Rob, Vicki & Anna’s intro into Telecoms

9.06.2021

We spoke to some long-standing members of our team to see how they entered into their telecoms career!

Rob Downes, Head of Partner Solutions

How did you start your career in telecoms?
I was contacted by a graduate recruitment agency who were recruiting for sales jobs and offered me one!

What was your first role?
Account Development Manager. My main duties were traditional sales practices such as out on the road cold calling, and definitely no working from home. I was given a Blackberry about a year later, so that I could do my emails on the go too. At that time I was doing around 35K miles a year!

In your early days, what product or service was your main focus?
WLR and CPS. I joined just after Ofcom ruled that BT could no longer be the only provider of telephone lines. The market was now open for competition. Within a year broadband was starting to become part of the portfolio, alongside mobile.

What was your abiding memory of that time?
The market was transactional and price orientated rather than solution led, as we are now.

What ICT technology do you think resellers will be selling in 25 years’ time?
To be honest, I’ll be more worried about hip replacement technology in 25 years’ time. In the last 15 years technology has developed so rapidly – is it possible for that to continue? Who knows. We could have chips in our heads, with Skynet taking over.

 

Vicki Cowperthwaite, Head of Partner Operations

How did you start your career in telecoms?
I joined 9 Group in late 2011 as a Customer Service Advisor and have since then experienced many roles within the business, from both Retail and Partner channel, progressing to my current position as Head of Partner Operations. This experience has given me a great foundation and understanding of the intricacies of Telecoms.

I applied for a role at 9 Group and attended a group interview – the role at 9 was highly prized and the competition was fierce. Having come straight from college, I hadn’t had the benefit of experience of taking part in many interviews and the other candidates for the role were impressive.

Following advice from my Dad, at the end of the interview I shook hands with all of the interviewers and said thank you for the opportunity. I took away that as well as having the ability and knowledge to perform the role, having a professional and courteous approach plays a huge part in making a lasting impression, and this is something I’ve carried with me throughout my career.

What was your first role?
A Customer Service Adviser for our Retail division. This position encompassed customer queries, support, order placement and billing – it was broad role that involved all products and all elements of customer service, including managing difficult customers and the coordination of internal conversations and actions in order to help resolve technical issues. This customer service grounding is something I value and I draw upon this experience to this day. Understanding the customer experience allows me to be sympathetic to their circumstances, and enables me to ask the right questions when working alongside our Partners, to ensure that every stakeholder is satisfied. Simple things such as excellent communication, managing expectations and setting out next steps are key.

In your early days, what product or service was your main focus?
The entire telecom product portfolio was relevant at that time, but the main focus was certainly around WLR. There definitely wasn’t as much focus on IP, we had it in the portfolio, but not many customers had awareness and the demand was minimal, which is completely different to where we are now. Observing the shift to IP over the past five years has been fascinating – as well as being able to deliver and support customer with IP solutions, we need to support our Partners to have informative conversations with their customers about hosted telephony. This filters right down to how we train our teams and the type of support staff we choose to recruit. The journey to IP is ongoing and the connectivity solutions are evolving to support this journey – it’s an interesting time for everyone.

What is your abiding memory of that time?
It was a much smaller team at the time, although I joined the team at an exciting time when the retail business first located to our headquarters in Gloucestershire. From day one, there’s always been a real sense of energy and fun around our customer service teams, where everyone is working together to serve customers. Starting out in Telecoms there was a huge amount of jargon to understand and translate for the communication with our customers – if only Google did Telecoms translation!

What ICT technology do you think resellers will be selling in 25 years’ time?
With how rapidly the industry is changing and the digital transformation, it’s likely that it will be something that we haven’t even yet heard of. One of the only constants is change in this industry – it definitely keeps you on your toes!


Anna Roper, Sales Director

How did you start your career in telecoms?
I found my way into telecoms as a receptionist for Swedish telco Telia AB in London after I moved from Wales in 1998. I went on to hold customer facing roles with Worldcom, Cable & Wireless and Gamma before joining 9 Group in 2007.

If you have new starters in your business which are new to the industry in your business, why not sign them up to our Introduction to Telecoms webinars.

What was your first role?
My early days were spent in front line operations at Telia. This experience was pivotal in enabling me to make a successful transition to sales, and ultimately achieve my ambition of becoming a Sales Director.

In your early days, what product or service was your main focus?
Call traffic termination was our main source of revenue, there was no CPS or line rental back in those days, never mind ICT solutions.

What was your abiding memory of that time?
I recall attending my very first telecoms training session, which has resulted in a long career in the channel. The trainer was encouraging us to be open minded and to think about conceptual technology. He gave a wild example of how in the future, we might be able to order our shopping online. What’s now normal, once felt so impossible and out of reach.

What ICT technology do you think resellers will be selling in 25 years’ time?
The advancement of communication in artificial intelligence in recent years has been incredible to observe. Smart technologies can now stimulate interaction with humans and have the potential to learn. This type of technology could be used in the workplace; by using analytics, smart communication tools could eventually help to make life easier by anticipating user requirements. A long way from call traffic termination.

We’d love to hear your predictions for what resellers will be selling in 25 years’ time.

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