How the Hell Did I End Up Working at a Call Answering Service
How the Hell Did I End Up Working at a Call Answering Service?
Disclaimer: While I do work at a call answering service, I am not a call agent. I neither have the skills needed nor the diplomacy to answer calls on behalf of our clients. My job is to find the clients who will have their calls answered by us.
I knew nothing about the call answering industry before starting this job. I knew about telephone operators, of course. I’m that old. And I’m also old enough to remember Lily Tomlin as Ernestine on Laugh-in. Oh, andJudy Holiday themusical comedy,Bells Are Ringing.
“Telephone operators” have evolved. The new professional Customer Service Representatives use a wide palette of messaging platforms such as SMS, email, web portals, chatbots and countless mobile apps. After being the marketing director for i24 Call Management Solutions, for half a decade, I now am in awe of what our “WOW Specialists do. Just as well I’m in marketing.
So how did I get here?
Several years ago, I met Gary Blair, owner and President of i24. Shortly after being introduced to him, I broke the ice by asking him what field he worked in. I was already aware he was co-founder of the “Art for Healing” foundation so thought that it might be something related to fine arts or finances. When he replied that owned a family-owned call centre, I paused. I smiled. I nodded. All the while, my brain was projecting Edvard Munch’s The Scream.How could this intelligent, empathetic, art-amateur run a call centre?
Time went by and Gary hired my services as a consultant to help with his social media. I got to know him better personally as well as his business style and philosophy. We discovered we had much in common and became friends. One day after a lunch meeting, Gary asked me to come into the i24 for a meeting. The conversation ended with an offer to become marketing director for the company. On the drive home, I reflected on all the twists and turns of my life.
If you asked the teenager Ray what he wanted to be when he grew up, a sales or marketing guy would have been pretty low on the list. I couldn’t see myself “selling out” to the “man”. In hindsight – which is always 20/20, maybe there were a few hints. For instance, being editor of our school newspaper (“The Purple Haze”), I got to polish my writing and publishing skills. Having aced ART class gave me a strong sense of composition and colour. I gained management and leadership skills as founding president of our Drama Club. After years of working in theatre performance and administration as well as restaurants, I guess I had accumulated sufficient skills for my current role as Director of Virtual Reality at i24 Call Management Solution.
Life is a road full of potholes, turns and detours. And I’m not just talking about Montreal.
A company’s success is a product of a company’s work culture. And the quality of our product reflects the quality of our team. This is where i24 has blown apart my preconceptions of what a call centre was. i24 doesn’t just connect you to “the party to whom you’re speaking”, it connects you to the solutions for the problems you’d rather not have. So if you have problems assuring that your customer’s calls are being responded to promptly and professionally, contact us – i24 Call Management Solutions
Ray Hiltz is Director of Virtual Reality for i24 Call Management Solutions. He's passionate about using collaboration to build a better workplace, country and world.
His ongoing challenge is to strike a balance between the digital and the real world. So far, it's proving difficult.