1 KeepCaller, 10 Questions with Patrick, our Customer Support Manager
Patrick is one of the oldest KeepCalling employees. He’s been with us since 2009, through changes, updates, and upgrades. He is an Irishman who moved to Bolivia and joined our office in Cochabamba. He quickly became the pillar of our Customer Support activity and has continued to be that ever since.
Patrick is our Customer Support Manager, leading a culturally diverse team spread on 3 continents, in Bolivia, Romania, and India. We are as lucky to have him on board as a leprechaun is to find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. 🍀
1. How does culture influence your role in managing teams from different countries?
The Customer Support Team is the most diverse group in the company. Not only do we have people working from 3 (and sometimes 4) different countries, we also have various countries & backrounds represented within those locations themselves.
I see this as a very positive thing because it sparks creativity and curiosity – 2 qualities I value highly.
My role within this is to be open and accommodating while also setting standards and procedures that everyone can follow comfortably.
Avoiding stereotypes and addressing potential conflicts early on are also important.
2. You’ve been with KC for over 13 years (since April 2009), how do you see the evolution of the team you manage?
Here is a fun fact: Did you know that in 2009 we did not even have a Customer Support team? It was called the Public Relations team and we had just 8 agents – 5 in Bolivia and 3 in Sibiu.
It was perfectly normal to come in to work and see 400 pending orders on one’s screen (as opposed to 40 now).
I still have the schedules from 2009 and they are so small and neat!
We used to have a max of 5 agents working per day, now it’s 40.
But the evolution itself has been in the type of people we hire and the type of work we do.
We learned through experience to be stricter in our recruitment process. Yes English is important but good people with a good attitude are just as important and our current CS team is the best we have ever had.
I also believe that over the last decade our CS team has become dual-advocates. We don’t just represent the company out to customers.
Just as importantly, we advocate on behalf of the customer within the company by looking for better user experiences and self-service options.
3. What’s the prediction regarding the CS role and tasks over the next few years?
Successfully scaling Customer Support is the big challenge that faces us. Self-service needs to increase significantly and that will involve the integration of AI, new channels and better websites.
We need to transition to where our agents are asked to solve fewer problems but the ones they do attend are bigger and more important and ones that can be attended more thoroughly.
4. Name one thing you’re proud of.
The Customer Support team.
5. Name the 1st thing you’d change about your job… but haven’t managed to yet.
Reducing the administrative and bureaucratic workload of managing a large team.
6. When did you feel Bolivia became your home?
When I started asking the fruit sellers in the cancha to “Yapame pueeeuuusss!!”. (My cochala homies will understand.)
7. What’s the biggest satisfaction you have about your job?
Seeing my team members come up with smart solutions.
8. What famous person would you have dinner with and why?
Billy Connolly. I like to listen to people who have lived interesting lives.
9. Bolivia vs. Ireland. 3 things they have in common and 3 things that set them apart.
Common: Superstitions, potatoes and speaking a colonial language in their own distinctive way.
Apart:Food, Music & the definition of what “cold” is (hint: 15 degrees celsius is not cold!).
10. A quote that always inspires you is…
The best things in life aren’t things.