Fresh faces to service team – Maria Liimatta-Tuominen and Minna Silvennoinen
Maria jumped into the unknown from social work
Maria applied for AYY, because she wanted to do something else than social work. “I jumped completely into the unknown. It is nice to try something completely new and unfamiliar. I could not have imagined applying for any other work than customer service,” she describes. Gradually, the entire campus and student union have become familiar to her, but every day you can learn something new. “I have only been in the house for six months.” Originally from Lahti, Maria has been working for many years in social field and social work with intoxicant abusers.
At AYY, Maria’s responsibilities include advising residents at the service desk, by email and over the phone. In addition, the task involves a lot of background work. “There is plenty of hidden work which is not visible to others. It takes a lot of time to process applications in the summer, for example, even if the Services Office is closed,” Maria explains. The housing advisers approve approximately 12,000 housing applications and draft approximately 1,500 rental agreements each year. In addition, preparing for moving days and the management of keys also keep them busy at the turn of the month.
Maria is delighted with how well the orientation week and September’s busy moving day went. “On the moving day, people were in a very good mood with remote queuing working well.” AYY has invested in a queuing system which helps at busy times. In the system, you can take a queuing number and go and have lunch or coffee with your friend while waiting. You can track your own position in the queue remotely and come back closer to your turn. “Every day, every student and every person are different, which brings a nice change to our working days,” says Maria.
Minna is getting to know active students and student culture as a service assistant
Minna has been an active member of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki and she already was familiar with some AYY employees and members. “The right position just happened to come along. I had heard that the atmosphere here is great and the students felt like a nice group to work with,” says Minna about her motivation to apply for the service assistant’s position.
Minna’s responsibilities mainly include the management of keys and reservations of facilities rented on a one-time basis. In addition, she provides academic year tags at the Services Office and advises on membership issues and the payment of rent, for example. “I work part-time when the Services Office is open between 12noon-4pm. This means that customer service is part of my working day and we are often busy when the office is open. When there are no customers, we do the background work.
The difference with her former customer service tasks is that you get to know your customers face-to-face better than over the phone. Minna describes the Aalto members as a cooperative and fun group of people. “Every day, I learn something new about the culture of engineering students, for example. They have all kinds of sashes, strings and caps.” At the Services Office, you can buy the sash of engineering students and AYY’s sash to be used in anniversary celebration, for example.
Wonderful service team and office dogs cheering up every day
The service team includes two office dogs, who always cheer up their days. “We have a lovely team,” both Maria and Minna say at the same time. “This is such a nice group to work with. Everyone helps each other,” says Maria. They are also pleased with the low hierarchy. “We have a feeling that it is easy to discuss matters and ask for advice,” says Minna. “The boss is not above us and you dare to greet everyone,” says Maria.
They both hope to be able to develop AYY’s services. “It feels good to be in this job. Once we get to take advantage of all our expertise then it will be even better,” says Maria.