Gracing our space today: A family of super-agents

It’s officially the second year of the Pandemic. The kind of unprecedented change that this has brought into all our lives has been vast and significant. Professionals across the globe and all industries have been impacted in some way or another. With the full-time, 9-5 job market shifting, gig work is getting the attention it never had before. 

According to a survey published on LinkedIn, about 3 million people in India are gig workers doing a variety of jobs from being online platform workers to call centre agents. This was around when an entire family decided to hop on the bandwagon and sign up with VOIZ. Akhil signed up with VOIZ three months after its launch and three weeks after being laid off from his company where he worked previously as a sales executive. Having a background in customer relations, Kamini, his wife and mother of twin sons, signed up with VOIZ the very next month. Rajesh, a retired accountant and Akhil’s father was not too far behind in signing up with VOIZ. Six months later, Akhil’s mother, Sinjini, a business economics lecturer and teacher signed up with VOIZ after resigning her job due to the extreme salary cuts on account of the pandemic. With an entire family on board with VOIZ, our editorial team needed to cover this unique story and have it featured. Two weeks ago, we got in touch with them to find out how three customer support agents and one telesales agent were managing under one roof and here are some of the excerpts from our conversation.

It’s a pretty unusual situation but also an interesting one, wherein an entire family works in the same company. Let’s start with how working in the same company is like for all of you? 

R: Initially it was strange for us but as we all started into our roles and got rolling with it, we became like a team of agents for VOIZ sharing the same living space but working for different projects at VOIZ. 

S: I needed the most amount of help in understanding the concept of remote work because I’m quite new and far from being tech-savvy. But I have Akhil with me to help me out and surprisingly the processes are built in a way that even people who are not very technologically advanced can use it. So at home, I find myself clearing doubts and finding new and easy ways to get myself accustomed to being a support agent. 

A: I think it’s pretty fun. I remember there was a time when my parents didn’t understand what I was doing but now to have them doing similar stuff, I feel like it’s brought the family closer and we’ve come to a place where we’ve truly fallen in love with our jobs and these are trying times so I consider myself fortunate to be with my family and to be employed during the Pandemic. 

K: We were in Dubai for 5 years and I had come down for my delivery subsequently after Akhil lost his job and he too came down to India. Everything happened so fast, we didn’t know what to do. I came home intending to go back to Dubai in a few months but after Akhil came back that was not an option for us. So when we started working, it gave us something to look forward to. We have twin babies who are exactly 1 year old. I must say I’m the least active agent of the lot but I’m thankful for the job I have, it gives me the short recess I need from motherhood. So we’re not just a family that eats together but also one that works together.

Did you have any initial apprehensions about joining VOIZ?

A: I had none. I needed a job soon after coming back from Dubai but the Indian job markets were just as dull and that was discouraging because with 5 years plus of work experience, I wasn’t able to find myself a job. I was a new father and I had my plate full and VOIZ was a gift from the gods. A good friend of mine was working there and he recommended it to me. The gig economy has been growing at a rapid pace and it was high time that I became a part of it. I was desperately in need of a job and as long as I had that, I was happy. 

 R. Life after retirement for me had been watering the plants, playing sudoku and entertaining my grandsons. But watching Akhil do telesales for various projects got my interest piquing. I was an accountant all my life. When Akhil showed me a project posted at VOIZ asking for Accounting knowledge and age no bar, I gave it a shot. I had never once interacted with clients directly and my world was made of numbers. And with VOIZ, it was all too simple. I created my profile and applied for that job, and I got a call immediately. I got confirmed about the job the next day. My only apprehension was of the kind of hardware I’d be required to use. I had basic computer skills but I was not sure if that would be enough but turns out, that was more than enough. I learnt quickly with a couple of hours of training. Can you believe it? 

S: I was apprehensive about the whole thing. I’m from the old school of thought where I used to believe in order to work and earn money one has to leave the house and travel to the place of work. That’s how I saw my father do it and that’s how I watched my husband and son do it too up until a year ago. I wasn’t sure if the payout would come on time, I was not sure if the work would be organized, and most importantly I wasn’t sure how it would work without a supervisor. Also, the internet is a scary place but after one month of Akhil working at VOIZ, everything changed. That was when I realized that the world is evolving to a more convenient and fast-paced working environment.

