From full-time mum to full-time team leader
Birgitte Simons has been working for Arvato Benelux BV for two years. She started out as a customer service agent and advanced rapidly to the position of team leader. She joined Arvato in 2014 without any expectations, having been a full-time mother for the previous five years. ‘I was ready for a job and wanted to start working. However, it’s not easy when you don’t have any qualifications. Here I was given the chance to show what I can do. When I started out I thought I would then look further from here, but once I started working at Arvato, I immediately felt right at home. I was good at dealing with customers and it’s an enjoyable and challenging job.’
Through the Customer Service Valley collaboration, Birgitte was given the opportunity to study for an MBO level 3 certificate (senior secondary vocational education) in ‘Customer Service’ alongside her job. She seized this opportunity with both hands. ‘I’ve never had a qualification and am extremely happy to be able to follow this adult education course and gain a fully recognized MBO certificate. It is quite demanding however. I work full-time between 32 and 40 hours a week and the course takes 18 months, with half a day some weeks and an entire day in others.’
Becoming a team leader and studying for an MBO certificate was not something that Birgitte could foresee when starting this job. However, she has taken to both her occupation and her job at Arvato like a duck to water. ‘It’s not only the job that I enjoy but also the atmosphere. Everyone gets on really well with one another and this is partly due to the pleasant and informal company culture we have. If you are ambitious and do your job well, there are plenty of opportunities for advancement. On the other hand, a lot is expected of you. When you work in a customer contact centre you need to be flexible, think along with the customers and make sure they are satisfied, whilst also serving the best interests of the client. You have to be able to handle the fact that customers sometimes become annoyed and unreasonable. The aim in the end is to get them to look back on the conversation with a positive feeling. This gives me great satisfaction. My experience as a customer service agent is something I want to pass on to my team. As team leader, the basic principle I adhere to is to give the agents the same type of guidance that I received.’
From full-time mum to full-time team leader. Birgitte’s sons are now three and six years old. Her boyfriend is at home to look after the children, but when Birgitte is at home, she spends as much time with them as possible. As she lives a mere ten-minute bike ride from her work, she appears to have a good work-life balance. ‘I’d like to give Customer Service Valley a huge compliment for this. I’ll be gaining a qualification that I never thought I’d achieve. The course contributes to my development, gives me self-confidence, and allows me to grow in my job. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity Does Birgitee's story appeal to you?