Right People
It is understandable for a person newly joining Schneider to get overwhelmed by how massive the company is. Relax. Hang in there. You are in the right place with the right people. Proactively seek opportunities to learn. From my personal experience, Schneider offers the perfect environment to learn, grow and evolve!
I am a proud father of two children, aged 9 and 5. When the workday is done, I cherish the moments I spend with my family and indulge in my passion for fishing. The exceptional work-life balance that Schneider Electric offers has made my journey in both personal and professional realms truly fulfilling and wholesome.
Are you interested in Services Sales Engineer career at Schneider Electric like Lars? Check out our careers website for more information and for available positions to take your career journey to the next level.
About the Author
Lars Christiansen, Service Sales Engineer, Ballerup, Denmark. Lars has joined Schneider 2 years ago and is now working as Sales Service Engineer, combing 2 of his passions; sales and engineering.