The crazy tech guy who wanted to be a Formula 1 driver
Meet Ravi Tandon, Customer Success Manager at imc Australia
Formula 1 and learning management systems don’t really have much in common. But if you want to be a pro in either of them, you need a lot of passion. And that’s definitely something Ravi Tandon, a customer success manager at imc Australia, has in abundance.
I’ve probably never spoken to any imc employee who is as passionate about the product they’re responsible for as Ravi. But then Ravi is, as he freely admits, quite a crazy guy, who still regrets the fact that he never got to be a Formula 1 driver. In this interview, he talks about his tasks, why he made the LMS his girlfriend, and a job interview that featured some very tricky questions.
Job | Customer Success Manager
Works in | Melbourne, Australia
With imc since | 2015
Superpower | Making customers happy
Favourite food | Dosa from India
Hi Ravi, great to meet you! How would you explain to your parents what you do as a customer success manager in e-learning?
I’d tell them that I make our customers happy, that I make sure they don’t feel like just another number. It’s my job to ensure our customers know they made the right choice with imc.
That sounds like a very important role. What does it involve exactly?
You know, my role is actually a mix of customer success manager and e-learning consultant, and indeed I feel this is a very critical role for the company. Because here in Australia these roles are not so strictly separated from each other as in Germany, for example.
So, I take care of all issues that our customers have with our learning management system (LMS) and make sure they feel comfortable with our service and our product. But that’s not all. It’s also part of my job to ensure they trust and believe in us as a capable team.
Our tagline is “we empower”. And that’s what I try to do: I aim to empower customers to work as effectively as possible with our product. My goal is to find the best business solutions for them. Moreover, I want to make talking to us a positive experience for them, and, as I said earlier, make sure they don’t feel like just another number.
So, you need an in-depth knowledge of our LMS, the imc Learning Suite, but you haven’t been working with the LMS the whole time you’ve been with imc? Is that right?
That’s correct. My career path at imc is quite unusual. I started in pre-sales for our LMS, but then worked in the content team for a while. It was a great time, and I learned a lot, but I feel that I’m more of a tech guy. I love our LMS, and that is where I belong.
But one thing that all my roles at imc had in common was a great sense of exciting complexity. In the content team, the approach was rather top down, but the process was highly creative. In the LMS team, you work with a lot of different departments and people in various roles. That can be challenging and involve a lot of back and forth, but I love interacting with different people and in different ways.
What do you like most about your job?
I just love our system. For me, the LMS is like a black hole – and I mean that in an absolutely positive way. It’s so wonderfully complex, and you’re always finding new functions, or new ways to use certain functions. It’s like navigating in a spaceship in outer space, and I’m the navigator – for our customers.
It just feels good when a customer calls you – perhaps they’re desperate, or annoyed with something – and I can help them out. I enjoy that feeling of confidence and being a subject matter expert with the ability to turn an unhappy customer into a happy one within the space of a single phone call.
But I have to give big credits here to the team in Germany. At the beginning, they taught me a lot about the system, and they still have so much detailed knowledge that they’re always happy to share.
Which skills do you think are the most important for your current job?
From my point of view, technical understanding and knowing the product very well are the most important things. Then again, it also helps if you’re good with people and have a sense of humour. Because in the end we’re all humans, and everyone feels better talking to someone who can make them laugh.
How did you come to imc, and where did you work before?
I’m originally from India, but I lived and worked for many years in the USA. When the e-learning company I was working for closed, I applied for a visa for Australia. I just didn’t want to go back to India, plus Australia seemed like an interesting country. When I finally arrived here, I had nothing. No apartment, no friends, no job.
Then I saw the job at imc, and it just fitted perfectly. So, I applied, got it, and spent the first three months in my new country making the imc LMS my new girlfriend. I wanted to learn as much about the system as possible and really get a deep understanding. So, I did a lot of self-learning, including in the evenings and on the weekends.
I heard your job interview was rather funny. What happened?
Oh yes, that’s a great story. As I said, I had worked in e-learning before and had 15 years of work experience. Anyway, when I was interviewed, it was a panel including a German-speaking colleague.
First, he asked some basic questions about me – my attitude and things like that. But then he wanted to test me, so he gave me some more challenging questions. Well, I was able to answer all of them. I challenged him back and told him to give me harder questions, but I was able to answer all of those, too.
Finally, he gave me a mischievous grin and said: “Ok, now I will give you one question, and I guarantee you will not be able to answer it.” I told him to go ahead but was still optimistic. Well, he asked me a question in German – which, obviously, I couldn’t answer as I don’t speak German. It was hilarious!
What makes working at imc special compared to other companies?
I’ve only worked for three other companies before. And the big advantage here is that you get a lot of freedom to work towards making customers happy. But the most important thing for me is the product because the engineering behind it is just awesome.
I’ve worked with 14 learning management systems in the past, and know a lot of other products, but I’ve never seen a more sophisticated and powerful system.
Ok, and now for a few short, random questions. Please complete: When dealing with colleagues, it is especially important to me...
… to see passion. I’m very passionate about our product and my job, and I expect others to do their job with the same passion. I don’t like it when people just have a nine-to-five mindset. I want to see them solving customers’ problems and really diving into the topic.
Which department would you like to visit for a week?
Marketing, because I guess in all other departments I would know what to expect. But honestly, I have no idea what Marketing does. I think it’s rather complex, and there is much more going on behind the scenes than you see. So, I would like to learn more about that and also about how they go about making people happy.
If you could travel back in time, would you choose the same career path again?
No, I wouldn’t. If I had grown up in the right environment, I would have become a Formula 1 driver.
[Editor’s note: Having been co-driving with Ravi, I can say it’s probably a good thing he never became a Formula 1 driver].
Name something that drives you up the wall?
People who are not doing their job. Because when I look at myself, I feel that I do much more than I should. But sometimes people put their own interests ahead of those of the company. That’s not my way.
What’s your favourite movie?
Scarface: “I always tell the truth, even when I lie.”
How much coffee do you drink?
Before coming to Melbourne, I wasn’t big into coffee at all, but now I drink two to three cups a day.
What are your hopes for the future?
I would like to represent imc in the American market and become the most successful consultant in the USA.
And I'm sure you would do a great job there as well! Thank you very much for these great insights and all the best, whatever your next steps at imc will be!
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I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.
Communication, creating unique content and social media are my passion.
"One can not not communicate" - Paul Watzlawik.
To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.
Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.
I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.