Marine Tirand – Finding ways to be the voice of the customer

28 Jul 2021

If aviation is the ultimate celebration of freedom and adventure, then our Product Owner, Marine Tirand, is the living embodiment of that. We caught up with her to talk about the thrill of embracing new opportunities, what it means to be the voice of the customer, and the culture shock of trading the French Riviera for Sweden.

Hi Marine. Tell us how a French native ended up in Gothenburg

Well, my partner and I came to Sweden a few times as tourists and immediately fell in love with the country and with Gothenburg in particular. We got great vibes and realised that this is where we wanted to settle down.

We resigned from our jobs back in France and moved here for good in 2015. We had no work at this point – just some savings and a lot of dreams – and embraced the chance to pursue a new career, a new language and a new life.

Wow, that’s a big leap. You clearly love an adventure

I really do. Even now, each day after work I take a long walk with my family and explore new places. It’s crazy how many routes, forests and lakes we have around Gothenburg and it’s awesome to enjoy these super-calm and relaxing environments. That’s how I love to relax, along with reading. Oh, and cooking too – I am French after all!

Did you have a background in aviation before joining Avinode?

No. Back in France I worked in the logistics industry, first in customer services and then in marketing. After a while I realised that there are so many job opportunities out there, so why limit yourself to one sector and one kind of job?

I love to stay open-minded and grab opportunities that come along, so when I saw the Avinode advert for a Product Specialist – which is sort of a customer service role – I jumped at it. I had no idea what the private aviation industry was all about, but I knew the role fitted my skills and experience perfectly.

Tell us about your role as a Product Owner

I primarily work for Avinode, but I also spend time on the Schedaero Trip Manager feature. What I love about my role as a Product Owner is that it’s such a versatile job and I get to interact with a lot of different people.

I’m always speaking with customers to understand what their daily work looks like so I can pinpoint the issues they’re running into, and then help solve them. Before COVID I was on the road a lot with our sales team, meeting members in person. Right now, that’s happening over Zoom, in the form of customer interviews together with our UX designer.

I’m the voice of the customer within the business and I have to know exactly what they need – which is the goal of any Product Owner. Only then can I bring those insights back to the development team I work with daily so we can brainstorm and come up with the best solutions.

It sounds like you’ve really adapted to the current situation

Yeah, we all have, and as a business, we’re making it work. Alongside Zoom, we’ve been using several digital tools to reach out to our members, such as Intercom. This lets us deliver outbound communications through our products and has also helped automate the process of gathering customer feedback in a more streamlined way.

And for customers, how are things looking for them?

We’re seeing a lot of charter requests flowing through our system, that’s for sure. But we can also feel that operators are overwhelmed by the number of requests and the challenge of identifying the most relevant ones.

There are many requests from new brokers who maybe don’t really understand what they’re requesting. The question for operators is how to efficiently and effectively respond to those that bring in business. And that’s a question we need to help answer.

I also wanted to ask how life at Avinode compares to life working in France.

When I first joined – coming from a big, traditional company in France – it was a huge culture shock. In a good way! What struck me most is the freedom that Noders enjoy. I love that there’s no micro-management. We’re free to organise our daily work the way we want.

I also thrive in an environment where I’m expected to step up and bring new ideas to the table. We’re given the chance to shine and express ourselves, which is awesome.

And for someone with a spirit of adventure, you must miss traveling

I really do. I miss meeting customers face-to-face because that’s when you get genuine feedback, and you really understand what your job is. I also can’t wait to get back to Geneva for trade shows there and to re-connect with my US colleagues. Hopefully, it will happen again soon.

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