High 5: A conversation with Wassi Arambatzis.

After 23 years in the CX industry, there are few places left in the world that Wassilios (‘Wassi’) Arambatzis hasn’t yet signed a CX transformation deal or opened up a new market for international expansion.

So when it was announced that he was joining 5CA in the newly-created role of Chief Growth Officer, we wanted to sit down with him and find out what makes this man tick. And who better to shoot the breeze for our new High 5 series with Wassi than our very own VP of Marketing, Marlon Heckman.

High 5: A conversation with Wassi Arambatzis.

Interview

Words by Marlon Heckman
Photography Joris Huele
Reading time 5 min

We met Wassi on a bright sunny day at our HQ in Utrecht, the Netherlands. After two cups of coffee Marlon started the conversation.

Question 1 —

So let’s start with finding out something about you. What are five things we should know about Wassi?

First of all I would say I’m a travel freak. The older you get the heavier the travel – thankfully I still love to travel!

Secondly, I’m also really competitive. I’ve love football and have played for more than half my life and whenever I get a chance I still play. I see my job in sales like a football match – I’m the scorer – the no.9. I’m very disappointed that Germany left the Euros early!

Third? I will never give up. Clients appreciate that. If anyone ever says, “You will never win” to me, that triggers me and motivates me hugely to go the extra mile on performance.

I’m very sociable, which enables me to build relationships very quickly that last for a lifetime. It helps me be successful dealing with complex international companies.

Lastly, I’m a team player. I want to convince my team of my ideas rather than push them through, because it’s important we support one another. Without our teams, we are nothing.

Wassi says

You just work exclusively with fans that adore your brand. Fans who might know your brand better than you do.

You just work exclusively with fans that adore your brand. Fans who might know your brand better than you do.

How many languages do you speak?

I’m Greek, but I was born in Germany in Stuttgart. I can speak six languages: my mother tongue is Greek, I was born and raised in Germany, English is the language of business, as well as French, Spanish and Portugese.

Question 2 —

What is intriguing you right now about the CX industry?

Clearly work from home is a huge shift currently, with hybrid solutions on every boardroom table in all industries.

Customer experience is the heart of any company – it’s the touchpoints you create with your customers. It’s not always seen like that though of course. It depends on the industry you look at and the point in the company lifecycle that you consider.

Take Chineses companies moving into Europe for example. They are competing with huge brands like Apple, and so they’re investing huge amounts in creating high-quality customer support. You can feel how important it is to these companies, and they’re prepared to invest money in getting it right.

I also love the global nature of CX. Take a global marketplace client of mine (that I had to work hard to win) as an example. I eventually helped them land grab internationally, partnering with them to open up contact center hubs all over the world. That was exciting, helping them to think strategically to support their international expansion growth. How can all of us support revenue growth in the companies we work with?

How do you cut through to your clients?

Everyone can do ‘commodity’. Everyone can hit their SLAs. The question is ‘How can I differentiate myself against the competition? I need to be disruptive and a game-changer.”

Question 3 —

Can you talk about personal achievements you’re particularly proud of?

The biggest success in my career so far was when I worked for Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a really good example of being at the heart of a business.

That’s when you end up with ‘skin in the game’

Wassilios Arambatzis

We put in a lot of work and some really innovative thinking to create a packaged turnkey business solution that covered business functions like finance, accounting, human resources, payroll and procurement. We were competing against some huge BPO competitors, but we won because we could drill into technical details that no other company could match. We had 300 people flying around the world working on the RFP – by far the biggest deal I’ve ever worked on. I’m really proud of what we achieved. A huge win!

Question 4 —

So after all this success, why have you come to 5CA?

I’ve experienced so much in sales, that I thought it was time to change the game for myself. I’ve worked my whole life for large corporations, which over time became even larger and more corporate. So it becomes harder for you to stay agile and get your own ideas through.

Then when I first met the senior leaders here, I realised the culture is completely different. The drivers are different. Otto’s (5CA’s founder) thinking is different and he’s a unique kind of entrepreneur.

There are no investors here, no shareholders to keep happy. And I love the relaxed culture too. After I met the senior leaders, I became convinced that this could become a very successful journey. So I’m bringing all my experience and desire to try and build the best sales team in the world. A new home!

I’m also convinced by the assets we have here at 5CA. I’m hugely impressed by the IT platform we have, and there’s a huge opportunity to leverage these assets and create value propositions for each sector.

What’s your favourite way to work with clients?

If you truly get to a point where you’re supporting your clients with their core business, that’s when you end up with ‘skin in the game’. This is what excites me, because your role evolves from being simply a supplier to that of business partner and adviser.

Wassilios working in his office
Utrecht HQ

Question 5 —

We’re all about fives here. For our last question, what 5 things are always on your desk when you work from home?

To tell you the truth, while I’ve been home more due to the pandemic, I’m usually a digital nomad – I need to be out there traveling! So I don’t have much on my desk, to be honest, but then I don’t need much: I live close to a lake and I like to watch the water.

I’ve not had the chance yet to equip my office since I started at 5CA. I’ve got a small IKEA table just large enough for my laptop and that’s it. I’m planning to buy some ‘cigar lounge’ chesterfield furniture but I’m not there yet! 

Marlon Heckman

Marlon Heckman

VP Marketing

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