String and Key
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String and Key

The String and Key Crew: Nora McPeak

As part of our ongoing employee spotlight series, we’ll be profiling colleagues who inspire us. Today, meet Nora McPeak.

Company Role: Product Success Specialist

Most likely to: Check/correct my posture

Secret talent: I’m double jointed and very flexible, like a Gumby doll

String and Key’s innovative team reimagined life insurance through Wyshbox’s amazing, 100% digital product. But, because we put people first, we also understand how important it is to have great customer support and a human connection. Enter Nora, our resident Product Specialist. While she originally hails from Baltimore, she’s lived abroad in Bangkok and Jeju, South Korea (where she taught English classes) and then finally settled in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her original career plans were to work as a professional librarian but she found that to be a frustrating feat. She then moved on to an exciting position in customer service in an academic editing & publishing house, where she happened to meet April Troester, our Head of Service and Support. Once we started to build our Customer Support team, Nora came on board as a Product Specialist and has been with us since June of 2021. When she’s not using her expertise to help customers navigate through our product you can find her fulfilling her spare-time passion of tufting and knitting (and even setting up her small online shop for rugs and wall hangings).

Let’s get to know a little more about Nora.

What do you do, and what does your typical workday look like?
I work in the Customer Service department, and my focus as a Product Success Specialist is connecting with our customers who have already signed up and paid for their policy. This includes account maintenance, sending payment reminders, late/lapsed payment notices, and handling claims (when that time comes). I also talk to people via our live chat, answer customer emails, and write official documentation for reference and training purposes. I’m studying to receive my administrator certification in Zendesk and plan on tackling the more technical aspects of our service software in the near future.

What’s your favorite part about working at String and Key?
I’m someone who hates rigid routines and doing the same thing everyday. One of the reasons I was so excited to join String and Key was for the ambiguous and fast-paced nature of working at an early stage startup. Our team is so new, I really enjoy looking at problems that have never been solved or even thought of before and finding a solution. I have also immensely enjoyed finding everyone so friendly and welcoming at the company.

What excites you about your job?
I’ve really enjoyed playing an active role in building our very new Customer Service team from the ground up — from helping conduct hiring interviews to writing department policy. Also, I confess, I love working with irritated customers. While none of our customers would ever be irritating *wink wink* I consider deescalation one of my special skills and think of it as a fun game to figure out how I can quickly placate this cranky stranger and then make their experience positive.

What do you find most challenging about your role?
Anticipating customer needs at an early stage startup level has been interesting since we don’t have historic data or proven trends to work off of to see what our specific customers like or dislike. I remember writing prepared email language drafts and chat macros with April when I first started and we had to try to think of every possible question or comment our future customers would come at us with. Since launching, we’ve received some really out-there messages from users that I would have never expected. It’s been a great learning experience for sure, but laying that groundwork has been quite a task. Now I’m looking forward to keeping up with customer demand and seeing what scaling challenges come up.

What are the values that drive you?
Empathetic and honest communication. I’m a customer service professional to the core and believe several, if not most, of the principles defining a good customer support experience can also be applied to internal business processes. Just like a customer should feel empowered and enthused after speaking to a customer support agent, so should the employee working for that company.

How do you stay on top of your game?
I’ve recently started taking the bus to the office. While it takes a lot longer than driving, it really lets me wake up while sipping my coffee and listening to podcasts peacefully without having to navigate morning rush hour traffic. I also drink way too much water once I get to the office and this gives me a good excuse to get up, stretch my legs, and wander around after using the restroom. Just like many others, I obsessively use my little calendar and notebook to set daily/weekly/monthly goals. Nothing feels better than crossing off a task in my notebook ahead of schedule!

What drew you to tech and what excites you about the industry?
Before coming to String and Key, I worked briefly at a fintech firm and my role focused on estimating credit loss and small business loans. Though I didn’t know what String and Key’s product was before coming on, I wanted to stay in fintech and was willing to take that jump into the unknown. I find the industry exciting because of the speed at which it progresses. To stay relevant in this business, you really have to keep up with both the financial and technical industries.

What’s one thing — either industry-related or not — that you’ve learned in the last month?
Late last year, I completed a professional certificate in Data Analytics and my goal this year is to not lose those skills, so I’ve been taking an online course in database design so I can keep using SQL (Structured Query Language) on a regular basis.

If you could swap places with anyone at String and Key, who would it be and why?
Either with Tevan Alexander, our Operations Program Manager or one of the engineers. For the producer/program manager role, I think it would be so interesting to have that high-level overview of the company and how each department’s roles and goals interact to support each other, as well as juggling that level of communication between teams. Project management seems compelling and sounds like a fun challenge. I’ve also always admired the skills required to be a software engineer and I’m learning Ruby and Javascript in my spare time.

What unexpected subject could you give a one-hour presentation on with no advance prep?
I don’t remember how I got into it, but a few years ago I became obsessed with cryptids (like Mothman, the Loch Ness Monster, and Bigfoot) and for some reason my mind is a steel trap for all things supernatural. Mothman is my personal favorite, next to the Florida Skunk Ape. Now all my favorite podcasts are about ghost stories and cryptid sightings.

What keeps you busy outside of work?
Knitting, making rugs, being the weakest gym rat in history, running, watching the dumbest horror movies in the world, reading the most boring books in the world, taking bubble baths, traveling (when the world permits), noise shows (also when the world permits).

Can you list five hashtags that describe your personality?
#IrreverentHumor #GoodListener #Minimalist #SweetiePie #MorningPerson

Lighting Round:

Go grocery shopping in person or online?
Online.

Read a book or listen to a podcast?
Read a book.

Vacation at a beach or another city?
At a beach.

Hip hop or R&B?
Hip hop.

Cook dinner or do the dishes?
I always do the dishes! I hate cooking!!!

Interested in working at String and Key? Join us!

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