On Call with Bianca and Catalin
Working with people every day may seem overwhelming at times, but not for Bianca Dumitru and Catalin Verde. If you ask them, they would say they are working for people. Both are responsible for training new Yardi Call Center staff and admit that seeing new employees succeed is their biggest satisfaction. Read on to see how a typical day at the office looks like for Bianca and Catalin, and discover the connection between the entertainment industry and real estate.
When and how did you start working at Yardi?
Bianca: Long story short, almost four years ago I was looking to relocate somewhere as far away from Bucharest as possible. One of my dear friends from Cluj recommended Yardi. It started out as a “maybe I will apply” and turned into “I need to find a room for rent in Cluj” in just one week.
Catalin: A bit over six years ago I applied for the customer service analyst position. That’s right, I’m one of the elders here, a happy-go-lucky dinosaur that’s been with Yardi through thick and thin for most of my “adult” life (plays Starship – We Built This City in the background). I wanted to improve my language skills and wanted a grown-up job, an anchor to keep me grounded and counteract the hectic schedule and demands of my full-time profession, which was working as an entertainer/improv actor, back in the day.
Was this job as you expected it to be? Was there something that surprised you?
Bianca: I knew nothing about the job requirements when I signed up, but I am constantly looking for a challenge, so I dived right in. Best career decision of my life, I might add. The new hires I meet and interact with, in their first three months here, manage to surprise me every day. There is so much positivity and excitement around me, that I rarely feel tired after I finish my schedule.
Catalin: Due to personal reasons, I had to part with my previous job as an entertainer and body painter and I feared that I’d have to settle for a dreary and dull existence, wasting away in a grey, soulless corporate word (that’s the cliché, isn’t it?). What I got instead is clean, healthy and addictive, mind you, satisfaction of achieving something above your personal ambitions and wants.
What are your day-to-day tasks?
Bianca: Oh, that’s a hard question! Where should I begin?
• Call and test applicants • Participate in face-to-face interviews • Train new hires on soft skills • Coach older agents on new skills • Shadow new hires on calls • Evaluate and offer feedback on performance • Research and develop new training material and tools •
All of this and much more with a sprinkle of foldering, tons of emailing and hours of listening to our agents’ interactions.
Catalin: Live training sessions with an average of nine new faces every other week, looking at you with a mix of anticipation and suspicion. For two weeks straight, eight hours a day, you’re the main contact, the face of the company and you need to teach, develop soft skills in a short period of time and deliver an engaging experience. No pressure there, right? It’s really not that different from playing on stage, in front of an audience that expects an interesting/riveting performance. Customer service is about providing excellent service with a high degree of proficiency, all the while creating a memorable, deeply personal experience for the client.
Could you tell us a few challenges that you came across while working here and how did you manage those situations?
Bianca: Sometimes, offering constructive feedback might impose a challenge, as people might get defensive and perceive it as critique. I had my fair share of backfiring in different ways, but I ask for help when needed. If that’s the case, it’s best to get a second opinion, try to rephrase, give examples and share personal experiences on the matter. This always helps. On the other hand, consulting with upper-level management and fellow trainers is a must. After all, we are a big team and the idea is to get better at our job.
Catalin: Training is the art of prioritizing top priority projects and there’s never a shortage of pending, urgent projects. Multiply that by 13 skills that we offer in the call centre and you get the picture. At times, it feels like there’s more work than time and sometimes back to back training can wear down the best of us. Communication with management is key and we provide constant feedback and thankfully receive support and understanding. Training is no picnic and you need a lot of energy at a purely physical level.
What does a normal work day schedule look like for you?
Bianca: Well, if it’s something I can’t attach to my work schedule, that’s the word “normal”. Because I must sometimes teach in the morning and also meet-up with the agents that are already taking calls in the late afternoon, my schedule is fluctuating on a daily basis. I might get a sip of coffee or green tea in-between reading my emails, preparing for a meeting and chatting with my colleagues, but no day resembles the other. Actually, my timetable is dictated by the new agents’ (up to three months within Rent Café Connect) working days and hours, upcoming meetings or training coverage.
Catalin: There’s no typical day, as change is the only constant. Never a dull moment as you have little downtime. You’re always learning something new, focusing on research and trying to come up with better, more effective techniques of sharing and learning information. New interactive games, handouts, videos, role-playing activities, (interactive) quizzes, new software (video/audio/pic editing software). When I’m not in training, I create video tutorials to facilitate refreshers and future training and do a lot of research and create new content in our online training platform that we share will all associates from Cluj, Dallas and Colorado.
What brings you satisfaction when it comes to your work?
Bianca: The people. It’s always them, throughout their progress or feedback.
Catalin: Building someone else up and watching them grow and become self-reliant. It’s profoundly humane and gratifying.
Inspired to find your passion at Yardi Romania? Check out our current opportunities.