In this exclusive interview, we delve into the life and career of Kristiina Senno, the Head of Business Client Relations at Wallester, a fintech company transforming the financial landscape. Kristiina shared with us her extensive experience in the banking industry, her journey into the world of fintech, and her strategies for leading a successful Client Relations department. Furthermore, she offered insights into balancing her personal and professional life as a dedicated mother and a driven professional in a male-dominated industry. Join us as we uncover the story of this inspiring leader who demonstrates that with determination, ambition, and the right mindset, women can excel in both their careers and personal lives.
Kristiina's Past Experience
Kristiina Senno, the Head of Client Relations at Wallester Business, has extensive experience in the banking industry. Having held various leasing and private banking positions, she gained valuable insight into different sub-sectors. Kristiina notes,
"As a private banker, I dealt with investments and other financial services for high-net-worth individuals. This broadened my understanding of the industry and taught me how to adapt messages for different clients."
In between her work at Luminor and LHV, Kristiina worked on various private projects. However, she soon realized the time-consuming nature of running different entrepreneurial projects and the importance of her commitment to the family as the mother of two boys. “I decided to go back to a more planned work day,” she explains. Despite her comprehensive understanding of the banking industry, Kristiina found growth opportunities limited to hierarchical progress. Reflecting on this, she shares, "I started to feel that progress was more about moving up the hierarchy rather than personal development or gaining new knowledge." This realization led her to explore the innovative and challenging world of fintech, where she could continue to grow and make a meaningful impact.
On Being Head of Client Relations:
As the Head of Client Relations at Wallester, Kristiina not only leads her team in fostering the growth of Wallester Business by providing guidance and support to all registered clients but also overviews the whole operation of the Business product, including oversight over KYB and Sales departments. She explains,
"We ensure that clients have a pleasant, efficient, and seamless experience with the platform."
Kristiina's team consistently strives to create win-win situations by helping clients better understand their financial needs and proposing personalized solutions that can be met with Wallester Business's ever-growing and expanding set of tools.
Kristiina's extensive banking industry experience and commitment to helping clients achieve their financial goals make her a valuable asset to the Wallester team.
"I'm passionate about guiding our clients to success and finding the best solutions to meet their unique financial needs," she shares, highlighting her dedication to the company's mission.
The Recipe for Running a Successful Client Relations Department
As stated earlier, forging and maintaining strong client relations is vital for success. As the Head of Client Relations, Kristiina Senno recognizes the significance of cultivating long-term client relationships. She asserts that a proficient client relationship manager must deeply understand the client's growth and future plans, adapting the partnership as needed. Kristiina believes this necessitates financial industry expertise and the capacity to form genuine connections with clients.
Kristiina emphasizes that effective client relationships go beyond merely selling financial products or services. Instead, she says,
"It's about showing clients that you have their best interests in mind and helping them navigate the complex world of finance."
By providing guidance and support, a client relationship manager can assist clients in comprehending their financial needs and discovering tailored solutions to address those needs. An exceptional client relationship manager is someone who can build a human connection with clients and understand their unique business requirements. By offering their expertise and guidance, they can enable clients to achieve their financial objectives and establish long-lasting partnerships," concluded Kristiina.
Wallester's Effective Communication Structure
During the interview, Kristiina delved even deeper into the inner workings of her department and its strategy for fostering long-lasting client relationships. She explained how Wallester's workflow is customized to suit each client's communication preferences, personality type, and objectives.
Wallester's primary aim is to deliver exceptional customer experiences, distinguishing them from conventional banking systems. Kristiina highlighted, "Due to the scale of traditional banks and their wide range of services, they tend to be slow to innovate." In contrast, Wallester's product constantly develops, with customer experience taking centre stage.
Instead of a standardized approach to communication, Wallester tailors its methods to each client's individual preferences. They establish their presence from the outset, reassuring clients they can be reached whenever needed. However, they also respect each client's communication style, whether they prefer guided assistance throughout the process or wish to explore the solution independently, only interacting when necessary.
Kristiina underlines the significance of comprehending each client on a personal level.
"Every business is unique, and a client's turnover can significantly impact the strategies used to help them grow."
Kristiina and her team acknowledge that diverse clients demand distinct strategies to achieve success and are dedicated to collaborating with each client effectively.
