My Pivot Journal is a Ventures Africa weekly series documenting people’s career transitions from one industry to another, especially to tech. 

When 9-year-old Opuere Kelly was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would always say “an accountant.” She loved numbers and order, and she thought being an accountant would be a perfect fit for her. However, after a last-minute change and settling for an available means to an end, she discovered her passion for helping customers. And she’s never looked back. Here is Opuere Kelly’s pivot journal.

How it started

I always thought I would be an accountant because of my love for mathematics. But when it was time to apply to the university, I somehow picked computer science. It was a last-minute decision but I have no regrets, studying computer science because I was good at it. After graduation, I got my first job as an administrative officer. It was sort of a means to an end. I needed a job and the one I could get was in an administrative role in a small company.  

Epiphany

During my role as an administrative officer, I got to relate with customers. And I found it interesting. I realized I loved interacting with people and giving them solutions. It came easy for me. And so I decided I was going to build on that strength. 

Miebi Kelly

Transition

When I decided to pivot to a career in customer service, I knew I needed to do my research to fully understand what I was getting into. I started by reading online articles and blogs about customer service. I also watched a few YouTube videos that gave me an overview of the different types of customer service roles and the day-to-day responsibilities of each. then I had left my job as an administrative officer, so I had some time on my hands. I started volunteering at some NGOs to function in the customer service capacity. During that time, my interest grew. It was satisfying helping people navigate a product or service. I applied for several positions and eventually landed a job as a customer service representative. I remember watching a couple of YouTube videos on how to nail your first job in customer service. After a few applications, I got a job as a customer service representative for a small startup. It was at this job I really delved deep into customer relations service. I took a customer relationship management course on Alison. The company I worked for was also helpful. They trained me in some leadership courses. 

How it’s going

I currently work in a full-time role as a customer relationship officer for an airline company. My job involves assisting customers to have a seamless experience while using our service. A typical workday involves interactions with customers, addressing inquiries, resolving issues, and ensuring customers satisfaction. This could be through emails, calls, or even physical interactions. I used to prefer physical interactions because you get to rapport with the customer. But it can be challenging too. You get to deal with a lot of angry customers all the while remaining patient, empathetic, and maintaining a positive attitude. Even times when the customer is proving difficult, you have to maintain a positive attitude. As a customer relationship officer, you are constantly on your toes finding quick fixes, effective solutions and managing a high volume of inquiries and adapting to different communication channels. You do not just receive complaints and proffer solutions, you have to analyze customer feedback to identify trends and suggest improvements to the company’s service. It also took me a while to adjust to working on shifts, especially, when I am on the night shift. However, it gives me the utmost pleasure to see customers satisfied and returning back. I like to think building a path in customer relations was divine. 

Career hack

Every customer is unique. 

The same pattern won’t work for everyone. You have to learn to be assertive, dynamic, and quick on your feet as a customer service personnel.

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