July 23, 2019

Curious Minds: An Interview with Renata Kashiwaya Pinheiro, Director of Client Experience

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Customer experience is the beating heart of every business. Renata Kashiwaya Pinheiro, the Director of Client Experience has come up with an innovative way to keep the blood pumping. Leading a team of experts in consumer insights, data analysis and client relationships, she has created the Attest Centre of Excellence (ACE); a team that is dedicated to changing the face of customer experience. 

We sat down with Renata to learn more about the challenges of her role and what she does to stay on her toes in a fast paced environment like Attest.

What is the best thing about being the Director of Client Experience at Attest?

There are so many great things. The team runs the Attest Centre of Excellence. It is amazing to see how it went from being one person, who was me at the start, to a team of ten people. The best thing is seeing the growth which allows us to help clients to use and understand Attest better. Watching the team grow and mature over the years has been fantastic!

How we help other people achieve their goals and how we actually help to change their professional lives.

What is the biggest challenge of your role?

Time! We want to help everyone and we want to give each customer dedicated, tailored attention. We straddle so many teams and functions, it is quite challenging to find the time. Because of that we are constantly growing. By bringing new software on board, I am trying to automate processes that do not need a human, to make sure that we give dedicated time to people who need the human touch. But that is a constant evolution. 

What makes client experience at Attest so special compared to other companies?

Client experience is usually very heavily linked with support, which is one of the things we tried to change at ACE. We don’t do the traditional, “here is a ticketing system, here is your queue, we will address your query in a certain amount of time.” We bring a level of expertise, which is why it is the Attest Centre of Excellence. ACE means that everyone who is part of the team is an expert in the field. Whether it is research or data or understanding consumers and client relationships. 

This means that we don’t just give clients support, but also expert recommendations. We help them to uncover new ways of working. As a team we are not measured on the number of tickets closed or time taken to solve an issue, which are the usual support metrics. We measure the things that we care about: how many outcomes have we helped our clients to achieve in a monthly or weekly period? Was it what they expected? Could we have done better? And this is what it makes us so different from other client experience teams. 

What is the best thing about working at Attest today?

This is really difficult, how can I pick one best thing?

I love the atmosphere when you come into the office. I love that everyone here is dedicated to making this work. Helping each other, doing their best, collaborating for the purpose of helping our clients make better decisions. I think that stems from the top, Jeremy and Tony and how they set the company up to grow. It’s always a joy to work with them and therefore it is a joy for everyone to come into the office. Also, it’s great that everyone in the office actually makes a difference. I come from a corporate background, but here we don’t have seat warmers and if you don’t do your job it will have an impact. Here everyone matters and makes a difference. 

Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking about working for a scale-up like Attest?

Definitely do it! If I knew scale-ups existed when I was younger, I would have never gone to a corporate environment. If you want a job that’s going to be challenging, exciting, diverse, dynamic and allow you to make a difference, scale-ups are the place to be. You need to work hard, but the rewards are so worth it. 

My personal view is that you should definitely work at a scale-up because you learn and grow so much more. I have learned more in my time at Attest than during my time at bigger companies.

What do you do to stay sane in such a fast paced company and fast paced role?

So many things! 

We spend most of our time at work and I think it is so important to make sure you are working with people that lift you up when you are down. What we have at Attest is just that, everyone here is so supportive. ACE is a very close-knit family and I think that it helps us to keep each other sane. One of our house rules is that “a day without laughter is a day wasted.” We try to find joy in every moment, and that is what keeps us sane. 

I also like to chill out with a really nice book, music and have a little bit of me time. Time to recharge and remember that life is not all about the job.

What do you want to get better at?

So many things! Can I give you top 20?

I want to become a better teacher, not in a traditional school and classroom setting, but I think there are a lot of lessons I’ve learned throughout my career, because I’ve had a diverse exposure to lots of different people. I want to become better at sharing these insights with my team so they don’t have to get there the hard way. 

This is a more personal development, but I am a compulsive problem solver (this is a no judgement zone, right?). If I spot a problem I will be compelled to do something about it. If someone is having a bad time, how can I fix this, or how can I help them to be happier? Sometimes I jump to the solution too quickly. I need to understand what in the ecosystem caused this issue and how can we work better to fix this. 

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self? 

At 18 I  had just moved to England from Brazil. So I would definitely tell her that she will fall in love with England and never want to leave. Despite the fact that I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, I found my way in the end. I think most people don’t know what they want to do at 18, and I would tell myself to be very honest about the things that matter to you and not try to force something to work just because you risk losing something. This helped me get to where I am today. Doing things I really love and that matter to me, I feel I am influencing people’s lives. 

What is the most inspiring thing you’ve read or watched recently?

This is very cheesy, but I often find a lot of inspiration in children’s cartoons and movies. I think there is something about Disney or Ghibli and their simple messages like “be kind to people” or “if you try and learn, and you fail, then you get up again.” I think those can be quite inspiring in a pure and innocent way. 

The messages that we as adults don’t tend to pay attention to anymore.

Finally, if you could have anything in the world, what would you pick as a starter, main and dessert?

I am half Japanese and half Brazilian. My two favourite things are Japanese food and Brazilian food. I would definitely have Pão de queijo or Pastel as a starter. These are Brazilian snacks. Then I would have a Kaeseki, which is a traditional Japanese main dish. This is essentially made up of a few little meals, which is kind of cheating but it is the main meal. For dessert, I would definitely have an ice-cream sundae.

Next steps…

At Attest we love helping clients drive growth within their organisations in a faster, more effective way than ever thought possible. To make this a reality, Renata and the ACE team are at the forefront of making sure that our clients squeeze all of the truly useful stuff out of their consumer research. Whether you’re an existing customer looking to launch a new project, or are looking to use Attest for the first time, get in touch with us to find out more.