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As part of the project Maxnet in Faces, we continue to introduce readers of our blog to the company's employees. Today we will talk to a man for whom working at Maxnet has become part of his new life. He managed not only to master a new profession, but for three years to rise up the career ladder from an operator of a service-information center to the head of one of the company’s departments.
How Maxnet helped to build a career, find yourself and get confidence in the future — read in the interview with the head of the department on work with corporate clients Dmytrо Bilokon.
— You have been working at Maxnet for more than four years. Tell us about the beginning of your career at this company.
— In 2015, I came to Maxnet, as they say, «from the street, from an ad». At that time I had just moved to Kharkiv and was starting life from scratch. I wanted to try myself in a different sphere, and telecommunications seemed to me a rather interesting direction.
My first position at Maxnet was as an operator in the Service and Information Center (SIC). But to be honest, I didn’t expect to work long in this company, because at that time I considered the work more as a «staging post».
— What did you do at your previous job?
— Before Maxnet I worked in a completely different sphere. In Kharkiv I couldn’t find a job in my field, because I didn’t have enough experience. After moving I had neither acquaintances, nor connections. Starting to work at Maxnet was my attempt to find myself and turned my life upside down, in a good way (smiles).
— So why did you choose Maxnet?
— I wanted to try my hand at telecommunications. Before coming to work at Maxnet, I had been using this company's services for half a year already. I liked everything, especially I liked the approach to the subscriber. I was offered a special offer when I was connected which was very convenient as I was having financial difficulties at the time. I also liked the work of the installer who was doing the connection. After talking to him I had a very positive impression of the company.
I considered other companies for jobs, but I liked this one the best, because I was happy with the quality of service and I knew that it was a reliable organization that I could trust.
— Now you are the head of the corporate client department (B2B). Tell us how you managed to climb the career ladder so quickly.
— I didn't become a manager right away. I worked in the SIC for about 2 months, and then I was offered the position of administrator in the Customer Service Center (CSC). I worked as a CSC administrator for about a year, during that time I gained a lot of useful skills and knowledge. I liked this work, but at some point I realized that it was brought to automaticity and it was no longer interesting to me.
At that time a post of «Subscriber Service Specialist» was vacant in the B2B department. I was offered to move to this department, and I gladly accepted. It was an opportunity to open up a new horizon for myself.
Business subscribers are always interesting and non-standard situations. Every day I learned something new and interacted with interesting people who had their own business. As a matter of fact, this is still the case today.
A year ago we had a department reorganization, it lasted about six months, and during that time there were staffing changes. Previously, sales was handled by one department, service was handled by another, and connection was handled by a third. A year ago, one department began to handle all of these B2B subscriber functions. At first we merged with sales, at that time I dealt with service independently. Later I got a colleague, and I began to supervise sales and service. After some time another upgrade took place — the department was added a connection function. This is what we do today — a full cycle of service provision: we engage subscribers, accept applications, perform connections and provide further support.
— What do you think contributed to your career growth?
— I think the communication skills I had when I started working here. Communicating with people was easy for me. And in CSC it was one specifics of communication, more private, but in B2B it was completely different. The criteria of working with business-subscribers turned out to be closer to me.
— Do you remember what the company was like when you first started? What has changed since then?
— The company size. I have witnessed the growth and development: new departments and employees came in. A year ago we finally got together in one big office, it became easier to interact, to solve problems.
What hasn’t changed here is the responsiveness and sociability of the staff, which I noticed from day one. They never leave a colleague in need, they always help and advise in a difficult situation. It doesn’t depend on the status and position of the employee. Maxnet also has a supportive environment to develop you as a person, also there is help to discover and realize all your capabilities.
— Has your life changed after coming to Maxnet?
— Yes, since I started working here I have had a son (smiles, pause). Having a stable job I got confidence in the future. I also got a financial opportunity to please my loved ones.
— What motivates you to work the most?
— First of all, it's the environment. We have people working for us who are always supportive and helpful. It is also motivated by successfully completed complex projects, especially if they are non-standard. The strongest motivation is when we get positive feedback and a new subscriber says: «I like everything, I am satisfied with your work».
— What kind of positive feedback do you get most often?
