It turns out you can fall in love with telecoms – even in South Africa

Guillaume de Villiers
on 5 April 2018

Starting a new job can be exhilarating, but also taxing – if you’ll excuse the pun. As with finding a date on Tinder, you are initially enticed by those perfectly-engineered pouting-selfies on the prospect’s public profile, leading you to swipe right with impulsive vigour. Astonished by the fortune of an instant match, you immediately feel compelled to shop for wedding dresses. But how much do you truly know about your newfound occupation, besides the public profile that has been engineered to bedazzle you?

My first couple of weeks working at Voys have been an intriguing experience of discovery. Like most South Africans, I have become accustomed to an abusive relationship with the workplace, accepting hierarchical and bureaucratic company structures as the norm. I am therefore sceptical of any prospects who promise to be a knight in shining armour, especially when they conduct business in the telecoms industry. An industry we South Africans have come to loathe due to years of abuse from monopolistic “service” providers – need I mention names?

An industry we South Africans have come to loathe due to years of abuse from monopolistic “service” providers – need I mention names?

So, what makes Voys so refreshingly different, besides it being a human-centric telecoms provider from the Netherlands?

One word summarises it for me: accountability. Sure, it may be a cringe-worthy buzz word collecting dust in the offices of too many South African CEO’s – but its meaning is rarely grasped.

Voys has no rigorously hierarchical company structure with bosses breathing down your neck, but rather every colleague is trusted to take accountability for their own role and tasks. For me, being granted the freedom to self-manage has translated into taking ownership of the work I produce and the brand I uphold. I feel like I have become a part of Voys; not just employed as one of its minions.

At Voys, one is not scolded like a naughty schoolboy for making a mistake, but rather encouraged to own up, learn and share the experience. Where humans are involved, error is inevitable, but what becomes memorable is how we take ownership of our flaws and how we remedy them. Voys views a mistake as a golden opportunity to prove your integral worth and thereby build long-lasting relationships with colleagues and clients alike. This became evident to me during my first week at Voys.

On Fridays, we are treated to a ‘Dutch lunch’, where every colleague is encouraged to share their weeks’ experiences – whether good, bad, personal or work-related. During my first ‘Dutch lunch’, an error that occurred earlier in the week, relating to client-debit-orders, was shared with the team.

A few things about this ‘airing of laundry’ struck me as delightfully refreshing. Even though the error occurred due to an administrative blunder by a third party financial services provider, our accounts department took full responsibility for the inconvenience our clients experienced. As such, clients were immediately notified of the error and informed about the steps we were taking to rectify it. The message being: it’s our mess, we are fixing it.

The message being: it’s our mess, we are fixing it.

Emails that were sent out to clients and their relevant responses were openly shared among the team for discussion. In reading some client-responses, it became clear that by far the larger majority of clients seemed entirely undeterred by the incident and placed their full trust in Voys to remedy the issue. Previously being sceptical of Voys’ so-called “97% client satisfactory rating”, this struck me as testament to the company’s impeccable customer relations. Undoubtedly, this kind of trust can only be earned through first-hand experience of a brands’ consistency in delivering great service, not smoke screened by alluring advertising messages designed to sugar-coat a grapefruit. This level of accountability is what so many South African brands lack and what so many South African consumers yearn for.

So, as far as my newfound romance goes, who claimed chivalry is dead? It might be my early days at Voys, but the honeymoon sure is sweet. Voys is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise pungent and stagnating telecoms industry. An industry which, at the best of times, has been a catalyst to some more-than-colourful language use for most South Africans.

The best part – Voys is constantly recruiting more sales staff to keep up with a growing demand. So, if you think you have what it takes to enchant this strapping young knight in shining armour, don’t hesitate to contact our cupid of recruitment affairs – Jonathan: jonathan@voys.co.za.

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