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Sertifi Employee Spotlight – Marco Alvarez

Documentary Connoisseur. Standing Desk Enthusiast.  Customer Success Specialist. 

This month’s Sertifi Employee Spotlight is on Customer Success Specialist Marco Alvarez. Keep reading to learn more about Marco’s role, how his role has evolved since working remotely, and what he likes doing in his spare time.

What is your role at Sertifi and tell me about your day-to-day?

I’m a Customer Success Specialist at Sertifi. More specifically, I work on the Relationship team which is a little different than the Onboarding team, or the traditional Customer Success role. We’re involved in the adoption of their account and ensuring that customers are using their Sertifi products after onboarding. For example, suppose a customer isn’t using the solutions. In that case, we’re staying on top of them and reeducating them on the value of Sertifi.

My day-to-day will change based on the tasks that I have. My typical morning consists of logging into the software that we use (called Churn Zero), identifying new accounts that we need to reach out to, checking their usage, and reeducating them on the value. Then, my day may be filled with training calls, emails with some training resources, or working on getting involved with the new Sertifi Advanced Fraud Tools that we’re introducing to our customers. We take the time to educate ourselves and our customers on these new tools, as well as on what’s to come. That’s my day-to-day, more or less. What I like is that my days are always changing. No two days are the same.

How has your role changed since we all started working from home?

We all know how hard the hospitality industry was hit by COVID-19 and everything that has been going on. So, when we first started working from home, my responsibilities shifted in that we changed the script of the initial outreach, which was learning why they’re not using Sertifi. We knew why they weren’t using as they were not getting as many guests. Those first few months of working from home, it was a lot of reaching out to those customers, seeing how they were doing, seeing how their properties were in terms of occupancy. Customer interactions were on a very personal level, just trying to help them get through these tough times, and we’re still working through that right now.

We’re now focusing on working through customer agreements and doing anything that we can to keep them on board. It’s essential to have a little more of that personal human touch right now and realize that we’re all going through this and trying to help them out as best we can.

What is your proudest moment at Sertifi? 

I had one customer, specifically where they weren’t using Sertifi, and I reached out to them. I called their property and managed the team on a training call, and, you know, for a few weeks, they were using the solution. It was great to see! And then everything sort of hit the fan.

He reached out to me and said, “Hey Marco, you know I appreciate everything you’ve done for me up to this point. Unfortunately, just with everything going on, we’re going to need to cancel our subscription due to finances.” So, I began working with accounting, my manager and even one of our Co-Founders to tackle this type of situation. We were able to push billing for this customer so that they wouldn’t have to pay anything while still allowing them to continue using their Sertifi eAuthorizations, which was great! The client responded, “Marco, thank you. You’ve been great the entire time, and we appreciate everything you continue to do for us.” It was great to rescue an account for the company when they weren’t using, and then again when they were hoping to get some financial relief.

It’s little moments like that. I try to find the silver lining in everything. I think with everything that we’re currently going through, it’s nice to connect with our customers personally and help them. Helping them with training and then helping them with their billing was just a full-circle moment. This was a great experience to have so early on in my Sertifi career.

What advice do you have for prospective new hire candidates?

Come in ready to learn. I came from a different Chicago-based software company, but not in the hospitality industry, so I’ve learned a lot. Candidates should be ready to ask questions and be curious about not only Sertifi but the customers that we’re servicing. I think that is a massive component of being successful as a Customer Success team member – not only understanding how our solution works, but also, how our customers are using our solutions to make their workday more efficient.

What are 3 words to describe Sertifi?

Innovative, inclusive, and energetic for sure. Innovative because in my first few months here, I’ve already been introduced to Advanced Fraud Tools and SertifiPay. It’s amazing to see what the company is building for our customers and also improving on existing products.

Inclusive because starting with Sertifi, I noticed that everyone on the Customer Success team was very welcoming and eager to help me. Going back to the fact that I was not familiar with the hospitality industry, it was wonderful to learn from the team. They were all so welcoming and supportive, which helped me become more acclimated.

Energetic because I see the urgency with our team to get customers onboarded and trained to receive the best possible experience with us. Also, the turn-out for the Sertifi Olympics! Everyone really got into it, and it’s not always easy to get participation in these types of events. It was great to see the energy from the entire company as we work from home.

Which of the Sertifi core values do you associate the most and why? 

I would say Deliver Value and Build Together. Build Together because my manager and I are always working together in Churn Zero, whether it’s making calls a few times a week or building on different segments. It’s a lot of fun to piece things together and bounce ideas off each other, all while continuing to build out the Relationship team.

We Deliver Value by taking the time to connect with the customers that aren’t using our products or maybe aren’t fully trained on it, and show them how to be more efficient with Sertifi. Also, helping our customers become a little bit more digital, which is so important, especially in today’s landscape.

What do you miss about being physically in the office every day?

I miss just sitting with everyone at lunch. Having conversations by going into the kitchen to refill my coffee or even enjoying the iced tea tap. So, the human component to it, just talking with my coworkers, having the ability to go to their desk and ask questions. That physical aspect of it, as opposed to doing everything digitally.

What do you like best about working from home?

I started preparing for this whole transition late last year. I invested in a monitor, wireless keyboard, and the most significant thing, I got myself a standing desk. So, whenever I want to stretch my legs a little bit or stand while at work, I can raise my desk.

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I like to play soccer. Whenever I can, I try to go out with a ball and practice juggling or kicking a ball around. It’s a bit harder now to get into a full-on game. However, it’s still one of my hobbies, so I try to get out when I can. Though, nowadays, I mostly just watch soccer! I was so happy when soccer came back after the suspension for a few months. You can bet I’m on the couch Saturday and Sunday mornings watching soccer and rooting for my favorite team, Arsenal. I also like going for walks. I just moved to Wicker Park, so exploring the streets, finding new restaurants and new places to check out has been something that I’ve enjoyed.

What celebrity do people think you look like? 

I don’t think I do, but my manager continues to believe that I look like Cristiano Ronaldo, who I’m not going to lie is this very attractive, professional soccer player. He thinks I look like him. I personally don’t, but I’m not going to say no to that comparison

What TV show/movie are you ashamed to admit you love? 

This is a tough one. I do watch a lot of documentaries, but I would say, recently, I watched this documentary on Rubik’s Cube competitors. The pressure they put on themselves is crazy. What’s funny is if you put a Rubik’s Cube in front of me, it would take me days to solve it, and they do it in seconds. When I watched the Rubik’s Cube documentary, it piqued my interest to watch other odd, strange documentaries. It’s a little embarrassing when my family goes into my Netflix, and they see all my “previously watched” movies, filled with random documentaries that I watch.

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?

I continue to tell myself this, but I would say to focus on yourself. Many of the people you’re going to meet when you’re younger aren’t going to be there later on. So, trying to impress other people and paint a specific image of yourself can be unhealthy in a lot of ways. I would say just focus on yourself, don’t worry about what others think, and do what makes you happy. Make sure that your happiness is there first.

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