K: As Amma mentioned, we’ve always watched people having to toil and travel to get to work and come back after many hours. I was surprised at how easy VOIZ made it for us, agents. It was too good to be true. Of course, I knew of friends who worked from home but they were all freelancers who would get work seasonally. But with VOIZ, one always finds work and that initially for me was my apprehension. If this gig system would be consistent and turns out, it is! 

What made you decide to sign up with VOIZ?

R: I wanted to work again, but not for 8 hours. VOIZ had an option of working for 4 hours, and that too only in the morning or evening. I knew with VOIZ I would find work interesting again and now after nine months of being with VOIZ, it has been one of the best decisions I made.

A: Initially, the payout was the motivation. VOIZ was paying me very well. The whole process was smooth and quick. 

K: As I mentioned before, it’s not easy with twins. Thankfully I have a supportive family that helps me with them but I wanted to join VOIZ to get a break from the day to day tires of being a full-time mom. So my break time is when I am practically working and before my four-hour slot, I’m looking forward to serving the customers and after my slot, I’m energized to go back to playing mum for my kids. 

S: When the whole family is working, what more motivation do I need? 

Is there anything that being agents at VOIZ has taught you about?

R: Processes improve over time but the objective still remains customer and revenue focussed.

A: The whole telesales aspect was new to me so it has taught me to become better at sales via new-age channels like voice, email and chat.

S: It has taught me the importance of listening. When I was a teacher, people listened to me but with the roles reversed I had to get used to that. So ‘listening’ was my biggest learning lesson.

K: Staying in the present. I’m either a daydreamer or an overthinker. So most of the time you’ll find me spaced out but being an agent at VOIZ has taught me the importance of being in the present moment and acting on that.

As agents, how are the projects and processes like for you all?

R: I’m into customer support service and I manage inbound calls for an accounting startup. I work the morning slot. It’s the perfect time while I also get time to spend with my grandkids, water the plants and do everything that I usually do!

A: I’m in the telesales process and I’m part of two projects currently working in two different slots.

S: I work one slot and that’s the customer support process. That’s the one from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. After which Kamini gets on the next shift so then I’m in charge of the babies.

K: I’m in the customer service support process for product support, and I work from 12.00 pm to 4.00 pm; that’s mostly when the twins are napping.

What according to you is the best part about your jobs?

A: That I get to represent multiple companies and I get to be a part of multiple projects and processes and keep learning as I go. The best part though would be that I get to work full time but I also have the opportunity to work on my new venture at my own time and pace.

R: I think it would have to be that I get to interact with so many people and provide help and support to them all. I think it’s a rarity that at my age I get to have the opportunity to do something like that. All my friends are very impressed, as they think I now have a very happening social and work-life that is combined together.

K: I’ve always wanted to work but on my own terms. The strict and traditional 9-5 has never appealed to me and that’s why I’ve always chosen to do other things like baking on a commercial level but now after having the kids, I find that being a customer support agent has helped me to channel my energies in a useful way and the best part about it is that I get to work at a time that works for me and get paid for it as well while being stress-free.

S: The best part is that VOIZ accepts people of all age groups and career backgrounds. And that their software is so easy to use. I think that makes you want to work here and work to the best of your abilities. And like every job has its challenges, VOIZ makes me rise to the challenge and make the most out of it!

What would be your advice or food-for-thought for aspiring support and telesales agents?

R: I urge retired folks to try VOIZ because it allows so much learning and exploration and aids in keeping me, a man in his sixties, up to date with what’s happening in the market and how consumers are responding to it.

S: After resigning from my job as a lecturer and teacher, I thought I would have to get by with tuitions and such but after the Pandemic, that was also not an option and I’m not interested in working for lesser pay. That’s what I found with VOIZ, quality of work and excellent pay for the number of hours and effort you put in. 

A: I do a lot of things on the side but VOIZ is my consistent and main source of income not just because it’s a great option to work from home but also because I am an eternal learner and with every passing hour, I learn something new. So if you’re a student of life, this is your place to be.

K: I think I speak for the new moms and full-time moms in general; VOIZ has given me an outlet that makes me a working mother and I love that tag. It allows me to stay with my kids while also being able to work and earn something out of it. There are just pros here. It’s the only job I’ve ever worked where I wake up looking forward to work. I mean I work four hours a day, every day and that includes Sunday simply because I enjoy it! If you want to enjoy and earn and learn, then VOIZ is where you can start!

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