Spotlight on... Kerry, Digital Community & Operations Manager
Octopus Energy is made up of 1000+ fantastic people working on stuff you'd never expect, all pushing hard towards a shared goal: driving the global green energy revolution. In our Spotlight series, we'll introduce you to some of the brilliant people behind the scenes.
Today we're talking to Kerry, Digital Community & Operations Manager who works remotely from Stonehaven, Scotland heading up Octopus' crack team of social media whizzes. She makes sure customers who chat to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (and basically anywhere else online) have a stellar experience.
So Kerry, how would you describe yourself and your role in a few sentences?
I’m an Operations manager for our remote team of energy specialists, which includes our wonderful Community Managers. At the heart of it, the Community Management team exists to look after our energy customers who like to use social media to get in touch. We make sure we get back to everyone, that our response is personal to them and really genuine. It’s a really varied (and brilliant) job.
No two days are the same (which I love) and I can be answering customers on Twitter one minute, having a Google Hangout with a member of the team to discuss an account the next, and then working on team development right after that. My aim is to have teams and team members who love their job as much as I do and who delight in impacting our customers’ lives for the better.
How did you come to join Octopus?
I read up on the company and valued their ethics surrounding green energy and their high goals for customer service. The fact that they were a tech company working in the energy space excited me - no more outdated systems or waiting months (or ever) for a small update! This combined with the fact that they valued open, honest and ‘human’ conversations meant I knew I could bring my love of helping people and solving problems to the team and help be part of the change.
In a broader sense, I was a teacher in a previous life, went on to have four children and then needed to change my career to suit what I wanted out of life (being around more and not being restricted to school terms and times). I re-trained as a Social Media Manager and worked for various clients in different sectors. Octopus were fairly new when they were looking to expand their remote team to support customers outside of ‘normal’ working hours. I started working part time and then after a year (those tentacles were too strong…) I went full time and began to manage my own team of 20 amazing people in the Community Management team. I’m now an Operations Manager and look after our wider Digital Operations Teams, alongside our Community Managers.
What’s it like working at Octopus?
Working at Octopus is unique. I’ve never worked for such an interesting, fast paced, human company. One of the best things is the ability to work flexibly. Luckily Octopus doesn't see becoming a parent as the end. We have many, parents who work here, carving out their own career at the same time as caring for their kids, and the community management team is one of many places where mums like me have started by working part-time, evening, and weekend cover, and are now spread across the business and leading teams of our own. It means we can give our all to our work at times that suit us.
You really do get back what you give. It’s not an easy role at all but the people and the support from across the whole business is unbeatable and makes it such an enjoyable place to work. It’s not a place to work if you like stability in your role, we change fast, and often. This allows for the challenge, variety and growth that I value. I joined them looking for a ‘job’ that worked and now can’t ever see me leaving, now I have such a brilliant career.
What’s it been like building the community team and how we do social media care at Octopus differently?
As we build the team, we’re driven by the desire to give our customers what they want. As the business grew so did our social media following. More and more customers, or potential customers, wanted to chat to us via Facebook and Twitter. That became too much for one person to manage so we decided to build a dedicated team. We now have an ever-growing group who focus mainly on public comments while another team picks up private messages. Everybody is trained following Octopus’ successful model, where they start by learning everything they can about the energy industry. We don’t have departments, which means the Community Manager who picks up your query on Twitter will know as much as if you email or call us. They can then fix most account issues out there and then some. This means we can respond to every query that comes through really quickly.
Why are we different? Our fully dedicated, super fast team is able to help customers every day from 8am to 10pm. We read every single comment and genuinely want to help everyone that comes through to us via social media. They also have a great sense of humour!
Why did you decide to work in energy and sustainability?
I knew nothing about the energy industry and had never even read a meter before I joined Octopus. Being able to work for a company that wanted to make energy greener, cheaper and use tech to empower customers interested me. To have a job that makes a difference to our world, feeds my brain and is super flexible is a win win. Very quickly Octopus Energy has managed to become a part of my soul.
Your most memorable day at work?
There are days when I manage to pick up the right tweet at the right time - I’m always impressed by how funny and clever our customers can be. You quickly start to get a feel for the ‘regulars’ and they always make coming into work every day a joy.
Another memorable day at work was when we had our Family Dinner and Former US Vice-President and Green Pioneer Al Gore sent us a personal message saying how proud he was with what we were doing. It was quite emotional and really solidified that we are really going to change the world.
What are you looking forward to?
In March I applied for a space in the 'Amazing If Advocate Awards' which is recognising 100 people who are proactively taking action in career development ... and I got through! I’ll soon start a fully funded 12-month learning programme with Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis (who wrote 'The Squiggly Career', covering progression, purpose and personal brand. I'm going to be working with them on making sure everyone can be a learner and a teacher, prioritizing talents over titles and helping people explore career possibilities!
Something you might not know about the Community Management team…?
Soo much - they are all amazing in my eyes. They never fail to amaze me at the speed with which they help our customers, and each other.
The camaraderie is a joy and I feel proud of them every single day for the amount of passion they have for their role. We have a team channel where they share amazing customer feedback for each other (they do love a public shout out on Twitter) and the amount of support they give each other makes the team really precious, especially when we’re all working remotely.
Time for a quick fire round! What's the most challenging part of your job?
I definitely still get ‘the fear’ when dealing with unreasonable/abusive people on Twitter.
What's the best part of your job?
When customers take the time to come back and say how much you have helped them.
Do you know your Octopus Energy hold song?
No way! This is actually one of my favourite songs! "Love Is All Around" by Wet Wet Wet. Those tech guys are good...
Any personal stuff. Unusual skills/hobbies?
I live near the beach in Scotland and love to paddleboard.
People using ‘bare’ instead of ‘bear’, hearing people eat, tomato sauce on macaroni cheese, leaving empty toilet roll tubes in the bathroom, walking past things at the bottom of the stairs, the size of chocolate bars nowadays, leaving lights on, lateness, partner watching the next part of a box set without you… is that enough????
Do you have an unusual skill?
Keeping my four energetic boys alive each day OR I can actually use my indicators when driving. I think it’s a rare skill nowadays.
What's a social cause you care about?
Since having children I’ve definitely become more focused on how we can impact our environment. Looking at the changes we can make to what we use and how and being less wasteful at home is a start. In work I’m a huge advocate of using tech to help people use energy more efficiently. Helping customer to change their energy habits contributes massively to our mission of working towards a low carbon society. I love discussing this with our customers and love it even more when they come back to tell me their results. I’m so excited to see us change the world as we continue our mission globally.
Favourite place in the world?
Home by the sea.
And finally, what's a random fact you love?
The hashtag symbol (#) is technically called an octothorpe!
Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!×Close window