Today we’re focusing on one of the integral members of our Customer Services Team – Lauren Cousens.
Lauren is a vital part of the Xcite Car Leasing team. She’s been with the business longer than anyone else, other than the directors, and was the first employee who joined them as a Customer Service Adviser. Since then, as the business has expanded over the years her role has grown alongside it and she’s now the head of our Customer Services Department with a team of four under her.
Before Xcite Car Leasing
Before I started at Xcite Car Leasing I worked at a Ford Dealership and then at a life insurance company, I was very young when I joined the business, only 21 years old and I’m now 37 so how scary is that . . . time flies! I’d had other part-time jobs, bar staff, waitressing etc in my later teens but the Ford dealership and insurance company were my only other full-time jobs before I started here.
I saw an advert for the role advertised being part-time admin assistant for a small company local to where I live. At the time the only staff were the three directors, and once I had met them at my interview I thought what a great opportunity to join a company as it was growing and just felt like the role and people I would be working with would suit me well.
And my background at both the dealership and insurance company and having some fleet knowledge it kind of felt like the perfect role.
At the time I had a 1-year-old so was just returning to work from maternity and part-time was the ideal contract to break back into working life again. I have since had two more children and have been with the company for 16 years so almost feel like I’ve grown up within the Xcite Car Leasing Family.
My contract and responsibilities have changed and grown a lot over the years, but the flexibility and support to do this along the way has been great and a testament to how I am still here!
I get up early, before the kids are awake and tidy the kitchen and living room so everything is spick and span for when I return back from the school run to log on and start working. I cannot work in a mess, so I definitely start my day by getting the house in order! After that, I leave for the school run and if I have time I like to park a little further away so we can walk in together as opposed to driving the whole journey as having a little exercise and fresh air before starting work helps me to feel more alive/awake and ready to tackle anything. Once I am home the next thing is a nice cold can of Diet Coke just as I am about to open the laptop and get stuck in.
I am the Diet Coke queen so as long as I have this to hand, I am happy. I’m not one for breakfast so I tend to have quick snacks throughout the day and usually the evening would be my main prepared meal.
I also don’t really take a lunch break at home if honest, I tend to pop out and do a school pick up in the afternoon so class that as my “lunch break”. Working from home allows me to grab a quick bite and carry on working rather than stop. Although thinking about it maybe I should treat myself to an hour’s peace before the kids get home!
There’s no such thing as a typical day in our department. My days are very varied and involve all kinds of activities like chasing or providing order updates from dealers/to customers, dealing with finance admin in terms of contracts being issued and signed, helping customers along the way with any queries they have about their orders and current leases already delivered. As I’m the Customer Services Manager I am also the main point of contact so usually spend some of my day trying to resolve any issues that might arise.
Throughout the day I will be in contact with our Sales Team and other colleagues within the business, dealerships, customers, finance companies so spend a lot of my time on the phone and sending many emails.
I manage a team of four Customer Services Executives to manage, and we work as a really tight team so are in contact all day whether that be when working in the office or remotely online. With an order bank of 1,000+ vehicles usually at any one point, we always have lots to do in terms of ensuring everything runs smoothly from point of order to arranging the delivery.
At the minute there are certainly challenges that we are facing within the industry with delays due to the pandemic and ongoing crisis in Ukraine, it is our job to keep customers fully updated in terms of their orders build progress and arrival date and sometimes this can involve sharing disappointing news in terms of delays etc but we aim to be as honest as possible, so our customers have all the information available.
Our main drive is to focus on booking customers’ deliveries as promptly as possible, so my day will usually always involve pushing dealerships for delivery dates to offer customers and helping with the arrangements.
Working from Home
I absolutely love working from home, it works so well for our business model and is also much better for family life for me. I’ve personally found the transition away from the office made it much easier to manage, I live locally to my children’s schools so less time travelling and more time working so I probably work more hours at home now than I ever did in the office.
It can be tempting to work out of hours when working from home too, so sometimes can invade family time a little in the evenings however I am certainly more “present” around the family by just being at home more often so, on the whole, it’s definitely more suitable to my family’s lifestyle and routines.
I tend to work in my living room, not for everyone I know as lots of people like an office space away from where they would usually relax, however I am happy with this set up and then also when the children are around later in the day after school, I am also present for them in the which is something if in the office more I would certainly miss.
Working from home’s not just been a good move for me but I feel the team is working really productively and it’s nice to get on with your work in peace and quiet with no distractions, our Sales Team can get pretty loud when they’re all on the phones. We’ve got quite a few parents on our team so I know that like me they’ve found it easier to balance family life and the school runs with work when they’re working from home.
Life Outside Xcite Car Leasing
My family is really important to me so when I’m not working I’ll be spending time with my kids. They’re full of energy so going anywhere that they can run around and get some of that out is always a good choice.
I like going to the beach as the boys can run around and I get to enjoy some sunbathing, I definitely don’t like cleaning the house!
If I wasn’t working here I’d like to think I’d have won the lottery by now and be sunning myself in the Maldives!
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