— I often hear that we provide better services than our competitors. The price-quality ratio is the most important criterion by which we are chosen. When I hear such words, I am even more proud to work for this company, because we are really cool (smiles).
— When you were servicing subscribers, how many calls per day did you have to handle?
— Now the workload is redistributed. I used to take 20-30 calls a day when it was quiet. When we did some work — about 100 a day. Sometimes I had to replace other employees, my record was when I had three phones and a cell phone on the table (smiling).
— How to keep internal balance, if attacked from all sides?
— I am a calm person by nature. If the caller calls in order to talk — I give the opportunity. Then I use my negotiation skills and my knowledge to answer the caller as comprehensively as possible and help him solve his problem.
— At the moment, what do you consider to be the company’s greatest strength?
— It's definitely our own network, which is not outsourced, but is maintained by our staff. Its technical characteristics allow us to give direct high-speed channels to any subscriber in Kharkiv. We can be proud of that — almost no one else in Kharkiv. In other words we can provide a better service at lower cost to the subscriber.
— How can you describe the company’s staff?
— They are honest people who take a responsible approach to their tasks. Everyone has his own values, everyone is individual but we are united by the common goal and mission of the company.
— What can you consider your main professional achievement for the time of work in Maxnet?
— I think it's building the B2B department as it is now, as well as developing this area.
— Tell me more about your department? How difficult is it to manage it?
— Due to the nature of my work, I have to communicate both with managers who deal with sales and service, and with installers who carry out applications. Such multidirectional communication is not easy on the one hand but on the other hand it is not very difficult. We assembled a team in which everyone knows what he does, but can back up the other.
For me personally the difficulty is that I am a humanitarian by temperament. Therefore it is sometimes difficult to penetrate deeply into the technical aspects. I got a basic understanding of the mechanics of the network in the framework of training at the Corporate University Maxnet. A year ago, when the installers joined our department, I needed to expand my knowledge. It is very important for me to be technically savvy, as sometimes I need to help with advice or make some decisions. I'm not a «technician», so understanding some things is sometimes difficult for me, but we always have someone to consult with about things.
— What new skills have you gained during your time in Maxnet?
— First of all, organizational and management skills. Now I understand how to unite people around a common goal and task. Sometimes it is not easy, not always everything runs smoothly, opinions may differ, someone may not support this or that proposal... But I manage to find solutions for such situations. And it is the skills of effective communication, which I try to develop constantly, that help me in this.
Also at Maxnet I have improved my business negotiation skills, particularly in cases of difficult and conflicting situations.
— Share your professional plans.
— First of all we want to automate the work of our department, we want to get away from paper and routine work. We would like to spend minimum time on reports and maximum time on activities. I plan to build all the processes in the department so that it works as a single mechanism without failures. Ways to achieve this goal — training for staff and expanding the staff. We will pump up efficiency and rebuild logistics.
— Is there anything you’ve taught your colleagues during your time at Maxnet?
— Once there was a situation where the director taught me how to use SMARTER criteria. I, in turn, passed that knowledge on to my employees. It helped a lot in different situations. I am involved in training each of our service and sales people and helping them adapt to the company.
New directions of the company's development require knowledge and skills from employees. That is why we are constantly learning something new, and our work doesn’t go without participation in conferences, trainings and interesting meetings. Such events are regularly held by both external specialists and company employees. We also have corporate English courses; for example, they helped me reach a level that I can now use to communicate.
— Would you recommend this company to your friends?
— Definitely yes. As an example, my wife also works at Maxnet (smiles).
— What advice would you give to people who plan to work at Maxnet?
— First, don't be afraid to ask questions and learn something new. It is necessary to take the initiative, without it career growth is impossible. It is very important to set a goal and go to it by any available means. The main thing is that these goals mustn’t be detrimental to other employees and the company as a whole.
— What do you like to do in your spare time?
— I spend most of it on raising my son, going for walks, and we often go to interesting places. I try to teach my son something new and to bring him up as a Person. If I have free time after that, I like fishing. Sometimes I want to be an introvert, so I like fishing somewhere in the middle of nowhere, where there is no phone signal, where I can admire nature, enjoy silence and fresh air.