Wallester's method of offering valuable advice to clients fosters loyalty. Kristiina recognizes that smaller clients often seek astute guidance tailored to their business framework. The company approaches each client with a customized strategy, crucial to building successful relationships. Presently, they employ different principles when addressing smaller clients, who may not yet fully grasp their operations, and larger clients, who expect them to possess industry knowledge.
Kristiina emphasizes the value of cultivating robust client relationships to facilitate their success. "Wallester provides 24/7 technical support and endeavours to understand each client's aspirations and objectives. By doing so, they can manage their business more effectively and support their growth," stated Kristiina.
Banks vs. Fintechs
The financial landscape has experienced a significant shift in recent years, with fintech companies like Wallester Business posing a challenge to the traditional banking industry. Kristiina acknowledges the stark differences between fintech and traditional banks, particularly in terms of their approach to innovation. She points out that fintech companies prioritize customer experience and continuously refine their products, while traditional banks' innovation tends to lag due to their size and wide range of services.
As a result, traditional banks may seem cumbersome and outdated compared to fintech. Customers accustomed to the convenience and ease of use offered by fintech could find the traditional banking experience exasperating and time-consuming. However, Kristiina also highlights the benefits of traditional banks, such as their extensive range of services, which can be advantageous for customers seeking a one-stop shop for their financial needs. Additionally, traditional banks' long-standing history and reputation for stability and security can be attractive to customers hesitant to rely on a newer fintech company.
Kristiina believes there is a place for both fintech and traditional banks in the market, each with its strengths and weaknesses. Nonetheless, she notes, "The future of finance is likely to be more heavily influenced by fintech, as they continue to drive innovation and prioritize the customer experience." The choice between a fintech and a traditional bank ultimately depends on individual preferences and requirements. Customers prioritizing innovation and convenience might lean towards a fintech company like Wallester, while those valuing tradition could prefer an old-school bank.
Irrespective of the option customers select, it is evident that the finance industry is undergoing a monumental transformation. The emergence of fintech like Wallester pressures traditional banks to adapt and innovate, ultimately leading to an enhanced customer experience.
How Kristiina Spends Her Free Time
In the interview, Kristiina revealed her workaholic nature and how it intertwines with her personal life. She shared, "When I'm deeply involved in a project with great potential, such as building the client relations department at Wallester, I become completely absorbed in work, making it difficult to step away. As a result, I rarely have much 'free time."
Leading a department and being responsible for the well-being of her team members have made Kristiina rethink the concept of a typical workday. Even after leaving the office, she remains engaged with her work through emails, planning, and other forms of communication. Despite her busy schedule, Kristiina remains a dedicated mother to her two sons, spending time with them at home and attending their soccer games.
Kristiina also emphasizes the importance of sports and physical activity in her life, as it promotes discipline and serves as a foundation for personal growth. She actively instills these values in her children. In addition, she understands the need for self-care and recharging when things become overwhelming. For Kristiina, connecting with nature and spending time at her other house outside the city provides the perfect opportunity to regain balance and rejuvenate her energy.
Balancing Personal and Professional Life as a Woman in a Male-Dominated Industry:
During the interview, Kristiina shared her thoughts on balancing her personal and professional life. She said, "The idea of staying home has never appealed to me. While some women find fulfilment as mothers and homemakers, I need career growth and continuous personal development to feel complete."
Kristiina's story serves as a beacon of inspiration for women seeking success in both their personal and professional lives. She demonstrates that thriving in a demanding career is possible while still being a devoted mother and partner. She offers words of encouragement to women contemplating a similar journey:
"Embrace your ambitions and trust in your capabilities. Don't hesitate to chase your dreams and seize new opportunities.”
With determination, persistence, and a clear vision of your goals, you can leave a lasting impact in your chosen field and build a gratifying life for yourself and your loved ones. Always remember that your unique perspective and skills are precious resources that can contribute to remarkable accomplishments. Never doubt your ability to make a difference and inspire those around you."
In conclusion, Kristiina Senno's remarkable journey demonstrates the power of determination, ambition, and adaptability in the ever-evolving financial landscape. As the Head of Client Relations at Wallester Business, Kristiina has successfully navigated the challenges of a male-dominated industry, balanced her personal and professional life, and become an inspiration for women around the world. Her approach to fostering strong client relationships and her commitment to continuous personal development testify to her unwavering dedication to her work and her team. By sharing her insights and experiences, Kristiina encourages others, particularly women, to embrace their ambitions, pursue their dreams, and strive for excellence in their chosen fields.